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Love at first kiss

In celebration of February, the month of love, we have a resident love story that has stood the test of time.

Claudia and J Mann met as young students at Murray State College in Tishomingo, Okla., in 1944.

“We were having a Sadie Hawkins Day at the college where boys and girls run on the football field. The boys were going through a line and I was putting lipstick on them as they came by,” said Claudia. “J’s face was as red as fire. I said, ‘Don’t be embarrassed,’ and he reached over and smacked me on the cheek with a kiss and said, ‘Now who’s embarrassed?’”

As events unfolded throughout the day, Claudia ended up asking J if she could take him to a show that night—as the girls were supposed to do as part of the event.

“Then I didn’t see him anymore until Christmas and he was in the cantata. I was an angel and he was Joseph. That night he asked me if he could walk me home and I said, ‘sure.’ He walked me home, he said goodnight and he went running home. The next day this girl I had been friends with said she had a date last night with the best-looking guy at the college. I asked her who was it and she said, ‘J Mann.’ He was two-timing me! But he always said as soon as he saw me and put the kiss on my cheek that I was the woman he would marry,” said Claudia.

“She’s got it all right,” added J. “We were just kids, hardly 18. She’s older than I am by three days and you know the older woman always leads the man around. We just knew when we first met that that’s it.”

The two got married on October 20, 1945 and celebrated their 73rd anniversary this past fall.

What’s their secret to a long, happy marriage?

“Listen to the other person’s viewpoint,” said J. “We’ve been good at that. We disagree, state our position and then go on. It’s always worked. We never make any major decisions without sitting down and talking about it, too.”

For Claudia, it’s about friendship and laughs. “Marry your best friend. I wouldn’t change places with anyone. We’re still in good health, too. J has 2020 vision and still has his own teeth! We laugh a lot.”

Over the years, Claudia and J had three biological sons and raised two foster children. They have six grandkids and five great grandchildren who they enjoy seeing often.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our residents and staff!

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