11 Questions with Pat and Angie Palmer
Married for 57 Years
February, 2008 - Issue #40
No one ever said marriage was easy and couples rarely enter into a relationship thinking the worst. Still, statistics are pretty grim and many marriages end in failure before the decade anniversary party.

So what is truly the secret to a long and blissful marriage? We asked the folks at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center to find us a happily-married couple who may be able to impart some pearls of wisdom to those who are getting ready to tie the knot this year. Heck, maybe even the rest of us can learn a few lessons.

Meet Pat and Angie Palmer, married 57 years. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, the Palmers moved to Southern California when Pat was offered a job. He's been retired since 1990 from Price Pfister as a chief product engineer and after raising four children, the Palmers are enjoying the good life of travel and spending time with 11 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Pat and Angie have a great sense of humor and took a little time out of their day to reflect on life, love and kids. The Palmers have lived in the Santa Clarita Valley for 24 years.

1. Does it feel like 57 years?
Angie Not to me.
Pat It only feels like 56.

2. When and where did you meet?
Angie My birthday is December 17 and my friends brought me a birthday cake at school. Pat had graduated from high school already but he came back for some cake. He asked me out on a date. I was only 16 so I told him I had to ask my dad. That was our first date.

3. Was it love at first sight?
Pat I don't think so, but I thought she was cute. We went on a hayride and she asked me to set her up with my friend.
Angie That's because his friend's mother had just died and I felt sorry for him.

4. Who popped the question?
Pat I guess I did.
Angie We were dating. It was Easter and he brought me a corsage - a white carnation, my favorite flower. When I picked up the flowers it had an engagement ring in it. I was surprised. He had already asked my dad for my hand.
Pat I ended up with the rest of her, too.

5. How was the wedding?
Angie The wedding was at St. Rocco's Church in Cleveland and the reception was held at the North Italian Club on October 14, 1950. There were a lot of people there. Pat had received draft papers and he was supposed to leave in January. We thought if we got married he could stay, but he left.
Pat I was in the Army during the Korean War. I was lucky. I got to go to Germany. The whole experience made us closer because we realized what it was like to be without each other.

6. Who has the better sense of humor?
Angie Pat does. He always cracks jokes. Sometimes you don't know how to take him.
Pat She's pretty funny, too.

7. Can you tell us about the hardest time in your marriage?
Angie Moving to California was hard for me. I've never been away from my family. I'd be crying everyday. Pat said he couldn't live like this and said I needed to figure things out. But it was good for us. We were young and nobody interfered. When the kids got in school, I made friends.

8. Your most wonderful moment?
Angie My most wonderful moment is when they said Pat didn't have cancer anymore.

9. Empty nest?
Angie I think it's harder for a woman, but boy it's great. It's such freedom. We've been traveling to Germany, Ireland and Italy. We checked out all the places our parents and grandparents were. We were gone a long time and I missed the kids. A month of not seeing them was hard. Being a grandparent is absolutely heaven. Being a great grandmother is even better.

10. The best thing about having a life partner?
Angie We stuck by each other and never let the kids influence us. I couldn't imagine doing it alone.
Pat It's really great to have someone to share the good and bad times with.

11. What is the secret to a long, happy marriage?
Angie You need to really love each other and listen to each other. You have to learn to laugh at yourself. Life throws a lot at you and it's nice to have someone to share it with. My mother-in-law gave me the best advice. She said when you argue and say things to hurt the other person, you start building a wall. Pretty soon, that wall just gets too high. It's best to cool off and then talk about it.
Pat We both try things that make the other happy. We've made mistakes over the years, but I can't imagine being with anyone else. The best way to end an argument is to say "yes dear."
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