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Love blooms in autumn years

A year after they were married, Allan Boose, 94, and his wife, Vi, 95, are as in love as ever.

[Times photo: Daniel Wallace]
Allan, 94, and Vi Boose, 95, were married last year on Valentine's Day at The Residence at Timber Pines.

By DAN DeWITT
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 10, 2002


SPRING HILL -- Being nonagenarian newlyweds has been a daily joy and an occasional lifesaver for Vi and Al Boose.

On Thanksgiving, the couple, who were married on Valentine's Day 2001, stopped at a florist on their way to the home of Mrs. Boose's daughter in Citrus County.

When Mrs. Boose tried to get out of the car, she realized she couldn't stand. When her husband walked around the car to help her out, she couldn't speak.

"He brought me right back here and got an ambulance," said Mrs. Boose, 95.

Having suffered a stroke, she was taken from The Residence at Timber Pines, where the Booses share an apartment, to Oak Hill Hospital. After a week there and a few weeks of rehabilitation, Mrs. Boose had a nearly complete recovery. Her husband deserves much of the credit, her doctors told her, because he sought treatment so quickly.

"I would have been at a loss without him," she said.

The Booses feel the same way about their lives in general.

Their marriage one year ago made them celebrities, both at The Residence at Timber Pines and in the wider community. Allan Boose was 93 at the time; Vi, whose last name was then Rauber, was 94. State records show only one marriage -- of two 94-year-olds in 1979 -- with a combined age greater than the Booses'.

"It's just like we were meant to be together," Mrs. Boose said. "We've been so happy, and everybody's been so nice."

"There have been two other couples here get married (since)," Mr. Boose said. "We started something, I guess."

Before they met, both were lonely newcomers to the Residence, an upscale assisted living facility on U.S. 19.

Mr. Boose said he used to walk more before his marriage than he does now, mostly because he wandered the halls looking for someone to talk to. He often ended up at the front desk, talking to the receptionist.

"She closes everything up at 9 (p.m.), and lots of times we'd sit down there and talk from 9 until 11," Mr. Boose said.

Vi Boose moved from her previous home in Sarasota to the Residence in July 2000 after a new medication left her with strokelike symptoms. She says she continued to miss her old friends until November of that year, when she fell in love with her future husband.

"A few days later, my daughter came down and she said, "You look so happy, for a change.' I said, "I guess I have a reason. I think Al is pretty nice."'

Mrs. Boose planned the details of the wedding, including the engraved rings they placed on one another's fingers and the pink dress and pink roses she wore.

She said she especially appreciated her husband when she was sick, the way he acted quickly to get her help, kept her company at the hospital, and pushed her wheelchair for two weeks after she was released.

"I went to the hospital every morning, came back for her lunch and went back every afternoon," he said.

"I spent a lot of time in the hospital. But I kept feeling better every day because she kept on getting better every day."

Mrs. Boose is also grateful for her husband's presence on more ordinary days, which usually start with a long breakfast at the assisted living facility with friends.

"We're usually the last ones to leave the breakfast room," Mrs. Boose said.

Afterward, they read the newspaper in their apartment. He then runs errands or walks; she swims.

Their evenings start with leisurely dinners. They play bridge twice a week and attend a happy hour sponsored by the residence once a week. Once a month, the facility holds a mass birthday party.

"Everyone who has a birthday that month is a guest of honor," Vi Boose said. "We have a lot of fun here."

Their two-bedroom apartment is filled with the furniture and artifacts of their past and current lives. They usually sit in matching blue recliners. Walls and tabletops are cluttered with photographs of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In his bedroom -- near the bed that has not been slept in since their marriage -- is their framed marriage certificate.

Above the bed in the other bedroom is the picture that brought them together, of Mrs. Boose sitting on a donkey as a 6-year-old. She was showing it to her future husband when he first asked if he could kiss her.

They are compatible partly because their lives are similar in many ways. They were both married during the Depression; both of them suffered through the death of their first spouse about a decade ago. Mr. Boose remarried, and his second wife died in 1999.

The couple will celebrate their first anniversary Wednesday with a party for friends, family and residents of The Residence at Timber Pines.

They each have one child -- he a son, she a daughter -- that supported the couple's decision to marry at an advanced age.

"My husband and I are just really pleased. We just marvel at it, and are just so happy they found each other," said Mrs. Boose's daughter, Nancy Robbins, who lives in Sugarmill Woods in Citrus County. "They are just a very cute couple."

Mr. Boose said his son, Barry, who lives in Pennsylvania, "used to call me every day. Now I guess he figures she's taking care of me. I'm lucky if I hear from him once a week."

The main reason they get along so well, Mrs. Boose said, is that her new husband is a pleasant, caring man.

"We've been awful happy since we got married," she said.

-- Dan DeWitt can be reached at 754-6116. Send e-mail to dewitt@sptimes.com.

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