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McMillans celebrate 50 years of marriage

Bob and Ann McMillan celebrate their newly-official marriage in 1968.  The couple’s marriage 50 years ago was the result of several stars aligning, as neither had planned to get married that fateful day but had instead reserved a Sunday off work to go looking for a home together.  One thing quite literally led to another and, at the end of the day, the two were wed.

Bob and Ann McMillan celebrate their newly-official marriage in 1968. The couple’s marriage 50 years ago was the result of several stars aligning, as neither had planned to get married that fateful day but had instead reserved a Sunday off work to go looking for a home together. One thing quite literally led to another and, at the end of the day, the two were wed.

Robert and Cybil Oswald McMillan, perhaps better known simply as Bob and Ann, celebrated 50 years of matrimony Sunday with a surprise rededication ceremony in Gulf Shores.

For Bob, who vividly recalled being utterly dumbfounded when he first laid eyes on Ann all those years ago, their marriage was inevitable. And yet, several stars aligned on a rather impromptu wedding day 50 years ago.

“We were looking for trailers on our day off one Sunday, and the guy at the trailer place said ‘well, you can go ahead and get your blood test at the hospital,’ so we did,” Bob said.

“And the nurse at the hospital said ‘well, you know you can go ahead and get married today, right?’ We thought no, because the courthouse was closed, but she said that the judge would go down there and open it up to marry us.

“She told us to go to the judge’s house, and so we did,” Ann added. “We felt it was meant to be.  We had all of these things put out in front of us, so we just followed them step by step.”

Following a series of signs became par for the course for the McMillans throughout their courtship and eventual marriage.

Bob credits his uncle for creating the circumstances that led up to the pair meeting.

“I was going to Troy State University, and I started off at a dairy where my aunt and uncle gave me a room and $100 a month to milk cows twice a day and six days a week,” Bob said.

“But an uncle in Luverne said he could put me on at the hospital, where I would be closer to Troy, have less work to do and have more time to study.

“So I went to work there, and Ann came on a little later.  All the girls would ask me ‘are you going to ask her out?’  I said that I didn’t think so.  But once I saw her she blew me away, as she came strolling up the aisle with that nightingale uniform on. They asked again what I thought after I saw her, and I said ‘I’m going to marry her.’

And though Bob kept his word and married Ann shortly afterward, it wasn’t until this past Sunday that the couple received a traditional wedding ceremony, albeit a beachside one with its fair share of spectators.

The McMillans said that in those days half a century ago, courthouse marriages were much more common.

“Our problem was that we couldn’t afford it,” Bob said. “We were in school and working.  It took everything I had just to pay the next tuition, which was $100.  And then I had to buy my used books.”

The couple said that Sunday was like reliving that fateful day all over again.

“The funny thing was even though we were talking really loudly while we renewed our vows, my children and grandchildren said they never heard a word of it,” Bob added.

“So now only the preacher and we know what we said, and Ann and I may not remember for long,” he joked.

A healthy sense of humor is one of the things the couple credits to their longevity, as well as a willingness to compromise.

“For some of the young couples today, it’s all about themselves and not the person they married,” Ann said. “He watches his football and I don’t say a word, but I watch my shows whenever I want and he doesn’t say a word. It’s all give and take.”

“It’s all about compromises, but it’s not 50-50, though,” Bob added with a sly smile. “You’re both going to have to work on it if you’re going to stay together.  You’ve got to give me a little bit, and I’ve got to give you a whole lot,” he said, sneaking another laugh in. “That’s the way it goes.”