John and Anne met on Halloween night in 1941.
The two attended the same party in Manhattan, where Anne went with her cousins and John accompanied another woman.
“They were so arrogant,” Anne said about John. “I disliked him from the very beginning.”
Anne was not having fun and decided to leave, but as she and her cousins got up, John asked her why she was leaving and requested she stay.
She told him she was bored and left despite his protests.
Though she had little interest in him, according to John, he said he knew the first time he saw Anne she was the woman he wanted to marry.
Soon after the party, John wrote Anne a letter asking her if she would go on a date with him.
While she was still not impressed with him, Anne agreed, and after six months of dating, the two decided to get married in June of 1942.
They have been together ever since.
The Whitmans, who are celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary on June 13, have continued pursuing one another as John pursued Anne when they first met.
When they were initially getting to know one another, they spent much of their time eating and going to the theater.
“We found that we were compatible,” Anne said. “We used to go out a lot.”
Anne attributes much of the success of their relationship to having fun together. Even now, at 102 and 95 years old, the couple lovingly teases one another every chance they get.
The most memorable thing about their wedding, they said, is the fact that they were shoved to the back of their wedding reception picture.
They still laugh when they see the photo because there is only a portion of both of their heads showing behind their guests.
Nowadays, their favorite thing to do is spend time with family. The Whitmans have five children, seven grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
Originally, she is from New Jersey and he is from Pennsylvania. Life brought them to New York where they spent the first season of their marriage.
The Whitmans moved to Las Vegas because John wanted a drier climate, and when they decided to settle down to continue growing their family, they came to California.
“It’s great to have family,” Anne Whitman said. “The secret of a good life is family.”
After living Canoga Park for 15 years, the Whitman family moved to Santa Clarita in 1965, where they have been ever since.
Gerald Whitman, the oldest of John and Anne’s children, said his parents’ willingness to forgive one another easily has lent itself to the longevity of their relationship.
“They have had a really successful marriage and I attribute that to the fact that they don’t take each other really seriously,” he said. “The thing is, they never go to bed angry. They always made up and they were always happy the next day.”
Their second eldest, Christine Whitman Oliver, said her parents always provided for their family and never left them wanting for anything. She agreed with her brother that their marriage has been an example of selflessness.
“My parents gave us a good moral background and showed us that marriage is a give and take proposition,” she said. “You really need to stick with it in the hard times.”
Gerald’s son and John and Anne’s grandson Mike said he has always noticed his grandparents’ tendency to joke with each other.
He said last week when he was taking his grandma to the dentist, she told his grandpa to have dinner ready when she returned. Without skipping a beat, John asked Anne, “How do you want your toast?”
“They have a good sense of humor and I think that goes a long way,” Mike said.
Mike’s daughter Alexandra, John and Anne’s eldest great granddaughter, said she cherishes a memory from John’s 100th birthday when he said the reason he has lived so long is because he has Anne.
“They keep each other going,” she said. “That’s always been inspiring to me.”
The couple has also stayed active late in life, as John bowled until he was 98 and drove until he was 101.
For their 50th anniversary, they celebrated by line dancing in Texas.
To celebrate their 75th anniversary, the Whitmans plan to gather at Mike’s house to spend time together as a family.
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