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A lengthy engagement
June 28, 2010 12:56 PM   Subscribe

"Wow, what a long engagement that was!" During a chance second encounter in Baltimore in 1945, Henry Schalizki, now 88, and Bob Davis, now 89, met and fell in love. More than six decades later, the couple finally legalized their union.
posted by a.steele (60 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, I see. That's their present ages.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


Mazel tov!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:02 PM on June 28, 2010


That's some bad editing.
posted by mrnutty at 1:04 PM on June 28, 2010


You'd pretty much need a heart of stone not to be moved by that article. Good on them.
posted by ob at 1:05 PM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Good for them!
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:05 PM on June 28, 2010


Suddenly I have realized I'm not wearing waterproof mascara today.
posted by pointystick at 1:05 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gosh, my allergies seem to be acting up and my eyes are all watery. Bless them.
posted by jokeefe at 1:08 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice! I'm impressed by their perseverance and defiance, but also by the fact that one of them worked for B&O Railroad! That brought in a lot of money for me, back in the day.
posted by ignignokt at 1:10 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think I have something in my eye. Or allergies. *sniff*
posted by mrbill at 1:10 PM on June 28, 2010


Sorry for the confusion. The quote was the caption for one of the photos, where it makes slightly more sense to list their present ages. Still pretty funny, though. And don't miss the photo gallery! That was my favorite part.
posted by a.steele at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2010


I like how the article mentions that the adoption was nullified before the marriage took place.
"We're not only friends, we're lovers, we're brothers and, incidentally, along the way, in 1990, I legally adopted Bob."

True story. When Henry was 69, he legally adopted Bob, who was 70. It gave them legal protections, offered an advantageous inheritance tax rate and made the pair into a family.
posted by jessamyn at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


That's beautiful, a triumph for love. But the pull quote makes it sound like two 150 year old men are getting hitched, which was way way way more impressive.
posted by mikoroshi at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


*sniff*

ditto
posted by kittyprecious at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2010


I'm a pretty cynical faggot but that's one really moving story. So happy for them, to have such rich lives together and to finally win formal legal recognition. Also I love the wedding outfits, very handsome!
posted by Nelson at 1:13 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


[fixed the age/date discrepancy, carry on]
posted by jessamyn at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2010


"We're not only friends, we're lovers, we're brothers and, incidentally, along the way, in 1990, I legally adopted Bob."

He is his brother's keeper.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2010


Wow. Love that salmon suit. Amazing.

Love is nice!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:16 PM on June 28, 2010


You know, I get kudos for my work, but, really, the very best part of it is being a part of stories like this. I haven't seen a 60-year engagement, but I have wed a couple who've been together for 28. I haven't been any sort of tireless crusader, I haven't lost friends and jobs and family members because of who I am, I haven't had to fight for my basic human rights, but I do get to be there when years of struggle pay off, and it's amazing--talk about a big return on my investment. Congratulations, Henry and Bob.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:17 PM on June 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


"We're accepted as two human beings, always as a couple. I said, 'I don't see any reason for it,' " he recalls. "Besides that, Vera Wang will never make a gown for me to wear."

I agree with Margaret Cho that any nation that would deny gay men the right to bridal registry is a fascist regime.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:20 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Consider my heart warmed. So very happy for them.
posted by arcticseal at 1:21 PM on June 28, 2010


ooh, and nelson - check it out - the wedding cake figurines have outfits to match!
posted by lapolla at 1:21 PM on June 28, 2010


I remember reading in law school about adult adoption as a means for achieving some of the ends laws against gay marriage denied people.

Also, this quote: Just this month, Henry was in the hot seat for wearing white socks to a formal dinner party. "He said, 'Well, Van Johnson wore red socks,' " Bob recalls. "And I said, 'Well, you're no Van Johnson.'" has convinced me I need more octogenarian gays in my life like stat.
posted by ND¢ at 1:23 PM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Awww, this makes my heart happy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:23 PM on June 28, 2010


That's a great story. Also, I would totally expect my wife to be pissed if I wore white socks to a formal affair.
posted by oddman at 1:27 PM on June 28, 2010


sniff.
posted by shmegegge at 1:29 PM on June 28, 2010


Wow. Long-term spouses really do start to look like each other.
posted by JoanArkham at 1:30 PM on June 28, 2010


Sometimes I wonder if people are against gay marriage out of a fear that gays might be better at it than straight people, which would be totally embarassing. How wonderful that these two men found each other when they did and stuck with each other for so long.

