Love is no respecter of age

Meeting at a single’s group 34 years ago, it wasn’t love at first sight for Clifford and Bonnie Drury, but two years after meeting, they tied the knot and have been each other’s valentine for 32 years.

PINETOP-LAKESIDE — It wasn’t love at first sight, nor was it like “When Harry Met Sally” for Clifford and Bonnie Drury who met at a single’s group at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California 34 years ago.

But, they did date for two years before Clifford asked the important question — albeit not in the traditional sense of a proposal — and now 32 years later, Clifford, 86, and Bonnie soon to be 80, will be married 32 years in May and are still each other’s valentine.

Clifford and Bonnie had both been married before. Each had four grown, married children when they met.

After dating for two years, Bonnie said that Clifford came over to her apartment one night and said, “Well, if we are going to get married, let’s get married.”

Clifford let Bonnie pick out her wedding ring, but first informed her that he did not buy diamonds. She chose a gold band.

“I worked five days a week,” said Bonnie, “so he went and got the corsage and the marriage license and the next Saturday we got married.”

They went to a wedding chapel in Corona, California, and didn’t tell anyone, not even their families. When they got back on Sunday night, because Bonnie had to be back at work on Monday, they called the kids, and her mother, with the big announcement.

“Some were speechless,” said Bonnie, “and my mother said she was not ready for me to get married again.”

When they called Cliff’s son Rick, who is the lead pastor at the Blue Ridge Christian Center in Lakeside, he told his dad to put Bonnie on the phone.

“When I said hello,” said Bonnie, “he said, ‘Why have I never heard about you?’ And I said I don’t know. Ask your dad.”

Clifford was an ironworker. He worked for the union and Bonnie worked as an office manager for several years for Home Base which is no longer in business, and then, before she retired, worked in medical billing. They lived in Las Vegas for 10 years, moved to Paradise, California, for 10 years — where Bonnie had grown up — and then moved to Apache Junction and lived there for 11 years.

Bonnie said that Cliff’s son Rick had been traveling back and forth to Apache Junction as often as he could to check on them. When the need became more frequent last year, it was decided that they needed to be closer to Lakeside. Rick found accommodations for them at Solterra Senior Living White Mountains and they moved into their new dwelling in November. They love it and the White Mountains, but due to COVID do not get to go out like they would like to.

Looking at the two of them, it certainly appears that love must keep you young.

What is their secret?

“Marriage is something you have to work at all the time no matter how long you have been married,” said Bonnie, and Clifford agreed.

“We just try to be considerate of each other and put the other one before yourself,” said Bonnie. “We have ups and downs, but we resolve them with a kiss. He’s a good man. I’ll keep him.”

Reach the reporter at bbruce@wmicentral.com

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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