Howard hooked Gladys by saying thank you while standing in the line she worked in student registration in 1957. “She stopped what she was doing and looked up at me with the biggest smile I’d ever seen,” says Howard Weiss of Leawood, Kan. “She told me not many people took the time to say thank you.”
That same week one of Howard’s friends told him to come to his party and bring a date. Howard’s classes, homework, and part-time job working 30 hours a week at a local gas station didn’t leave him much time to meet girls. The first person that came to mind was the girl with the smile in registration. Howard waited two hours at the student union building to ask her out. Gladys said yes.
“I liked that he was four years older than me and a Korean vet,” says Gladys.
Soon after, and even more smitten, Howard gave Gladys his fraternity pin. Upon completion of her two-year program, Howard called Gladys and told her they better get married. He explained that he had just received a stipend to go get his master’s degree and they’d be moving to Buffalo, NY.
Fifty-two years later both say they are just as in love as in the beginning; it’s just a different kind of love, according to Howard.
Howard offer several reasons for their long-term marital success. First, Gladys and he can fight fiercely, but the next day all is forgotten. Second, after seeing the horrors of the world while on tour in North Africa and Europe, he believes you should appreciate your middle class American life and not have greedy expectations of life.
“My advice is to put more into your marriage than you anticipate getting out,” says Howard. “Then you can’t lose because your spouse is happy and so are you.”
The hardest part of marriage for Howard was the financial pressure of being a good husband, provider, and father. “We were dirt poor when we started out. We really had no one to fall back on, but ourselves. So being a good provider was a huge responsibility for a 26-year-old kid.”
The hardest part for Gladys was juggling raising two daughters, while working as a dental hygienist, and finding day care in an era when there was no day care. “I had to go pick up help and bring them to my house to watch the kids,” says Gladys. “It was hard.”
But the past 40 years of the 52-year marriage have been relatively easy. Gladys is extremely communicative and forgiving. Howard makes dinner and is a giver. Howard still says thank you and Gladys still smiles big. Though there is no such thing, I award them the purple heart being veterans of marriage.