“It’s not easy,” Mr. Scott began. “It’s give and take, and sometimes you take more than you give.”
He and his wife, Angela, 76, celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary Sunday at a community center in Fort Washington. The average marriage in the United States only lasts about eight years, according to the Census Bureau. The guests were therefore naturally curious to know how the Scotts had succeeded eight years times seven plus two.
“It’s a tough road, but you can make it easier if you do it the right way,” Scott continued. “She gives and I give -” He stopped, smiled. “And the next thing you know, we have six kids.”
Mr. Scott’s risque innuendo caused the room to burst into laughter, while Mrs. Scott put her hand to her forehead as if to hide her embarrassment. In fact, she was stifling a small laugh. Mr. Scott did not include the joke in his secrets of a long marriage. But making people laugh — or blush — was one of the qualities her family found most endearing.
“Father is a coupe,” said Sharon Scott, the eldest of six children. “We are a family that laughs a lot, and we take that from a father.”
Of course, marital bliss was about more than laughter, as I learned when I first met the couple in 1989.
I walked past the open doors of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Catholic Roman Church on East Capitol Street in Southeast DC when I heard organ music and decided to check it out. Willie and Angela stood at the altar, renewing their wedding vows after 25 years of marriage.
The ceremony was so uplifting that I wrote about it.
And here they are in 2022, with three more decades of proof that what they discovered really works.
Willie and Angela Scott were married in 1964. Angela was 17, a recent graduate of Dunbar High School in DC Willie was 21, also a graduate of Dunbar. He had held jobs as a taxi driver, grocery store clerk, and construction worker.
The chances of successful marriages involving teenagers with only high school diplomas are not good.
But young Mr. Scott had convinced Angela’s mother to allow the marriage, partly arguing her case by sharing what he had learned from his father about manhood.
“Pops always told me, to be a man, you have to take care of your family,” Willie Scott recalled during the celebration. “If you have children, you have to provide for them, show them by example, show them right from wrong, show them how to respect each other because you want your children to be proud of you and that you be proud of them.”
After the marriage, Angela Scott got a job with the Department of Agriculture and later the Department of the Interior. Willie Scott made a career as a professional roofer. They bought a house in Seat Pleasant, continued to grow their family and became pillars of the community. They now have 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
There were also losses. In 2018, Gary Scott, the third eldest of their six children, died of a heart attack. He was 50 years old. In 2019, Willie Scott suffered a major blow when he started suffering from atrial fibrillation and needed an implanted pacemaker to save his life.
Due to the pandemic, a vow renewal scheduled for 2020 has been cancelled. Some of their closest friends contracted the coronavirus and died.
But the Scotts decided to go there last weekend. They threw a lovely birthday party, with many guests getting a taste of what it takes to keep the flame of love burning.
“I have a name I call it, and when I call it, my voice is always soft,” Ms Scott said. “I call him my dove of love. He is agape love, unconditional love, and together we face the storms of life, all the hurricanes and tornadoes.
Mr. Scott chimed in with a rendition of the 1966 Sam & Dave hit, “You don’t know how I know what that woman has done for me…”
“Mrs. Scott,” he said, turning to his wife, “it’s been a long, long road and we’ve been on it together. He referred to the column I wrote about them in 1989. “In this article, it was said that we kissed for a long time. Well, let me show you something.
Cheers and screams filled the room as he hugged her. And when their lips finally parted, another secret to their enduring marriage was revealed.