Special tweet goes viral: Vet sports tux, surprises wife in hospital for 57th anniversary

[sharenow]

One Georgia couple who usually keep their wedding anniversary “low-key” celebrated 57 years together in a memorable way, with James “Jim” Russell surprising his wife, Elinor, in the hospital by putting on a tuxedo and bringing her flowers and chocolate.

“My kids decided it would be great to do something special for my bride, so I went along with it,” Jim Russell told ABC News.

Although they went to Rome for one anniversary and to Hawaii for their 50th, Elinor Russell said the couple like to stay “close to home.”

“We’ve known each other all our lives,” Elinor Russell told ABC News. Though they grew up in neighboring towns, “we just never paid attention to each other for some time.”

“I’ve known her since she was in pigtails,” Jim Russell added.

A World War II combat bomber pilot, Jim Russell flew 30 missions over Germany in a B-24 Liberator. After the war, he went to Georgia Tech on the GI Bill.

The Russells rekindled their friendship and eloped on May 20, 1958, “on a dark, stormy day,” Elinor said.

The couple’s son, Bo Russell, said his parents joined a dance club and went ballroom dancing every weekend. The family wanted to make this year’s anniversary celebration special because of Elinor Russell’s hospital stay.

Photos posted by the couple’s granddaughter show Jim Russell in the tuxedo he wore ballroom dancing and carrying chocolate and a bouquet of flowers for his wife, Bo Russell told ABC. Their granddaughters helped Elinor Russell with her makeup.

The Russells watched their two favorite shows, “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune,” while dining together in the hospital room.

They “had a wonderful time sitting here and talking,” Elinor Russell said, adding that she loved the celebration because “being in a hospital bed, you get bored so when they came in, it made me smile like the younger days when we were dancing.”

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Frieda Powers

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