JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — With nursing homes across the state on lockdown during the pandemic, it forced a Jacksonville couple to find a creative way to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.
Johnnie and Louise Whiteside have only spent their special day apart twice. Once was when he was stationed in France with the Air Force, and the other time when he was deployed during the Vietnam War. Recently Louise had to move into a nursing home.
Whiteside says he refused to add another day to that list, even though Louise suffers from a disease that causes dementia and had to move into a nursing home.
“I have loved her since the day I met her,” Johnnie said. “I would rather be with her than anyone else.”
Whiteside decided to surprise his bride by sitting outside her nursing home window, then calling her on the phone.
“I would love to give her a hug but they won’t let me,” Whiteside said. “At least we were together.”
That love is what Whiteside says has made them reach this marriage milestone. “Love, I love her. Thank goodness it has been returned,” Whiteside said. “We’ve had a good long life.”