She gets up first, at 8; he might snooze as late as 9:30.
He is the first to suggest bed, around 10:30 at night; she always wants to see the end of "Dynasty."
She is a restless sleeper, getting up three or four times; he never moves all night. This is why they sleep in separate bedrooms now, for the last nine years.
"I hate single beds," she says.
Usually they eat in the tiny kitchen of their snug red brick house just off MacArthur Boulevard, but all the same, in the dining room, at the small table facing the front window, stand two chairs side by side.
They had a fight once. "When I cut my hair. He worked nights and he came in and took one look and said, 'I'll cut all of it off.' Oh, he was mad. He said, 'Your hair is too beautiful to cut.' But everyone was cutting their hair off then. It was our only fight."
That was in 1923.
"I mean a real fight," she adds. "I don't count tiffs. That goes on every day."
Jules and Olivette Halluin have been married 70 years. He is 88; she has turned 89. They are having a big party today at the Ramada Inn on Wisconsin Avenue, with 50 friends and relatives from as far away as California. Their actual anniversary date is Feb. 12, which used to be Lincoln's Birthday.
Their only son, William ("we never called him William, just Billy"), died four years ago at 64 -- his widow Martha is helping to run the party -- but there are two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Jules' sister, Eva Rodgers, died just eight weeks ago in Cleveland. Olivette has a 78-year-old sister, their last surviving sibling.
They met in Du Bois, Pa., where she was born. She was the daughter of a baker named Hetrick. He was the son of a glassblower, an immigrant from Nice, France. Jules spoke French at home. His mother never did learn English.
"We were poor," he says, almost accusingly. "I mean poor."
His father worked maybe three months in the year, roamed through the hard-scrabble towns of western Pennsylvania with his family. Jules was born in Smithport. When he went to work for the Du Bois Courier as a makeup man he made about $10 a week, gave it all to his mother, who let him keep 25 cents for spending money.
There is something about marrying young. You hurl yourself into life, hell-for-leather, caution to the winds, serenely sure that you know what you are doing, yet unafraid of change, unafraid of the surrender that makes change possible. You quickly learn you were very right or very wrong. It's the ones who marry later who are apt to be tentative.
"My brother met him up to The Courier," says Olivette. "He says to me, 'Now you keep outta here, this nice fella's comin' over.' I thought, the hell with that, I'll just stand right here when he comes up those stairs and you'll have to introduce him to me."
So Jules came into the living room, and Olivette shook his hand.
"I thought, oh boy, a French guy. I always wanted to grow up and marry a Frenchman."
There were some dates. The Groundhog Dance at Punxsutawney, 18 miles away. Then Jules had to have his appendix out, a serious thing in 1917, and she visited him in the hospital.
He kissed her in the hallway there.
"Was I aggressive?" she says.
"I had to feel my way along, step by step," he says.
"I had a couple other guys on the string too, you know," she says.
He doesn't see her quick glance. "I asked her after about a year and a half, I think. You're goin' too far back for me."
They ran away, took the train to Cumberland, Md., to get married. Took a taxi to the courthouse for a license ("They spelled my name Olive and we had to say he was 21 when he was only 17") and then to a minister and then to the Queen City Hotel for a few days.
During the ceremony she felt self-conscious because her petticoat was too long -- it was the "something borrowed" -- and when she bunched it up under her dress it made her look pregnant. Which she wasn't. He had $15 left when they got back.
He hadn't told his family, and there was hell to pay because of the money. For a week or two he continued to take his paycheck to his mother, but finally his bride laid down the law. "You go over there with your check this week, you can stay there."
Billy was born 15 months later. His mother nursed him along with a prematurely born nephew who weighed only two pounds. The nephew, Donald Rafferty, lives in California now.
"It's a mistake to only have one child," Olivette Halluin muses. "You should have two or three. Billy had liver cancer. They thought it was his kidneys, but they gave him a CAT scan and they saw it was all in his liver and he had five months to live."
Jules speaks, his voice riding slightly over hers. Often they talk at the same time, placidly. "He was a cartographer with the Geodetic Survey. He retired at 55, he had the years in."
"The bottom fell out of our lives, to tell you the truth, it did, it did," she says. "Our beautiful beautiful boy."
Billy was a gifted musician, could play the piano, organ, saxophone, any instrument he picked up. He loved to work with wood, built three grandfather clocks and any number of cabinets and tables around the house.
"We still haven't got over it," says Jules Halluin.
They measure time by jobs and houses. Paychecks. For a while at the Du Bois Courier he was paid in scrip. Got a raise to $12.50 a week, union scale, rented an eight-room house for $20 a month.
For nine months he commuted to Pittsburgh, to the Gazette, and on Sept. 1, 1928, they moved to Washington, lived at the Stanley Arms, 12th and Massachusetts, paid $55 a month for one room.
He went to work for the Government Printing Office at $36.50, stayed until 1941, moved to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, then the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. When he retired in 1964 he was chief of printing for the secretary's office, a GS12 at $12,000. The same grade now pays $32,000, he observes.
"We couldn't have Billy on the street, he was only 8," she says, "so we bought a house on Benton Street. We were about the first people in Glover Park. It cost $9,500 and I see it now goes for $140,000, the same house with the same identical kitchen."
Billy went to Gordon Junior High and Western High, now Ellington. "Bus fare was 6 cents then, students were 3 cents. He played the violin in the orchestra. Learned the saxophone and played that in the American Legion band in Silver Spring. So gifted."
That house lasted 14 years. Then on to Brandywine Street, too noisy, and in 1944 the Halluins bought their present house on Nebraska Avenue for $8,900 cash.
They always pay cash. Except for the one 6 1/2 percent mortgage on the Benton Street house, they pay cash for everything. If they don't have the money, they don't buy it.
