On Tuesday, as he has done for the past 70 years, Ray Edwards will get down on a knee or find another creative way to once again ask his bride, Doris, to marry him. And, for the 71st time, she will say "yes." So goes a true, modern-day love story, one that the couple's six children, nine grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren call a "fairy tale" marriage.
First, a little history.
Ray and Doris met in 1941 during their sophomore years in high school in a small Ohio town not far from Bowling Green. Doris' parents moved the family into the town where Ray and his family already lived. Over the course of the next three years a romance blossomed and they agreed to get married as soon as possible following graduation in 1944 -- especially knowing that with World War II raging on Ray would immediately go into the Army Air Corps.
There was one problem. In 1944 Ohio, a man could not be married until he was at least 18 years of age. No such rule existed for women. So, the couple's anniversary, Aug. 5, is also Ray's birthday.
"It makes it pretty easy to remember our anniversary," jokes Ray.
In January of 1945, not long after the wedding, Ray was called to active duty and sent to Biloxi, Mississippi, for basic training. Doris followed him and got a job as a clerk typist at the base, where they lived separately, but were at least close to one another.
Following his training, Ray was assigned to a base in Columbus, Ohio, and assumed he would soon be called into one of the war zones. He and Doris had seen several friends shipped off to war only to see gold stars placed in the windows of their friends' homes. Gold stars designate a soldier who was killed in action.
"That really changed our whole lives," says Doris.
It turns out that Ray was one of the lucky ones and never had to ship out. During the first weeks after being stationed in Ohio, the United States and its allies defeated the Germans in Europe, and the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hastening Japan's surrender.
The couple returned home to Ohio, where Ray went back to school, earned a degree from Bowling Green University and went into teaching. Doris cared for their first-born son and acquired a child care license to care for a few other children in order to help make ends meet.
They stayed in Ohio until 1962 when the growing family made the "big move" to California. They first settled in Castro Valley, and Ray began what turned out to be a 30-year teaching career at Chabot College.
"I taught mathematics. I really enjoyed it. I always wanted to be a teacher," says Ray.
A few years later Doris got a job at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and they decided to move to Dublin, which was essentially a middle point between their two jobs. They've lived in the same house for the past 45 years and have seen their children move on to begin lives of their own while the couple continued to celebrate their lives together in a very tender and loving way.
"It used to be that when we went to work we would pack our lunches, and quite often I'd find a note from him when it was noon time and I opened up my lunch," says Doris, who has kept all of Ray's lunch bag notes.
Core to their marriage, from day one, has been their effort to spend as much time as possible together. It's a closeness that continues today.
"They celebrate each other every day," says their daughter, Deanna McIntosh. "They are forever holding hands. They are their best friends."
The couple, who both have a great sense of humor, say they never dreamed a "couple of little country kids" would be together for 70 years.
"The secret (to our long marriage) is that we've never gone to sleep mad at each other, which is OK but has caused a lot of sleepless nights," jokes Ray, who quickly transitions into being serious when talking about his bride.
"She's the most beautiful, most talented and greatest woman in the whole wide world. She's a very wonderful lady."
"We still like each other and like being together. I don't think our marriage is in jeopardy," says Doris. "I can't even think of what it would be like without him."
The happy couple and their extended family and friends will watch Ray ask for Doris' hand while they celebrate the 70th anniversary a couple days early on Sunday at Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon. In case you were curious, the traditional gift for a 70th anniversary is platinum.
"I give him a contract year to year, and if he doesn't behave, I'll make it six weeks," says a smiling Doris, who admits she never grows tired of the tradition.