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Answering 'What is love?' with four Maine senior couples

For Valentine's Day, NEWS CENTER Maine met with four couples at Solstice Senior Living in Bangor to find out their secrets to making love last.

BANGOR, Maine — If there's any universal truth about love, it's that it happens differently for everyone -- and often comes when people least expect it. After all, there's a reason love is sometimes called the "wonder of the wise" -- it's hard to figure out, and there don't really seem to be any concrete answers. 

Couples growing old together at Solstice Senior Living in Bangor can attest. For Valentine's Day, four married pairs decided to share their stories, telling NEWS CENTER Maine about how they fell in love, what they admire about each other, and how they have made it work -- for some, up to 65 years.

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Sarah Jackson and Arthur Libby

Sarah Jackson has been living at Senior Senior Living since the early 2000s -- but a handful of years ago, something changed. 

"When Arthur moved in here, he recognized my first name," Sarah said. 

She's referring to Arthur Libby, her current husband, who she married seven years ago after they reconnected at the living facility by chance of fate.

"We went our separate ways for over 50 years," Sarah said, telling NEWS CENTER Maine that they had first met during college in Boston when former President John F. Kennedy visited Cambridge. Arthur was taking a class at Harvard University at the time, and Sarah's brother went to Harvard.

After parting ways, they both led separate lives, marrying other people -- until their chance reunion more than five decades later.

"I’d say you should take a chance," Sarah said about her advice on love. "You never know how things will work out."

Victor and Annabelle Pinkham

For some couples, the second, third, or fourth time is the charm. That was the case for Victor and Annabelle Pinkham, who had both been married previously before meeting each other.

"We met in my restaurant at first," Annabelle told NEWS CENTER Maine. "I owned a restaurant, and he was there with his ex-wife."

Though Victor was married, the couple says there was an immediate connection between the two of them.

"His sparkling eyes," Annabelle smiled, talking about what she was first attracted to. "We just were very compatible, right from the beginning.”

It's a beginning that's now going on 34 years together and counting, after they reconnected at a New Year's Eve party and then stuck together. Now, the couple combined has 10 daughters, 28 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren.

Annabelle says the key to their love is that she had finally accepted being okay with being alone -- and then they met.

"If it’s going to happen, it will happen."

Donald and Catherine Wallace

People are lucky to live 65 years in general, but Donald and Catherine Wallace have been doing life together for that long -- and it all started because of a blind date.

Donald is a U.S. Air Force veteran. During his time in service, his friend decided to set him up with Catherine -- but their first time meeting wasn't an immediate love connection.

"He was too conceited. I didn’t like him," Catherine laughed.

"But I knew how to dance!" Donald butted in.

Still, Catherine knew how to play hard to get, even back then.

"About the fourth date, I said, ‘You know me enough, so that if you want to date, you call' -- and he said, ‘Well, I don’t know if I will or not.’"

Eventually, Donald gave in and the two were married. The couple moved around the globe as Donald continued his career in service -- so much so that Catherine had their five children in four different places around the world, joking that they had to test out all of the military base hospitals.

"There’s a lot of prayers, a lot of laughs, a lot of cries -- everything," Catherine said to NEWS CENTER Maine, expressing all that a marriage as long as theirs entails.

But after making it through something as tough as watching your loved one go into service, not knowing when or if they'll come home, Catherine says little spats now seem insignificant.

"When you wake up each morning and each one’s there, that’s positive," Catherine said.

"Yeah," Donald nodded.

Able and Rachel Dubois

For Able and Rachel Dubois, a sense of humor goes a long way -- long enough to uphold a marriage of more than three decades, even in sickness.

"Long story," Able expressed about how the two met. Rachel said it all started with a blind date.

Rachel was living in Canada when the couple started dating after her former husband died. After three months, Able proposed to her -- and they still laugh about the story.

"I took her on an aluminum boat about two miles offshore, and I asked her to marry me, and I said, 'If you say, "No," then jump!'"

After some consideration, Rachel agreed and ended up naturalizing in the United States. They have family in both countries, and Rachel says she loves being able to be a part of both places. 

Now, they are living at Solstice Senior Living full-time and are both sick with breathing and lung issues -- but they say it's easier to fight those battles with someone you love by your side.

"We enjoy and appreciate everything," Rachel said. "It's marvelous."

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