By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
On Monday, Bronny and Ruth Ann Watson will celebrate their 70th birthdays.
What’s remarkable is that while this couple has been married for 50 years, they share more than the typical husband and wife.
They were both born at 10:45 p.m. Jan. 14, 1943, at the old P&S Hospital in Corsicana, and both were delivered by Dr. Leslie Kelton. The next time they would meet would be 18 years later at the Palace Theater on New Year’s Eve, the midnight show.
“We weren’t dating each other at first,” Ruth Ann explained. “We dated other friends and we always had a double-date or triple-date, there were five of us. The night of the triple date, one of the guys said ‘will you get me a date with this other girl?’ and I said ‘I’ll get you a date if you’ll get me a date with Bronny.’”
The boys sat in the balcony and the girls sat below, making Bronny’s distinctive striped socks visible to the girls below.
“He did have striped socks,” Ruth Ann said, adding: “But there was just something about him. There was just an attraction there, and the opportunity came up and I took it.”
Sure, their mutual birthdays came up in conversation, but it didn’t seem like they were the same age because Bronny was a year ahead in school. He was a student in Frost, where kids could start at the age of five. Ruth Ann was a “city girl,” living in Corsicana, who had her own car and everything. She was a grade behind Bronny.
“We didn’t find out about the hour and minute until we went for our marriage license and started looking at the birth certificates and thought something was wrong,” Bronny explained. “We asked our parents and they said ‘yeah, there was someone else born at the same time.’”
The family story goes that Ruth Ann got to be born in the delivery room while Bronny was born in a regular room. It was Ruth Ann’s mother’s first child, and she was a small woman, so she got special attention, Ruth Ann said.
When Doctor Kelton realized both patients were on a parallel course, he called for a second doctor, but that doctor didn’t arrive in time. Meanwhile, Kelton shuttled back and forth between rooms all evening. When the babies arrived so closely together, Kelton filled out their birth certificates with the exact same minute, hour, day, month and year.
Bronny’s parents, who just passed away last year, were Woodrow Wilson and Juanita Watson. Ruth Ann was born to John F. and Lea Ross. His people were farmers. Hers were school teachers. Her father taught at Corsicana High School, while Ruth Ann’s mother taught private art lessons and was an assistant teacher of art at the high school for many years. In the summertime, John and his brothers raised bees for honey.
For half a century, they’ve been together. They’ve lived in the same house for the last 46 years. Bronny is a retired Frito Lay salesman, Ruth Ann was a stay-at-home mom to their two sons, Matt and Mark. Now, with more time on their hands, they have freedom to do stained-glass, and attend weekly pickin’ and singin’ sessions out on the lake with friends.
“Bronny has dry humor, he’s a lot of fun to be with,” Ruth Ann said.
They both enjoy football, family, God and music. They like traveling, but their preference is to drive, which means they spend a lot of time in Texas.
“We love Texas,” Ruth Ann said. “You can almost see anything you want in Texas.”
Nor should anyone expect a big birthday party Monday, for either of them. In the coming weeks, they might slip to a cabin in the mountains for a little while, but it won’t be a formal party. They won’t tell their friends about the birthday, although, admittably, the newspaper article might be a tip-off.
“I can't think of anything worse than going into a restaurant and everybody coming out with waitresses clapping their hands and singing,” Bronny said.
When people do find out about the coincidence of their birthdays, they’re amazed, Bronny said.
“Everybody’s shocked,” Ruth Ann said.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at email@example.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org