Blog: Mildred and Ferdinand

Burt Ross

As bad luck would have it, I got a flat tire a couple of weeks ago. AAA came and put on my spare tire, and I immediately drove to the Toyota dealer in Thousand Oaks. As more bad luck would have it, I arrived around lunch time, and all the service people were enjoying their repast.

Just as I was about to give up on the day, my luck turned positive. There in the waiting room of the Toyota service department sat a delightful couple-he of basketball player height and she somewhat diminutive. I introduced myself and spent an engrossing half hour with my two new found acquaintances.

Their names at birth were Mildred and Ferdinand, but they made it clear everybody called them Millie and Ferd. She came from Boston and was a diehard Red Sox fan, and he came from Green Bay and loved his Packers.

They had courted for two years before marrying and kept each other’s letters. We talked about our children and then they told me they have worked together in the same enterprise for over 40 years. 

They hand craft miniature furniture out of wood. These collectibles are painstakingly made. Ferd does the wood part and Millie does the upholstery.

Just curious, I asked them how many years they have been married. “Just 72 wonderful years,” Millie answered.

I could not believe my ears. I don’t think I had ever met somebody who had been married that long. “You guys must have been very young when you got married,” I asked.

“Not really. We were both 23 when we got married,” Ferd said.

Now this is where a Harvard education really comes in handy. I added 72 and 23, and then I added 23 and 72, and both times I came up with the same 95. “You are both 95?” I said more question than statement. They already knew their age and both smiled.

Just then a serviceman came to tell them their car was ready. They stood up, and walked off hand in hand. He opened the car door for Millie, and then Ferd got into the driver’s seat and drove off.

As it turned out, it was a lucky day for me.

Happy Valentine’s Day.