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Nursing home sweethearts marry in Nahant

Jimmy Wishart and Priscilla Hathaway hold hands as Lou Angelakis, the officiant for the marriage, speaks. (Spenser R. Hasak)

NAHANT — Jimmy Wishart asked Priscilla Hathaway to marry him many times in the 46 years they have dated. At 74, she agreed.

“She finally said ‘yes,'” said Wishart. “The time was right and the place was right.”

The couple was married at the Jesmond Nursing Home Wednesday, where they live. They’ll share a room now that they’re married. Since they were going to move in together, they decided they might as well do it the legal way, said Wishart. 

Wishart, 63, and Hathaway are musicians who met at Danvers State Hospital in their 20s and 30s. 

“When I heard her play the piano in the hospital, I grabbed her,” said Wishart.  

Once Danvers State Hospital closed, they moved around to different hospitals, group homes and rooming houses. The couple spent nearly every day together over the next four decades — except for a short time when Hathaway was angry at Wishart for smoking. He has since kicked the habit. 

The pair connected over their love of music. Wishart is a guitarist who played gigs in Lynn and Saugus, including at the Lynn Commons. He keeps three guitars in his room at the nursing home. 

Hathaway is an artist with many mediums, including painting, writing poetry and creating sculptures. She surprised her groom with a handwritten poem at their ceremony. 

“James, let us sing as we unite as two,” she read.

The small ceremony was witnessed by friends and a few family members. Wishart’s brother-in-law, Lou Angelakis, officiated the ceremony. 

“It just amazes me that the two of you would go through this to have a little more time together,” said Angelakis. “If there’s anything to say about commitment or anything about what marriage does for you, this is it.”

 

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