Couple shares secrets to 70 year marriage, surrounded by family

TACOMA -- Harry and Kitty Wright just celebrated 70 years of marriage, surrounded by family and friends. That family includes their ten kids; twenty-five grandkids; thirty great-grandkids; and five great-great grandkids (give or take a few; they said it's hard to keep track).

70 years is a long time to be in a relationship with any one, let along your spouse. So what is the key to their long-lasting marriage? Being in love, and actually liking each other, they say. And, Harry points out, staying affectionate! "We hug and we kiss in the morning, we hug and we kiss at night. We hug and we kiss at noon... anytime in between and all the time, we're always in love!"

It's a love that began as more of a "like", as kids growing up in Minnesota. They played together in a group of neighborhood kids, until one day, "at twelve, I started liking him a lot!" says Kitty. "He was smart, handsome..."

"She is just a beautiful lady! She was, and is!" Harry lovingly responds.

They didn't decide to date exclusively until it came time for Harry to to join the service at the age of 17. The year was 1943, and while Harry did not see combat, he was stationed all around the country, coming home only infrequently on furlough. It was through their daily letters to each other that they truly fell in love. "It was the way we really met," Harry says. "'Cause you can, I suppose, say things in the letters that you might be a little- at the time- bashful to say, even now."

Harry proposed in May of 1946, and they married that August. The details of the day are hazy all these years later, but they light up the instant I ask if there was dancing; answering simultaneously, "Oh yes!"

I keep asking them how they made it through rough patches: arguments, life's curveballs, that sort of thing. But they seem genuinely perplexed that the question even needs to be asked. Harry and Kitty insist it's the simplest of answers: they made a good "pick" when the decided to get together, and they genuinely like each other. "I think the one thing that helped is we've always been in love. And I like her. She likes me! That makes a big difference."

"Well yeah, it does!" Kitty agrees. "If you like the person you love, it can't get any better."

Kitty and Harry worked very hard for their family over the years. Kitty worked in several Tacoma-area hospitals, and Harry spent 30 years working at an iron and steel plant; he even made the steps for the Space Needle! Through it all, they are most proud of their ever-growing family. And they are all united in their love and like of each other.

And Harry and Kitty? When I reiterate that they've been married for 70 years (and I may have emphasized it a bit too incredulously!), Harry quickly corrects me: "70 years... and counting!"

Happy Anniversary, Harry and Kitty!