Although Jim and Jane King went to high school together, they weren’t high school sweethearts. Jim was a senior at San Dieguito High School, now known as San Dieguito Academy, when Jane was only a freshman.
“I knew who he was because he was into sports, but he didn’t know who I was,” Jane said from the couple’s Solana Beach home.
“That’s not entirely right,” Jim said with a smile.
It wasn’t until several years later that the two started dating. Now, decades later, the Solana Beach couple will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary on April 29.
“I’d gone to La Paloma Theater with my brother,” Jane recalled the start of their romance. “He saw me siting there.”
Jim had been asked to participate in a play in Rancho Santa Fe alongside friends in the Rancho Santa Fe Village Strollers. Although it would be his first time on stage, he used his theater debut to get a date.
“I called her after seeing her and asked her if she would like to go to the play,” Jim remembered.
“So I tortured her for our first date,” he added as they both laughed. “It was a lot of fun.”
The couple’s first date in 1950 ended with dinner at a restaurant at the old Del Mar Airport adjacent to the Del Mar Racetrack.
It was a whirlwind romance. They married just six months later at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church on April 29, 1951. Jim was 24 and Jane was 21 years old. They held their reception at the old Del Mar Hotel.
“We got married when most people were getting married — in their 20s,” Jane said.
Jim graduated from high school in 1944, with Jane following three years later.
Jim had served in the U.S. Navy for two years. He later owned a Culligan water treatment franchise with his family for 40 years. He also served on the Santa Fe Water District board of directors for more than a decade and was a Solana Beach Elementary School trustee for 19 years.
Jane founded Adelaide’s Flowers in La Jolla with her brother in 1949. The shop, which was named after their mother, stayed in the family for more than 60 years. A stay-at-home mother, Jane also served on the children’s hospital auxiliary board.
Almost 40 years ago, the couple purchased a small resort called Rock Creek Lakes Resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Their son and daughter-in-law now own and manage the resort.
When asked for their secrets to a long and successful marriage, Jim somewhat jokingly said his wife “drops the little things.”
“Jane has the ability to pass over what could be disturbances, I think, more than anybody I’ve ever known,” he said with a laugh.
“Really?” she asked, also laughing.
“She can change subjects pretty easy,” he responded with a smile.
On a more serious note, Jim said he and his wife tell each other “I love you” and give each other a hug and a kiss before they go to sleep every night. The couple said their similar backgrounds and common interests have also contributed to a successful marriage.
“We were raised during the Great Depression,” said Jane, 86, whose parents met and married at Grand Canyon National Park. They relocated to Encinitas in the late 1920s. She had an older brother and sister, who have since passed away, and has a younger brother who lives in Encinitas.
“We did similar things,” added Jim, 89, whose parents came from Canada, moved to New York and then to California in the mid-1920s. He had an older brother and younger sister, who have both since passed away. “Our families went on camping trips and went to the beach. We had a lot of things in common.”
In 1965, the Kings bought the one-story Solana Beach home where they still live today. The first of their three children was 10 months old at the time.
A close friend from high school designed the house, which was built from the ground up for the couple. It expanded as their family grew, adding a bathroom, bedroom, game room and garage — where they store their three Model A Fords. Model A enthusiasts, they both belong to a club in San Marcos.
“I’ve never lived anywhere else,” Jane said about Solana Beach and Encinitas. “It’s perfect. We’re close to the beach. I don’t know of a place I’d rather live.”
With their 65th anniversary this week, Jim and Jane don’t have big plans, but intend to mark the milestone with their family. They enjoy spending time with their son, daughters and three grandchildren.
“If you marry the right one, it’s easy,” Jane said. “We did it right.”