70 years of marriage, times two

Jean and Jack Watson, left, both 90, and Jim and Helen Watson, 90 and 88 respectively, say goodbye to two visitors from The Journal at the front door of their Sarnia home. The twin brothers and their sister brides are celebrating 70 years of marriage, which they’ve spent together happily living under the same roof. Glenn Ogilvie

Jean and Jack Watson, left, both 90, and Jim and Helen Watson, 90 and 88 respectively

Jim and Jack are 90-year-old twins who live together in Sarnia.

But the Watson brothers are only half of this remarkable story.

Jim and Jack got married to a pair of sisters, Helen and Jean Harkness, in a double wedding ceremony in 1944.

The couples honeymooned together in Niagara Falls, and then they moved into a house together. And they’ve been living happily ever after.

On June 7, Jim, Jack, Jean and Helen will attend an open house at Temple Baptist Church and celebrate their 70th wedding anniversaries the way they’ve always done things – together.

“People say, ‘How could you live with your sister?’ But we’ve never really been separated from each other,” said Helen, the ‘baby’ of the bunch at 88.

“We’ve always been happy living the way we live, so why would we change it?”

The brothers and sisters grew up as farm kids and attended different rural schools between Brigden and Mooretown. They met each other at church and became friends.

Jack and Jean did not have children. Jim and Helen had four: two sons and two daughters.

“Because they all lived together, for my husband and his brother and sisters, it was almost as if they had two sets of parents,” said Betty Watson, Jim and Helen’s daughter-in-law.

“It is a remarkable story. And anyone who has siblings will know just how remarkable it is.”

When The Journal visited the Watson quartet, each said they live under the same roof but have separate interests and hobbies.

“Everybody eats together and everybody pays the bills,” said Jim, who plays trumpet Wednesday nights in the Phoenix brass band.

Brother Jack is the designated grass-cutter, which he does on a riding mower.

“The family thinks we should sell and move into a (retirement) home,” he says with a wry smile. “But we haven’t conformed to that yet.”

 IF YOU GO:

WHAT: 70th wedding anniversary open house

WHO: For Jim, Jack, Jean and Helen Watson

WHERE: Temple Baptist Church

WHEN: Saturday, June 7, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

OTHER: No gifts. Best wishes only

– George Mathewson