(I'm still not sure about Bob Davis' salmon colored tux I don't think it's a good look. One might argue that a 90 year old man has earned the right to wear what he wants, but let's keep it classy, okay guys?)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:31 PM on June 28, 2010



Hadn't paid attention to the gender of the names before clicking the link, so I only mildly thought it might move me. Honestly, if I'd paid more attention, I'd know not to read this at work.

I keep cutting and pasting quotes to show the

a) parts where I realize they are totally awesome
b) parts that made me a little teary-eyed
c) both

And I've ended up just about highlighting the whole bit.

But the bit about their parents and the parts where they snap at each other like the proverbial old married couple just makes me want to burst.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:31 PM on June 28, 2010


Hooray!
posted by redbeard at 1:34 PM on June 28, 2010


This is really wonderful!
posted by sleepinglion at 1:35 PM on June 28, 2010


Nagging on sock choice is a fine metric for determining whether two people are actually married.
posted by benzenedream at 1:35 PM on June 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Gay senior citizens are about some of the bravest, toughest, most impressive people on earth. What a time they lived through.
posted by oneironaut at 1:37 PM on June 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anyone know if they're registered anywhere? We should totally send them something. Really amazing story.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:42 PM on June 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


"I was starring in a play -- not entertaining the troops!"

Certifiably fabulous, that. If only we could hear the intonation...
posted by heyho at 1:43 PM on June 28, 2010


What a wonderful story. Thank you Henry and Bob for being part of the generation that paved the way for so many folks growing up behind you.

We must also thank others like Storme DeLarverie: A Stonewall Veteran, 89, Misses the Parade.
posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on June 28, 2010


"True story. When Henry was 69, he legally adopted Bob, who was 70. It gave them legal protections, offered an advantageous inheritance tax rate and made the pair into a family."

Gay Couples Pay More for Less.
posted by ericb at 1:48 PM on June 28, 2010


Oh. Oh, I think I'm in love. And trying not to cry right before bed.

"Everything in this apartment has a story," Henry says. "And if you have about 50 years, we'll tell you all of them."

Dear Henry,

I'm 28. CALL ME.
posted by kalimac at 1:51 PM on June 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


he owes him one helluva ring.
posted by stormpooper at 1:51 PM on June 28, 2010


an interview and portions of the ceremony on YOUTUBE

don't watch if you always cry at weddings
posted by Hammond Rye at 1:55 PM on June 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


heyho: "I was starring in a play -- not entertaining the troops!"

Certifiably fabulous, that. If only we could hear the intonation...


Anybody's who has ever had a bitchy gay love can totally hear the intonation.

(says someone who has had/has been a bitchy gay love)

Though this does make my cynical heart swell two sizes too big, even as someone who, like them, isn't sure I'd get married even if I could, the more I think about it, the more my cynic's anger starts to take control. I want to show this story to all of those who allegedly support gay equality but say "the time is not right...just wait."

The problem is that not everybody who wants those rights will still be alive and kicking when the alleged right time finally comes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:56 PM on June 28, 2010


"Well, in Whoville they say that the shmegegge's small heart grew three sizes that day"
posted by shmegegge at 2:04 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Daaaw! Too sweet.
posted by pyrex at 2:04 PM on June 28, 2010


an interview and portions of the ceremony on YOUTUBE

Okay. That made me cry!
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on June 28, 2010


(I'm still not sure about Bob Davis' salmon colored tux I don't think it's a good look. One might argue that a 90 year old man has earned the right to wear what he wants, but let's keep it classy, okay guys?)

Pink is my favorite color on a man. One has to have impeccable style to wear pink well--which Bob certainly does!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:08 PM on June 28, 2010


This is just the most wonderful story!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 2:11 PM on June 28, 2010


Acting as bookends to memoirs of Tony Bennett and Lucille Ball and a dozen other volumes are two urns engraved with Bob and Henry's names. They're made from the same slate as Jackie Kennedy's gravestone, Henry explains. And until they're placed side by side at Arlington National Cemetery, Bob adds, "they're good for holding M&Ms."

Ha! I love that!
posted by lysdexic at 2:13 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been trying to convince my mom and her partner to get hitched in DC and move near me somewhere in Maryland, but they like Florida too much :(

What a great story, though! My face hurts from smiling while reading.
posted by SixteenTons at 2:19 PM on June 28, 2010


If you need further proof that twenty years from now we're going to look back on this period of time and DOMA and all the rest with every bit as much shame as we do the Jim Crow period... this article is it.

