http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/06/20/happy-69th-anniversary


Danville Express

Living - June 20, 2008

Happy 69th anniversary

Couple of the Depression forged a good life and are still going strong

by Michelle Olson

Sixty-nine years may be a lifetime for some, but for George and Gladys Hicks it is the number of years they've been married. They are residents of assisted living home Diablo Lodge in Danville and together they have accumulated 72 years of being part of the Danville community.

Sixty-nine years together is no small feat. With more than 50 percent of couples getting divorced today it's a wonder the couple have made their romance last so long.

"We love each other. We're good friends. We're in love. We never go to sleep without saying 'I love you,'" George explained.

He believes people don't value relationships - or sex - the way they used to.

"You have to have true commitment," he said. "It seems so easy to split up. You have to get back to old-fashioned values. Sex is more plentiful. Pregnancy (without marriage) during our time - one would have been embarrassed. Now it's no big deal."

Gladys and George met in junior high in Oakland when he played the piano in a band and she played the drums. They continued to see each other through high school at Castlemont.

"We would go to the dances on Friday nights and George would walk me home. Then we'd sit on the porch and all the neighbors would peep through the windows to see what we were doing," Gladys reminisced.

They married June 23, 1939, in Berkeley at the Chapel of the Flowers when Gladys was 19 and George was 21. When Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941, they had just had their first child, a boy named Gary.

George was drafted into the Navy in 1942 to serve in World War II. He spent most of his time as a radio operator in Saipan in the Pacific and returned before the end of the war.

A couple of years later, in 1947, they would introduce their daughter Gayle Lynn to the world. Their family now includes two children, five grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Gary, their son, lives in Lincoln while Gayle Lynn resides in Mansfield, Texas.

George started out working for Wells Fargo Bank making $110 a month when he first got married. He retired as an insurance manager for Metropolitan Life with 30 years experience.

His life was not easy.

"We worked hard. My father died when I was born. My mother died when I was 7. My grandmother raised me. My wife was poor growing up," said George.

"We were children of the Depression," Gladys reiterated.

They lived in Danville for 30 years, then moved to Texas, but returned a year-and-a-half ago. They have been to almost all 50 states, gone on multiple cruises, and George has gotten two hole-in-ones playing golf.

They said their biggest accomplishments are raising a good family, having kids who get along with each other, and living to be 90.

The Hickses are also proud of "growing up poor and ending up at a nice place like Diablo Lodge."

Now George likes to play bingo, while Gladys enjoys her soap operas. The Hickses have become a hub of the Diablo Lodge community, which is holding an open house tomorrow in honor of their anniversary. They were voted king and queen for Valentine's Day, and their photos are included on the lodge's brochures and advertisements.

George is chairman of the Council Committee of Diablo Lodge. He is one of a group of five residents that act as a mediator between residents and management. They listen to the wants and needs of residents and work with management to make changes.

They both still get out and are independent.

"George still drives," Gladys said.

At this stage in their lives, the Hickses take nothing for granted.

"We've had a lot of good years. Wish we could do it all again," said Gladys.

"We are fortunate to have each other," George added. "We are fortunate things have worked out."

Happy Anniversary

Diablo Lodge, 950 Diablo Road, is holding an open house from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Saturday, June 21, in honor of Gladys and George Hicks' 69th wedding anniversary.

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