Evelyn "Jean" Doziski said even after being married to her sweetheart, Bill, for 62 years, she'd still want to be marooned on a desert island with him.
"They call us peanut butter and jelly," she said with a smile, patting his hand. "He's been with me every day, through thick and thin, through many surgeries and scares."
The Doziskis said this holiday season and always, they are most thankful for each other and the love they have shared since they were young.
Tribune Chronicle / Bonnie L. Hazen
Evelyn and Bill Doziski share a loving moment in their Warren home on Monday. The Doziskis are most thankful for each other this holiday season. Photo by Bonnie L. Hazen
Both growing up in a neighborhood in Donora, Pa., Jean lived at the top of the hill and Bill at the bottom, where they and other children would gather and play in a nearby alley. Jean said she frequently found bouquets of flowers left just outside the gates of the alley and knew they were from Bill.
"I thought he was the most gorgeous guy in the whole world. I would walk by his house praying that I would see him," she said. "All the girls were in love with him."
Jean was a looker herself, having won Miss Mon Valley in 1950.
"She was in the Miss America contest in high school," Bill added.
When Jean was in the third grade, Bill brought her an apple one day during class.
"That was it," she said. "I chased him around for the next couple of years until I caught him."
Jean performed at the Trumbull New Theater in Niles for many years, where Bill would attend all of her rehearsals to make sure she was safe. He eventually became the stage manager.
"He was always there, in the background," she said.
One day, he decided to take a stand.
"He said, 'You're either going to be out there on the stage or you're going to marry me,'" she recalled.
She said yes.
The eve before their wedding, they wrote each other letters to express how much they loved each other. In the letters, they said they hoped they would grow old together and promised they would always come first in each others' lives. They still have the letters.
Jean said to this day, she'd rather be with Bill than with anybody else.
"Although I'm very capable of taking care of myself, I'd be a little lost sheep without him," she said.
They were forced apart shortly after their marriage when Bill was drafted into the Army in 1952, serving two years during the Korean War.
"I cried every single day," she said. "I actually yearned for him. To this day, if he goes out on a golf outing, I'll cry."
"She used to write me four or five letters every day," Bill recalled.
Bill served from 1952-53 as a neuropsychiatric technician before returning home to his "Angelina."
Now that they are retired and their children are grown with families of their own, the Doziskis have plenty of time to spend with each other.
"There's never a dull moment in this house," Bill said. "My sweetheart over here always has something going."
Aside from entertaining, the couple enjoy trying out new restaurants and going to the theatre.
Asking them how they keep their love so strong after so many years, they won't hesitate to answer.
"The reason our marriage has lasted is because we talk. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we never run out of things to talk about," Jean said.
What do they talk about?
"What happened today, what happened yesterday," she said.
"And what she's going to do tomorrow," Bill added, smiling.
The couple admitted their endless love for each other isn't something you see every day.
"I've never seen a marriage like ours," Jean said. "I know my girlfriends are sick and tired of hearing me talk about Bill, but I don't care. That's just how I feel."
"I'd never leave him for anything. Anything. Or anybody," she said. "If only all women could have a husband as wonderful as Bill, this would be a wonderful world."
"Ditto," Bill replied, looking into her eyes. "She's the sweetest, most loyal person in the whole world."