The best thing about it, though, is that even though it is an event only made possible by years of exclusion and homophobia the article is nothing but joyful and uplifting. I have a pretty contentious relationship with the Washington Post these days but this article was a gem in its execution. There were a lot of opportunities for it to go the other way and revel in some well-deserved bitterness but it never did.

I think that's the kind of thing that's going to hasten our inevitable victory - every time someone reads these touching stories and moves in their opinion just a little bit.
posted by phearlez at 2:24 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every year at the gay pride parade here in WeHo, there's a big bus with an open upper deck and a bunch of old people sitting there, waving to the crowd. They hold up banners like "We are you in 20 years", "You will be us soon enough", "Gray but still Gay" and so on. It just seems so powerful, because I think that these are people who have truly experienced the full force of discrimination in ways the younger generation cannot fathom, folks who were active even before Stonewall. And they prevailed, and are out, and are proud.
posted by VikingSword at 2:57 PM on June 28, 2010


Bob Davis' salmon colored tux

You mean Henry's.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:00 PM on June 28, 2010


Great story, thanks!
posted by languagehat at 3:29 PM on June 28, 2010


OK, I'm far enough removed from the romantic story that my cynical faggot side is back.

As wonderful as these men's wedding is, don't forget in the US it's still a second class marriage. They have no federal recognition, nor recognition in most other states. Indeed most states explicitly outlaw their wedding, and of course we have Clinton to thank for signing the federal law that says their marriage is not legitimate in the eyes of the US government. They won't be entitled to any spousal veteran's benefits. It's a little surprising they'll be allowed side-by-side in Arlington, I wouldn't be surprised if some mean spirited religious movement tried to strip that from them in death.

It's a terrible irony that they can be married in the nation's capital and yet not be married in the nation.
posted by Nelson at 3:29 PM on June 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow. Long-term spouses really do start to look like each other.

I think that's just old people in general.
posted by hermitosis at 3:36 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now there's a love story. Awesome!
posted by Wuggie Norple at 4:13 PM on June 28, 2010


I think that's the kind of thing that's going to hasten our inevitable victory - every time someone reads these touching stories and moves in their opinion just a little bit.

Here in CA, we'll have to overturn H8, and there was a lot of argument whether to try for this year or 2012. Much as I want this to happen ASAP, I think 2012 is the more realistic date. That gives us a good amount of time to get the campaign off the ground much earlier (one criticism of the anti-H8 forces was that they got started too late). Hopefully we've learned much, there'll be more outreach to other minority communities, and a more effective fightback against the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church and various assorted organized bigots. And much as I don't want to say it, the demographics are a part of it - the reality is that the further you go up in age, the more opposition there is to gay rights (obviously, as this FPP demonstrates there are numerous exceptions), and there will be fewer old people in 2012. Damn. I'd much rather we changed minds, than waited for people to die. It was close enough with H8, that I actually for the first time, feel optimistic about chances to overturn it in 2012.
posted by VikingSword at 4:18 PM on June 28, 2010


So damn fantastic.
posted by casarkos at 4:21 PM on June 28, 2010


I'm still not sure about Bob Davis' salmon colored tux I don't think it's a good look.

I think it may have possibly been a "statement," as men wearing pink clothing in the 40s, 50s and 60s were often immediately deemed "queer" for doing so.

Brings to mind Phineas donning a pink shirt in 'A Separate Peace.'
"Finny decides to wear a bright pink shirt as an emblem of celebration of the first allied bombing of central Europe. Gene envies him slightly for being able to get away with wearing this color (which he says makes Finny look like a 'fairy,' or homosexual); indeed, Finny seems capable of getting away with virtually anything he wants to do."*
posted by ericb at 4:57 PM on June 28, 2010


Just precious!!! Love these guys, what an example!!
posted by pearlybob at 6:55 PM on June 28, 2010


A similar eye-watering story from a couple years back. (Better pictures here.)

"On February 12, 2004, Martin and Lyon were issued a marriage license by the City and County of San Francisco.... The license, along with those of several thousand other same-sex couples were voided by the California Supreme Court on August 12 2004."

Luckily the piece of paper has no effect whatever on a loving relationship. "Love Will Keep Us Together"
posted by Twang at 9:21 PM on June 28, 2010


This reminds me of a movie I saw this fall, Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement which was on the Sundance Channel tonight. I came of age in the 90s, so it was an eye-opening set of tales of a time that was not really that long ago. Furthermore, it was the sweetest documentary I have ever seen. Man, was that theater dusty.
posted by knile at 9:51 PM on June 28, 2010


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