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Marriage milestone
Couple celebrates 74 years together
3 Anniversary
Loy and Dot Rouse met in August 1939, a few days before campmeeting at Lumpkin Campground was set to begin. Five days later, the couple slipped off after the evening service to marry. On Saturday, they will celebrate 74 years of wedded bliss. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Dot Rouse was recently talking to a friend who asked how long she had been married.

"I said it'll be 74 years on Aug. 24, and she asked, ‘to the same man?'" said Rouse, recalling the conversation with a laugh.

Dot and Loy Rouse met in 1939, a few days before campmeeting at Lumpkin Campground. The couple married five days later, and will celebrate 74 years of wedded bliss on Saturday.

"We'll probably go out to eat or something, nothing too special," she said.

Few couples today can say they spent more than seven decades together. Even fewer can say those years were spent without arguments or disagreements.

Dot Rouse, 91, said "learning to hush" is the key to a successful marriage.

"I've noticed here lately if one of us gets a little miffed or something, we don't talk," she said. "So there's no fussing going on. That's the secret, I guess. We've never really had fusses."

An Atlanta girl visiting her grandmother for the week of church services at the historic campground, Dot Rouse was 17 when she slipped away after the evening service to marry her new beau, 18-year-old Loy Rouse, now 92, whose family had lived in Dawson County for generations.

"We met on a Saturday, so we had a date Saturday night, Sunday afternoon and night, Tuesday night and Wednesday night and then slipped off after the service was over with Thursday night and got married," Dot Rouse said.

"We just went in it headlong. He asked me to marry him, and we went straight up there ... he drove with the lights off part of the time."

Since that day, the couple has been apart for only a few months, in 1944 and '45 when he served during World War II in Germany.

Among the couple's most significant milestones were the births of their five children, and later the births of 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

Moving back to Loy Rouse's family land near downtown Dawsonville in 2000 was also an exciting life event for the couple.

"We just like it up here," he said.