When Jim Dukovic wants to get a double take from a new acquaintance, he’ll tell the tale of how he met his wife Jane.
“I tell them, I met her on the roof of my house,” he says with a chuckle.
Strange, but true, at least from a certain point of view.
Jim was a native of Pittsburgh and had come to see about a job in Baltimore, Jane’s hometown.
“There was a YMCA and every Thursday night, I’d go there and there’d be a dance,” Jane remembers. “Anyone could come, you didn’t have to pay, it was just for fun. In the summertime when it was too hot in the gym, we’d dance up on the roof.”
While it might have been party time for the Baltimore kids, young Jim was just looking for a good night’s rest, having rented a room at the Y after taking a 250-mile train ride. But when the music started blaring and his ceiling began to shake, he went to go investigate.
That was 68 years ago. Jim and Jane, both 91, are still together, now living at Spring Mill in Pennsylvania.
Moving to the retirement community was a slam dunk for the couple, as it’s barely a four-mile drive from the home they’d previously lived in since the 1950s.
The very day the couple got married, they moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania, what Jim calls “the most beautiful county in Pennsylvania.”
“I worked for the Boy Scouts of America for 35 years,” Jim says. “I organized units to raise money and generally made the whole program work.”
Jane taught math and science to seventh and eighth graders and later was one of the first teachers to introduce public school students to the world of computers.
Even the couple’s plans for a family went almost picture perfect.
“We wanted to have four children - the girls first and then the boys,” Jane says. “And that’s exactly what happened, we had two girls and then two boys. We’re a very close family, even now. One of our kids lives in California, and the other three are all in the general area. We see them at least once a month and we’ve got 10 grandchildren, although no great-grandchildren yet.”
Retirement was going fine and dandy until the day Jane fell and broke some bones in her pelvis.
“She obviously needed assistance,” Jim says.
“I moved in and I was here for six months in assisted living,” Jane adds. “Jim used to come see me three times day and everyone would say, ‘Why doesn’t he just move in here with you?’”
Jim eventually did, but only after he spent 44 days on his own in another hospital for reasons still not understood, although Jim believes Lyme Disease was to blame.
The couple has found Spring Mill to be the closest thing to home without actually being there.
“We’re in a great area, we’re very close to the hospital, to our doctors, and to our church,” Jane says. “The driver takes us shopping to the grocery store, the dollar store, and anywhere else we could want to go.”
“Everyone has a sister, an aunt, a mother living here,” Jim adds. “That’s the main thing, it’s close to everything and close to family. We’re close to Philadelphia, we’re not too far from New York City, basically we feel like we’re still in the world.”