At 9:30 Friday morning, at Cock-A-Doodle Doughnuts in Port Angeles, Gladys Salley wed Andy Nilles. But what sets this wedding apart from your average, run-of-the-mill doughnut shop wedding is that Gladys is 90-years-old and Andy is 93. They met last year in their senior independent living apartments in Sequim.
“We started going to breakfast together to McDonald’s,” Gladys told me the night before her nuptials. “We walked to McDonald’s. I took my walker and he would use his cane.”
But as the couple began to fall in love, the walks to McDonald’s continued but something else changed.
“He didn’t use his cane and I left my walker. And we held hands and got along great.”
Gladys’ granddaughter, Jada Jack:
“They’re adorable together. Our roles have almost reversed because they act like teenagers. It’s been really funny and interesting all at the same time. They broke up once, he called me crying. I mean, I thought, you gotta be kidding me! They are extremely happy.”
Gladys lost her husband of 52 years in 1996 and Andy lost his second wife in 2002. She said she never expected to find love again, let alone be proposed to.
“On my birthday he gave me the sweetest card and then he asked me to marry him.”
Jada says her grandmother is a new person.
“She had really started to act her age. And Andy showed up and life turned around and now she is just a completely different person. She looks at him like I have never seen her look at anyone before. Which is really sweet. His veracity for life is contagious for everybody. She really started to kind of feel like she was getting too old to live. Andy’s proven to her that you’re never too old to live. And so now suddenly she is all about the living.”
The couple has taken a few road trips and Gladys says they like to take walks while Andy explains the history of the places they see. She says Andy is known for helping anyone who needs it. He crochets hats for babies and cancer patients, makes loaves of zucchini bread for friends and neighbors and drives his elderly neighbors to their doctor’s appointments.
“I love the fact that he feels that his calling is to help anyone who is in need,” Gladys says. “If you need to go somewhere, Andy’s handy!”
There was a time when Gladys had to help Andy, when he was in the hospital, and that’s when he knew she was the one.
“For three days I caught the bus and went down there and stayed with him all day,” says Gladys. “He thought that I was so loyal to him that he thought I was the one. I’ll tell you, I know it was a hard decision on his part because there were several women up here that would do anything to get close to Andy.”
The couple is spending the weekend in Leavenworth, honeymooning, and while they’re gone Jada will merge their apartments at the senior apartments.
“We’re going to take out her twin bed, put in his double bed,” Jada said.
And then Gladys and Andy will live happily ever after.
“I feel that I’m not afraid of the rest of life,” Gladys said. “I feel like I’ll have somebody close by that I can always reach over and touch their hand. It’s just so gratifying.”