By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
WARM BEACH — For Damon and Q Tranter, it was love at first sight.
Well, it was for him, anyway.
A wounded Army captain in a California hospital at the end of World War II, Damon Tranter couldn’t take his eyes off the dietician on his ward.
“She was for me,” Tranter said, grinning.
With her black hair, fair skin and twinkling blue eyes, Q (a name she has used most of her life) was a stunner. She was smart, too — an Army lieutenant and graduate of dietary program at Johns Hopkins University.
“She brought me some soup. It had a little pebble in it. I knew she had nothing to do with it, but I teased her,” Damon Tranter said. “A few weeks later, I changed a light bulb for Q and ended falling on her and breaking her nose. That’s how it got started.”
Q Tranter rolled her eyes and smiled.
“He’s a keeper,” she said.
At a Valentine’s Day dinner at noon Tuesday in the Warm Beach Retirement Center, the crowd listened to the SwingBeat Jazz choir from Lakewood High School and the Tranters told their love story to Lakewood freshman Allison Osborne.
Allison, 15, and a dozen other members of Lakewood’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club interviewed the long-lived and long-married couples in attendance. The interviews are part of an inter-generational project started by their adviser, consumer science teacher Linda Steiner. This is the second year that Warm Beach residents and Lakewood students have had chances to interact at the school and at the retirement center.
“This has given students a great opportunity to use their social skills and hear about the lessons these couples have learned, the hardships they endured and their wisdom about aging,” Steiner said.
Allison learned that Damon, 90, and Q, 89, have been married 66 years. They take Valentine’s Day seriously. Dressed in a smart red vest and a turquoise bolo tie, Damon held the hand of his wife, who wore a red suit and heart-shaped earrings. In his wallet, he still carries a well-worn black-and-white photo of Q from the early days of their romance.
After the war, they married and he finished college at the University of Nevada. He went to work for Standard Oil while she continued her career as a dietician. The Tranters raised two kids, welcomed grandchildren, sold real estate in their early retirement years and now look forward to visits with their great-grandkids.
The reason they’ve been together so long is that they share their Christian faith, Q Tranter said. “We have the Lord in our lives and we’ve been blessed.”
It was obvious to Allison that humor and affection have a lot to do with it as well.
“It’s really great to hear the experiences and the keys to long-lasting relationships,” Allison said. “It’s nice to see how happy they are. I hope I can have as strong a marriage as the Tranters have.”
Damon Tranter said he has learned a lot from the inter-generational project, too.
“I used to be a prejudiced and old-fashioned guy,” he said. “But I have come to accept everybody as they are. Young people are so much better than I ever thought they were. We love these kids.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.