After nearly 72 years, Niles couple remain true valentines
By Elise Franco
A love song by the Everly Brothers, “Let It Be Me,” has defined a relationship that took a few short adolescent years to create — and more than seven decades to nurture and maintain.
Bill and Molly Gales, 92 and 91, of Shepherd of the Valley in Niles, met while they were in grade school during a time when Molly said Bill “didn’t pay any attention to me then, just his sports.”
“Eventually, when we were a bit older, his brother told him, “If you don’t go after Molly, then I will,’” she said.
Molly said that while attending Niles McKinley High School together, Bill began to court her. They would exchange notes in between classes and attend school sports events together.
Bill said though he wasn’t interested in her at first, something inside of him clicked at the threat that his brother might win her heart instead.
“We’re just so glad we’re together,” Bill said. “I don’t know how it would have been if we didn’t have each other.”
The couple, who married June 22, 1940, said their favorite pastime has always been dancing. In their younger years, Bill and Molly said they would go dancing every weekend, and they were the first ones on and the last ones off the floor.
Nowadays they stick to a simple slow dance each evening while Bill sings their favorite song, “Let It Be Me.”
“Every night we watch the news, and then Billy will sing and we dance,” she said.
The lyrics to their song are framed and hanging in their suite at Shepherd of the Valley.
Kristen Taylor, admissions and marketing director at the facility, said the pair are never apart.
“They’re happiest when they’re together, and you can tell,” she said. “They walk the halls holding hands.”
Taylor said that when the Galeses moved into the assisted-living facility in 2010, they were placed in rooms across the hall from each other — an arrangement that didn’t last long.
The couple eventually was moved to a larger suite where they live comfortably, Taylor said.
“They weren’t happy at all at first,” she said. “They would just sleep in one twin bed because they couldn’t stand to be apart through the night.”
And while many relationships fizzle over time, Bill and Molly’s has gotten only stronger.
“He’s such a wonderful husband,” she said. “There’s not another man in the world as good as he is.”
Bill, who has mild Alzheimer’s, said he can’t always remember every past detail, but he hasn’t forgotten anything about his wife.
“I’ve never lost sight of Molly,” he said. “It’s her good smile and how well she always treats me.”