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60 Years of Advice on Valentine's Day

Lake Anne couple reflect on a wartime marriage.

In 1944, the Allies invaded Normandy, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series, Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected to his fourth term, and longtime Reston residents Edgar and Betty Glick tied the knot.

The Glicks, who have lived near Lake Anne since 1971, celebrated their 60th anniversary Saturday, giving this year’s Valentine’s Day an added significance for the couple.

Edgar Glick, a community theater actor, met Betty Glick, who runs the Leesburg antique store "Lake Annetiques," on a blind date in Erie, Penn. in the early 1940s. Edgar Glick, who was preparing to join the Army Air Corps as a radar mechanic, took her out on a motorboat and an airplane ride over Lake Erie, they recalled. They were instantly smitten with one another.

"He knew how to sweep a girl off her feet," she said.

Shortly after the date, he was shipped off to Florida for training. The couple wrote many love letters for a year and a half, though they had spent little actual time together.

"Our letters became very deep stuff — what we believed, what we felt," Edgar Glick said. "I suspect that we spent more time talking to each other through our letters than most people do when they’re together."

ON FEB. 7, 1944, she joined him in West Palm Beach, where they wed. She was 19 and he was 20, though he changed his age on his Army ID card so he wouldn’t have to get his parent’s permission.

Almost immediately after the Glicks were married, he was sent to Italy for another year and a half. They continued writing love letters while he was overseas, recognizing the irony that as they were thousands of miles apart, they were growing even closer together.

When Edgar Glick returned, she met him at the Boca Raton train station. They almost didn’t recognize each other, they joked, because their three-year romance had taken place almost exclusively via the U.S. Postal Service.

The Glicks moved to Wisconsin, so he could attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison through the GI Bill. Without any money, the couple lived 35 miles from campus in cheap housing built for workers at a nearby munitions plant. The walls of their home consisted of a single piece of drywall and all cooking and water heating was done with a hotplate.

"We were living in a hovel," Betty Glick said. "It was a row of shacks."

But the cramped living conditions only brought the Glicks closer together. While living there, Betty Glick gave birth to their only child, Howard. Today, their son is a psychiatrist and lives in Leesburg.

Edgar Glick rushed through college, graduating in two years, because he wanted to cram as much schooling as he could under the free tuition of the GI Bill. After another two years, he had earned two master's degrees in comparative literature and library sciences.

AFTER GRADUATION, the couple bounced around the country, with Edgar Glick working at libraries and think tanks in Iowa, Brooklyn, Queens and eventually settling at the Library of Congress.

Now, when he isn’t acting with the Reston Community Theatre or she isn’t working at the antique store, the couple spend much of their time traveling in their motor home, though these days they rarely leave for more than a weekend.

Looking back on their lifelong romance, the Glicks said staying active and curious are the keys to maintaining a healthy, long-term relationship.

"The most important thing is you have to stay intellectually active," Betty Glick said, gesturing toward the stacks of books and old issues of the New Yorker that populate their living room.

"It’s absolutely important," Edgar Glick agreed, "because then you have something to talk about — even if you disagree."

The Glicks' secret, they’re only too happy to share, is to keep a sense of humor and to put the relationship and the other person ahead of oneself.

"It's more important to preserve the relationship than to win the argument," Edgar Glick said. "That’s my secret and that’s why I never win the argument."