Charles and Pauline Pittman have reached a relationship milestone that most people could not imagine – 67 years of marriage.
Living in a California, where nearly two/thirds of all marriages end in divorce, Charles, 93, and Pauline, 94, are a testament that a loving marriage can still exist.
However, Charles and Pauline slightly differ in their opinions on what factors have kept them together.
“Everything we did, we worked together,” Pauline said.
Chuckling, Charles said, “The key is to let her talk.”
They also have different opinions on how they have lived for so many years.
Pauline remarked that she has always maintained a healthy lifestyle, and never drank alcohol. Charles, on the other hand, said “There is nothing like a good swig of liquor.”
Shocked by her husband’s statement, Pauline said, “You didn’t drink that much.”
Charles answered back, with a smile, “You didn’t know me back then.” The statement was made in jest, because Pauline has known him for most of his life.
The couple met in Charles’ hometown of Dayton Ohio. Charles was one of the middle children of 11, and he attended Wilberforce University, which is a private, liberal arts historically African-American university in Wilberforce, Oh, 21 miles outside of Dayton. Pauline is from Richmond Indiana. She had three sisters and one brother, and her father was a farmer.
The couple moved to Los Angeles in 1952, and were surprised by the amount of bigotry that they encountered.
“If I had known how much prejudice L.A. had, I wouldn’t have come out here,” Charles said. “And, I had just come out of the Army, where they treated blacks like dogs. There was more prejudice here than some places down South.”
The couple had great difficulties finding a house because many white home owners would not sell to blacks. They continued to search , and finally purchased a home on Arlington Avenue near Vernon Avenue, in an area where there were not very many blacks.
Charles, who worked for the Post Office and as an adult school teacher at Crenshaw and Dorsey high schools, said that there were not too many blacks west of Western Avenue at that time. The white person who sold them their home told the Pittmans that he was advised not to sell to blacks but he was in a hurry.
Charles said that they could not even look at the houses in Baldwin Hills. To view a home they had to tell a realtor that they wanted to look at houses to view the floor plan so that they might get ideas for their own home.
The Pittman’s later purchased a home in the community of Village Green, which is on Rodeo Road just west of La Cienega Boulevard. Charles said that the Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963 opened the city up to blacks.
The couple now resides in Culver City. The never had children. Laughing, Charles said, “We couldn’t afford them, Children cost money.”
Pauline said that they had planned to have children at some point, but they just never did.
The couple have shared many Valentine’s Days together, and it looks as if there will be many more to come.