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They started writing love notes to each other in high school, and now, 57 years of marriage later, they’re still doing so. Judie and Bob Knott, residents of GreenFields senior living community in Geneva, were sweethearts dating back to when they were students at St. Charles High School after having met at a Halloween party.
“He swept me off my feet,” Judie said. “From that time on, I never had a doubt. I always knew it was right.”
“She had me the first time I saw her, and she’s still got me now,” said Bob. “Since that day, I’ve always said that Judie’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
When they started dating, Judie was a sophomore, and Bob was a senior. “Bob played all of the sports, and I was on the drill team,” Judie said. “We went to prom and homecoming and all the events.”
Bob started his college career at Northern Illinois University but quickly determined he was too far away from his sweetheart. He transferred and finished up his degree at what was then Aurora College. When Judie graduated high school, Bob proposed to her and they were married a year later. “My Dad had to sign for me to get married because I wasn’t 21 yet,” Bob said.
June 8th is a date of considerable significance to the Knotts. “I graduated from high school, got engaged, graduated from college, and got married on June 8th. So, every year, it’s party, party party,” said Bob.
The couple shared their secrets for their long, devoted marriage. “We have a strong commitment to each other, and we share the same values. We listen to each other and appreciate each other, and we communicate,” said Judie. “People here at GreenFields often comment to us, ‘you two really like each other,’ because we’re always holding hands. Oh my goodness, we do really like each other.” She added, “And having a sense of humor is so important.”
Bob quipped that he learned early on, the importance of “those four little words…’ whatever you want dear!’”
In addition to writing and sharing love notes, the Knotts maintain a second loving tradition. They have a small glass red heart ornament that they hide in each other’s’ belongings to find at surprising times. “I’ll hide it in Judie’s sock or the toe of her shoe, she’s hidden it in my golf glove,” said Bob. The gesture reminds them of their devotion to each other.
“We’re truly blessed. We know we are,” said Judie.
Click here to read the story as it appears in Chicago Tribune Primetime