It’s hard to believe that Ruby and George Glass are still living in the Mesa house they bought more than six decades ago. Perhaps harder to believe is that the spunky couple are both 89 years old, and have been married for 71 years.
High school sweethearts who hail from Paris, Texas — their city of love — Ruby and George tied the knot in a Methodist Church on November 15, 1942. They landed in Goleta in 1944 because George was stationed at the
Marine Corp base there. He was shipped off to Guam but returned to the South Coast after World War II ended on his birthday, August 14, 1945.
A few years later, the GI Bill got them their first house — the one they still live in today. Santa Barbara was quite bare when Ruby and George arrived; few houses dotted the Riviera, the UCSB campus was an Air Force base, and the population of Santa Barbara was just over 30,000.
A visit to their quaint home off of Cliff Drive proved the octogenarians are still as sharp as a tack. More than two-dozen photo albums — along with a decent collection of clowns and baseball caps — fill the family room. A map of the world covered with color-coded pushpins and thread trace their travels. Plaques from their volunteer work with Athletics Round Table and the Recreation Department cover the walls. But a gold trophy that they won at a dance competition is perhaps their most prized possession. “It wasn’t because we were the best,” Ruby conceded. “It was because we were the oldest on our feet.”
Modesty aside, Ruby and George have adventures to boast about. The pair spent 7,161 miles on a Honda CB1100, only stopping to pitch a tent along the way. And that was just one trip. “Ruby went through menopause on a motorcycle,” George said, and they both laughed. In addition to bike trips, the pair has been on 20 lengthy sea cruises and has walked on every continent except Antarctica. They got back from Cairo, Egypt, just a month before the city’s 2011 uprising.
But the glamorous — and not so glamorous — vacations came only after decades of good, old-fashioned hard work. They dedicated 20 years to a small grocery store (the Handy Food Market located on Milpas St.) that they owned while they raised their three boys, Tom, Rick, and Ron. After that, Ruby taught special education for 28 years at a handful of public schools in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. “My mother is just like the Energizer rabbit,” Tom, the oldest, said. “She just keeps on ticking and doesn’t slow down.”
Such verve is even clearer when you look at their work at Pine Mountain Club, where the Glasses built an entire two-bedroom cabin — from pouring the foundation and installing the septic tank — and took their grandkids once their boys had families of their own.
“If you see them, you will know that this is a couple that, after 71 years of marriage, there is still a spark there,” said Tom.