50 years after super promposal, Manteno couple still happily married

MANTENO, Illinois -- "She couldn't turn me down when I whipped my charm on her."

Ellen and Richard Smith are getting married next month - but it won't be their first wedding.

"He was a new guy in the neighborhood. He was older and I always liked older guys. He seemed adventuresome, which I was looking forward to," Ellen said.

This Manteno couple first exchanged vows 50 years ago - exactly one year after a prom night proposal.

"I was so shocked I never answered him until I got in front of the pastor, which was my uncle," Ellen explained.

It was a shock because Richard had previously said: "I'm not the marrying kind. No, I don't want to get married."

But Ellen was worth it.

"She was a lady and she had a sewing machine!" Richard said.

"He liked the sewing machine," Ellen said, laughing.

So what's their secret to a lasting marriage?

Ellen offers: "He has a basement."

"Yeah. That helps a lot," Richard admits.

Half a century later, they're still laughing and making the most of each day.

"We start our week with Jesus Christ at church on Sunday morning and we end it with a date on Saturday night. And in between we try to do one random act of kindness a day," Ellen said. "I'm not saying it was all fairy tale. But the whole 50 years together, it's been a fairy tale."

At the end of May, the Smiths will celebrate with more than 100 friends and relatives -- including some original wedding guests. And after what they've dubbed "the remarriage," Ellen says: "I'm going on vacation."

And then, back to home to her prom date from all those years ago.
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