Kathleen Pennington was only 15 when she met her future husband, Ray, at a dance in Central Park.
“I wasn’t really interested at first,” she said of her 17-year-old suitor.
But in September of this year, they celebrated 72 years of marriage.
Their daughter, Lillian Adams, said her father thought Mrs. Pennington was a little girl because she was so short, but he and a friend walked her and a friend home that night after the dance. From then on, they were a couple.
“He’s the only one I’ve ever gone with,” Mrs. Pennington said. While they were dating, they often went to the park and to the movies on Saturday nights.
After a year of dating, the two were engaged. “He just came out and asked me if I’d marry him,” Mrs. Pennington said. They were married in Mr. Pennington’s house with both of their mothers as witnesses.
Mr. Pennington worked as a glazer for Fannin Glass Co. for 47 1⁄2 years, sometimes working 12 to 14 hour days, seven days a week. Mrs. Pennington is a homemaker and always took care of the family while her husband worked.
After 72 years of marriage, they have one daughter, four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter. Mrs. Pennington has taken her grandkids to many of their football, basketball and baseball games and band competitions. The couple have even taken them fishing. When Mr. Pennington wasn’t working, he played ball with his grandsons. “We love our grandkids,” Mrs. Pennington said.
When Adams was young, her parents took her on vacations to Florida, North Carolina and lower Kentucky. She said her dad, being the oldest of nine children, was always about family.
Adams said her father, 91, would probably accredit his long life to working hard. “He always told me ‘never turn down no overtime,’” Adams said. Mrs. Pennington, 89, said she has always kept busy and stayed off medication.
When asked why her parents have stayed together for so long, Adams said her dad had said, “I’ve had her all these years, I guess I’ll keep her.” He also said he couldn’t ask for a better woman.
Adams said she has learned from her parents that marriage is not something you can give up on after a few months. Mrs. Pennington said the key to a long marriage is 50⁄50 compromise. As for her and her husband, however, she said, “We’ve just gotten along, that’s it.”