It was the last dance of the night.
Bill Weinheumer asked Alberta — who was on a date with someone else — if she wanted to dance.
Despite her inclination to dance the last one with her date, she accepted.
“That was more than 70 years ago and we’ve been dancing ever since,” Bill said of his soulmate he married Feb. 26. 1949.
“Her mother hollered at her because she was at the German American Club dance with another fella and she said she would dance with me.”
The attraction didn’t stop that night.
“He asked me out every night,” Alberta said. “We were together every day except for one — for a whole year. My mother hollered at me. She said we would be bored with each other since we were together so often. I told her it was better to know that now than later.”
But, Bill wasn’t bored. He was in love. On the night Alberta graduated from nursing school, Bill twirled Alberta around and swept her off her feet. Then he got down on one knee and proposed to his 21-year-old girlfriend.
“He had a ring and I said yes,” Alberta said. “I didn’t expect it. We had gone out drinking on graduation night. We were dancing. It was a surprise.”
The couple married in Danbury, Connecticut. They danced.
“There was a group of doctors who started a band and they performed at different places,” she said. “The nursing alumni would go listen to them play and Bill and I would dance.”
And they danced some more.
“We dance all across the sea,” Bill said of the time the couple square danced overseas. “We felt like celebrities. We had so much fun seeing places we’ve never been and being able to dance together.”
The couple had two sons, William, who lives in Shelton, Connecticut, and Robert, who still lives in Danbry, and a daugther, Lorene, who passed away in 1998. The couple are also the proud grandparents of six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Alberta was a nurse at Danbury Hospital and a school nurse at Henry Abbott Tech School. Bill worked in the printing business for 28 years. After computerized typesetting came along, he retired. She retired. The pair moved here in 1920. And, at 92, he still works in the yard of their home in the Gardens of Gulf Cove, even in the summer months.
“We walk a mile or two a day,” said Alberta, 91. “We still dance.”
When they are not dancing, Bill sings with the Lemon Bay Chord Company. Alberta is a member of the Venetian Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines. The couple also loves to go on family cruises and traveled across the United States. They’ve danced in every state and on every cruise ship.
One of the reasons why Bill and Alberta stayed best friends for 71 years is because they don’t fight.
Bill jokes that his decade’s-long secret is really summed up in two words, “Yes, dear.”
“We never went to bed angry because we never really argued over anything big — not money, not over the kids,” Alberta said. “I’m not saying we never argued. But, we didn’t fight.”
“That’s right because if we did, she won anyway,” Bill chuckled. “We really do respect each other’s opinion.”
And, they keep dancing.
The couple even won a dance contest at a wedding. The DJ asked all couples up to the dance floor. Then he told those married five years to sit down. And then 10, 15, 20, 25 years and so on. Guests erupted in applause as Bill and Alberta were the only ones left on the dance floor.
Alberta received an anniversary card from a friend.
“She said she envied us because of the love we have shown for each other over the years,” Alberta said. “I cried. I was so very nice.”
The couple plans to spend their Feb. 26 wedding anniversary at — you guessed it — a dinner dance, like when they first met.
And, when they return home, Bill will do the same thing he has for 70 years. He will sing the Christmas song “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays” as he dances some more with Alberta.
“I sing her that song even in the summer,” he said. “Then I dance her to bed. We still have lots of fun. We are still very much in love.”
And, as far as that “fella” Alberta went to the dance with 71 years ago.
“He drifted into the sunset,” Bill joked. “After I saw her for the first time, I swept Alberta off her feet. I knew I would marry her one day.”