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Who said it wouldn't last? US couple to mark 81st wedding anniversary

Published on Nov 21, 2013 11:16 AM

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut (REUTERS) - John and Ann Betar eloped on Nov 25, 1932, fleeing their close-knit Syrian neighbourhood in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and driving as fast as they could to Harrison, New York, to avoid Ann's father's plans to marry her off to a man 20 years older.

Now, as their 81st wedding anniversary approaches on Monday, the couple, named on Valentine's Day by Worldwide Marriage Encounter as 2013's "longest married couple" in America, can only laugh as they look back on the commotion they caused.

"Everyone was hopping mad, and my wife's aunt consoled my father-in-law by telling him not to worry, the marriage won't last," chuckled John Betar, now 102 and still driving "though not quite as fast as the day we got married."

Ann Betar, 98, said she "had no choice but to elope because my father was set on me marrying a much older man, and I was 17. John was not the boy next door, but the boy across the street who I loved," she said.

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