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Four Friends And 122 Years Of

Marriage Between Them

Al Watson and Stan Taylor met as

 freshmen engineering students at

Brown University in Providence,

roomed together, worked

together in different parts of

the world and, 70 years later

, live as close as they did in


albeit with the diversions of

two special women.

Al met Priscilla Woodbury,

a nationally ranked table-tennis

competitor, while she was

playing in a tournament at

Brown in the spring of 1939.

 She transferred that fall to

Pembroke College, the women's

college affiliated with Brown,

but she didn't see Al.

"He was always too busy with

 his studies. I was too busy

 looking for rocks," says Priscilla,

who was a geology major.

"I was a little shy of girls," Al confides.

In his senior year, Al invited Priscilla to a dance, and before he graduated in 1942,

 they began dating. Al and

 Stan landed internships at Pratt

 & Whitney in Hartford between

 their junior and senior years

and roomed together at

Trinity College. When they

graduated, their military

service was waived so they

 could bring their engineering

 knowledge to work at Pratt

& Whitney, and they again roomed at Trinity.

With Priscilla's father off to

 war, her mother moved from

 Worcester, Mass., and rented

 an apartment in Hartford

so Priscilla could visit Al.

Sitting in Priscilla's mother's

yellow, convertible Packard,

 Al asked Priscilla to marry

 him. Priscilla finished her

degree a semester early and

 married Al, with Stan serving

 as best man, on March 22, 1943. Priscilla and Al remained in Hartford for the next

 eight years and had two children.

Stan, meanwhile, was living the

bachelor's life at various West

Coast locations, still working for

Pratt & Whitney and staying in

touch with Al when he visited

Hartford on business trips.

 In 1950, Stan was best man

 in a wedding in Washington state,

where he was living at the time.

 He was warned about the maid

 of honor: "Watch out for her.

 She can wrap any man around

her finger."

She was Shirley Hendrickson,

who'd been living in Paris and

traveling in Europe for two

 years. She came home because

 the bride, her best friend,

 begged her with the promise

of providing "the perfect man" for Shirley.

The bride and groom spent a

week before their wedding trying

to get Stan and Shirley together.

 At the rehearsal dinner, Stan

put a fake ice cube with a fly

in it in Shirley's glass. "She

didn't say anything about it,

" Stan says, which made him

 think she was a pretty agreeable person.

After the wedding, Stan and

 Shirley dated a few times.

Stan, a native of Providence,

 spent Thanksgiving and

Christmas with Shirley's

family in Washington. By

Valentine's Day, Stan says,

"I was determined I would

propose in the most romantic

 way I could." With a box of

 candy and flowers in hand,

 "We went out to a nice little

 spot, and I proposed."

It was late that night when

 she came home, but her mother

awoke and said, "... Tell me

all about it. You're glowing in the dark."

Stan and Shirley were wed

on July 9, 1951, shortly before

 Pratt & Whitney transferred

 Al to Bellevue, Wash., and

Stan and Al found themselves

 working together again.

The wives devised a plan to

 have the men commute to

work in one car so the wives

could have a car at home.

But they were only together

 about a year when Stan

 and Shirley were transferred

 to Connecticut. The couple

 traveled back to Washington

 every other year with their

four children.

Al and Priscilla moved

back to Connecticut in 1958

 and settled near Stan and

 Shirley in West Hartford.

 They attended the same

church, and Al, Stan and

Shirley sang in the Immanuel

 Congregation Church choir

 together. Al and Stan

 both traveled the world with

Pratt & Whitney, and their

wives went with them when possible.

"We stayed close always," Stan says of the couples' friendship. He and Shirley held an anniversary party to celebrate Al and Priscilla's 25 years together. In a month, Al and Priscilla will mark 65 years of marriage, and this summer it will be 57 years for

Shirley and Stan.

"These engineers are a

personality by themselves,

" Priscilla says. "The men had

to be at their business, and

we ladies had to fill in the

 extra hours," which Priscilla

and Shirley did with community

 volunteer work.

"We both have very strong wives,

" Stan says.

"You have to be adaptable,

" Shirley says.

"We both made a point of

becoming interested in what

each other was interested in," Stan says.

"We're tried and true. ...

We trust each other completely," Shirley says.

Five years ago Al and Priscilla

 moved to Dun caster Retirement

 Community in Bloomfield,

and last year Stan and Shirley

 moved across from them.

They eat meals together and

 give each other rides when

one of their cars is being

serviced — not much

different from undergraduate

 days for Stan and Al, only better.

 Now they have their own

"tried and true" valentines


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