All News & Blogs
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
BY SAMANTHA BILHARZ
MATTOON, Ill.--Betty Parker and Bob Easton's marriage has been 61 years in the making--after all, they first fell in love when they were teenagers.
In late December, the duo made it official with a Christmas-themed wedding. The bride wore purple, while the groom dressed in a gray suit and tie.
This is the second marriage for both Parker, 78, and Easton, 79, who have known each other since 1952.
Parker was just 16 when she first started dating 17-year-old Easton. The pair met through Parker's cousin. After a year of dating they went their separate ways.
Both Parker and Easton said they still can't remember why they split up in the first place, but are just happy to have rekindled their romance after many years apart.
"Neither of us remember what happened," Easton said. "All we know is we were too young at the time to get married and so we moved on and ended up losing touch."
After the breakup, Easton joined the Air Force and then married. Parker ended up getting married as well.
Each raised a family. After three children and 58 years of marriage, Easton's first wife died. Parker became a widow after 38 years with her first husband, with whom she raised three children.
Even with distance and time between them, Easton tried to reconnect with Parker but was unsuccessful until a few years ago when he was visiting a friend in a Mattoon apartment building. He noticed Parker's mom also lived there.
"I buzzed Betty's mom to try to figure out where her daughter was," Easton said.
He was able to get a hold of Parker's mom, who got the couple back in touch again.
"My mom called me and I came over to talk to him," Parker said. "We have stayed in touch ever since that day."
Parker and Easton started dating again on July 4, 2012.
"We have always thought a great deal of each other, there is no doubt about that," Easton said.
In October, Easton worked up the courage to ask Parker to marry him.
"I bought her a diamond ring for $2 at a garage sale and told her, 'This is all I have right now but you will get a real one later,'" Easton said, smiling.