HOPE, Maine — Perhaps it was fate that George and Marian Benson would get married and run a restaurant together.
George said he and Marian went out on one date when they lived in Maine more than 60 years ago but that she doesn’t recall that first date.
A few years later, both George and Marian were working at Wilson’s Diner in Waltham, Mass. George was a short-order cook and she was a waitress. George had moved to Waltham before Marian, who came later and lived with her sister.
George said he asked her out again and they began dating. The couple eventually got married on April 13, 1954, in Malden, Mass.
The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Sunday when friends and family gathered at the Rockport Masonic Center in Rockport to honor them. This time, the food was provided for them.
The Bensons are best known in the midcoast for operating Marian’s Place takeout restaurant for 30 years from the basement of their home at the intersection of Park and Main streets in Rockport. The restaurant operated during the summer. In the winter, George would work his other job as an oil burner repairman.
After they got married, the couple operated a diner of their own in Waltham and then a restaurant in Arlington, Mass. The couple were Maine natives — George from Frankfort and Marian from Appleton — and decided they wanted to raise their family back in Maine.
With their experience in restaurants, they decided to start Marian’s Place. Seafood and pizzas were their specialities. They both did the cooking but George said he left the pizza-making to his wife.
“I don’t know why but I could never make a good pizza,” he said.
George joked that the secret to their 60 years together both at home and at work was that he learned to say “yes dear” a lot.
Marian said George has been a good husband.
“I couldn’t have asked for anyone better,” she said.
The couple retired from their restaurant about 20-25 years ago and have since moved to Hope.
The Bensons have nine children, 17 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.