The keys to 72 years of wedded bliss are:
A: Good genes.
B: Good luck.
C: Lots of love, patience and understanding.
In the case of Bill and Georgia Sanders, the answer is "all of the above."
The name may not be familiar, but it was Bill Sanders who came up with an idea that would change the face of education forever. He devised the ubiquitous Scan-Tron form that would turn the multiple-choice test into a staple of virtual every student's life.
And it was Georgia who helped him package stacks of the now-familiar forms in the Palos Verdes Peninsula home they've lived in since the late 1960s.
"We filled bag after bag after bag," she said.
Although 97-year-old Bill and 95-year-old Georgia have been married since 1940, she is quick to point out that they were not, in fact, childhood sweethearts.
"No we weren't," she said. "We went to USC, graduated and worked for a year before we got married."
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"He was talking to one of my sorority sisters," she recalled. "I jumped over a hedge in front of Tommy Trojan to see him. He asked me for a date later."
Both of them are from Southern California. She grew up in Riverside County, while Bill is from Glendale.
Although slowed by age, the couple still live at home. And while Bill needs help getting around and dozes off easily, Georgia can practically spin wheelies in her electric scooter.
"I guess we're just lucky or we have good genes," she said.
Bill was already successful in the business equipment trade when the idea for the Scan-Tron came to him.
The couple had four children, but there was a seven-year gap between the first two and the second two. That meant the parents couldn't get out much.
"He wanted to go places, but we had to stay home," Georgia said. "He kept looking into the icebox, but there was nothing there. Then an idea came to him that teachers could grade papers a whole lot faster."
And thus, the Scan-Tron was born. The idea caught on almost immediately, but not before some clever marketing ideas.
"Schools didn't have money and couldn't afford to get the machines," Georgia said. "He had the idea if they bought the paper, they could get the machine at no cost."
Being the developer of the Scan-Tron makes Bill something of a celebrity in the world of their 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
"I didn't tell a lot of people," said granddaughter Amber Martindale of Long Beach. "When I took the bubble test, I was like, `Yeah, my grandfather invented that."'
Martindale said that before his health began to slip last year, Bill doted on his wife.
"He used to joke around a lot," Martindale said. "He used to say, `I married your grandma for her money. She had a hundred bucks in the bank.' They are so adorable together. He always referred to her as his bride. He said he wouldn't have been able to do anything in life without grandma."
And the couple have now passed along a family tradition to a younger generation. A granddaughter got married on their anniversary last week.
"They're the ideal marriage," Martindale said. "It's how love should be."
If the Scan-Tron form is well known to students everywhere, so too is its partner, the No. 2 pencil.
But Georgia remained cryptic about why it couldn't be the No. 1 or No 3 pencil.
"No. 2 it had to be," she said.
But she was more forthcoming when offering advice to young people starting off their lives together.
"Learn to see each other's point of view," she said. "We've had some wonderful years together."