Norma and Bob Clark, a couple joined in matrimony five decades ago, were going about their business one fine Northern California day. It was a day like any other — Norma was shaping a new big wave gun surfboard so she could wax major lip at Mavericks and Bob was rendering notable literary quotations — "...yes I said yes I will Yes" — in needlepoint. As I said, it was a fine day, but then Norma called down from her attic workshop to Bob and said, "Well, Bob, we're getting a little long in the tooth these days. What about our wills?" Bob answered, "By Golly, Norma, you're onto something!" and the couple set about planning for one another's suddenly imminent mortality. Over the course of their legal preparations, however, Norma and Bob learned something they hadn't known before — they were never actually issued a marriage license back in 1964, and were, therefore, never married.

This is not only the set-up for a romantic comedy that someone should immediately cast Dianne Wiest and Henry Winkler in, it's also a real thing that happened to a real couple named Norma and Bob Clark from Redlands, Calif. When they couldn't find their marriage license, Bob went to try and sort things out at the San Bernadino County Hall, where he learned that he and his darling Norma had never been issued a marriage license and were, therefore, not married. That might have presented a problem in a few more years, Bob told the Redlands Daily Facts, because "most of the people at our wedding are dead." This, ladies and gentlemen, is what growing old really means — watching your friends and family die.


Thankfully, the maid of honor and junior usher were in town for the holidays because Norma and Bob are good like that about keeping in touch with old friends, and a mini identity crisis was avoided. Three cheers for diligent bookkeeping!

48 years later, California couple learns marriage wasn't legal [NBC]

Redlands couple discover after 48 years their marriage was never legal [Redlands Daily Facts]

Image via pryzmat/Shutterstock.

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