Please and thank you |

Please and thank you

by Amy Alonzo
Elmer and Billie White of Gardnerville are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.
Amy Alonzo |

The secret to a long marriage is pretty simple, if you ask Elmer and Billie White — remember to say “please” and “thank you.”

“That’s about it,” Elmer said.

The Whites should know — the two are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.

“It’s ‘cuz I like her so much,” Elmer said. “She’s always friendly and everything.”

Elmer, 92, and Billie, 88, grew up together in a small Indiana town about 50 miles east of Indianapolis. The town’s high school ran from seventh through 12th grade, and the year Billie entered the school, Elmer was a senior.

She said she always tried to stand in the lunch line so she was near him.

“He was on the basketball team,” she said. “I just liked his looks. I had a big crush on him. I thought he was something else.”

After graduation he left for four years in the Marines, where he was stationed in California and the South Pacific. After he left the service in 1946 he returned to Indiana.

He ran into Billie in a park and discovered the seventh-grader who used to try to stand next to him in the lunch line was now a senior, and he asked her on a date.

The two started going out, and the following summer the pair married. They honeymooned in Ohio.

“We just went together and knew we were going to get married,” she said. “He keeps saying I asked him.”

She worked making circuit boards, and he worked at various jobs before serving as an aircraft mechanic for 22 years for United Airlines.

They have five kids, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

“We were just all a close family,” she said.

“The kids always came home, anyway,” Elmer added with a laugh.

They moved to California in 1965, and in 2002 they moved to Gardnerville, where two of their children lived at the time.

“They were excellent parents,” said their fourth-youngest, Lisa Dunkelberg of Gardnerville. “They were always hard workers — still are.”

The Whites are celebrating their anniversary Saturday at a party at the Aspen Mobile Home Park clubhouse. Their actual anniversary is June 14.