"I don't own a credit card," Jules says.
What it comes down to is trust. You have to be able to feel you can be your absolute worst self, the self you wouldn't even show your mother -- and trust utterly that you will still be loved. Of course, you can't do that every day.
She says she doesn't work. "I think I missed something by not going to work," she says. "I was a housekeeper, raising a child, every day the same old thing, wash, iron, cook, bake."
Made 15 dozen cookies last Christmas, she says. Her specialty is the 30-day cake, a sort of white fruitcake for which you leave fruit standing around in sugar solution so it picks up a little tang. "This morning already I made two big cakes and I'll make two more tomorrow. I give most of it away. I love to bake. It wasn't because my father was a baker, either."
"I taught her to bake," he says.
She gives him a look.
Then there is cleaning. Upstairs Thursday, downstairs Friday, every week without fail. She has him down on his hands and knees dusting the baseboards.
"That still don't satisfy her," he says.
She is a Virgo, which explains, she says, why she is such a perfectionist, will see dirt where he sees nothing. He is a Gemini.
She crochets. There are crocheted antimacassars on every chair and sofa in the house. Framed pictures on the wall in needlepoint. Magnificent crocheted cushions on the dining room chairs.
She plays the organ, right there in the living room, across from the small Steinway piano. She gave up singing, but there is always music in the house. She taught ukulele when they were first married.
Who wins the arguments?
"I'm the boss," she says.
"She's the boss," he says.
"He bawls me out more than I bawl him out, like close the door, turn out the light," she says.
"She remembers things better and her hearing is better, but she mumbles," he says.
"I do not mumble," she says.
Sometimes she touches his shoulder with her fingertips, speaking to him beside her on the sofa. He says he doesn't like to argue, just walks away, because "when you get mad you say things you shouldn't."
On the kitchen wall is a plaque that says, "The opinions expressed by the husband in this household are not necessarily those of the management."
He likes a scotch and water now and then, gave up smoking just two years ago. She never drank, never smoked.
"I give him good balanced meals, lots of vegetables. He never complains, he eats anything. My problem is candy. Sweets. Chocolate. Give me a pound of chocolates, I eat it right down."
They don't watch much TV. "The Young and the Restless." "Wheel of Fortune." She insists she can't work with all that racket going on.
She reads thrillers and "dirty books, like Jackie Collins." He doesn't read much except the National Enquirer and find-the-word puzzles. She likes a nap in the afternoon.
He has his garden, flowers in front, vegetables in back, supplying the whole neighborhood in summer with spinach, chard, radishes, onions, parsley, you name it, even garlic. She cans tomatoes. Thirty-six plants last year.
There won't be so many this year.
"This is the first year he didn't mow his grass," she says. "He's got angina."
"The man in back of us mows it now," he says. "I give him some swiss chard."
In the summer they like to sit on their tiny screened porch and watch the "waving neighbors." Their late-model Mercury stands in the drive. She no longer has a license because of her eyes.
"A couple of boys across the street keep an eye on us," she says. "If they don't see a light upstairs at night, they call us."
The boys are 55 and 52, she remarks.
The Halluins started taking vacations in Florida 50 years ago and gave it up only recently. He fished in the surf. She went shopping with friends or hunted for shells. There is a bushel of shells in their basement, and all through the house are little boxes and ornaments decorated with seashells and sprayed with gilt.
She also makes a lot of her own clothes, buying the fabric at Murphy's department store up on Wisconsin Avenue. "One time I made seven pairs of pants."
You know you were not put on this planet for the convenience of some other person. You are a sovereign soul. In a good marriage, you divide the chores. Yet when she fails to do her chore, you don't retaliate. You do it for her, just for the hell of it, just for nothing, just for pure love. And here is the Zen part: That is the way you maintain your sovereignty.
In those 70 years they have never been separated for more than about a week, except possibly once when she visited her sister in California and stayed two weeks because "I paid all that air fare."
What did he do?
She: "He got along."
He: "I didn't starve, I tell you that."
She: "Hoo! I wouldn't say he knows how to cook."
He: "See what I mean?"
Otherwise, the only thing that would separate them was the hospital. She had her gall bladder out recently, but he visited her daily. They can't recall that the subject of divorce has ever come up.
Once he had a chance to go to France, free, but he didn't want to go without her. He had an offer of a government job at a better grade, in California, but he didn't want to move.
Whenever he leaves the house he kisses her. Even if he's just going for a walk.
With all those crocheted things around, and the carpets (one says "Merry Christmas"), and the bric-a-brac everywhere, even on the piano, the house looks as warm and cozy as Mrs. Tiggywinkle's burrow in the forest. In the place of honor on the piano is an anniversary card from the Ronald Reagans.
The sofa is Olivette's base, surrounded by coffee table, magazine rack, the three tape recorders on which she dictates talking letters to friends, and Skippy's cage. Skippy is a parakeet who says, "Where's Jules?" every now and then. Jules is usually on the opposite side of the room in his deep chair by the TV.
They don't give each other presents. "We have all we want," he says, "and if I need something I go out and buy it." At Christmas they just wish each other a merry Christmas.
"And 'I love you.' That goes with it," he says.
When Billy was little, of course, Christmas was more of a thing. And later, when Billy and his wife Martha were both working, the older couple took care of their small grandson, Albert. Olivette taught him the ukulele and the piano. He's 48 now, lives in California.
Jules is a veteran Mason, was the youngest Grand Tiler in the country at age 37. The Halluins are active in Palisades Community Church, just down the street.
They call each other Honey.
You ask the long-married for their secret and they always have an answer, but it is always too simple to be much use, like Michelangelo saying, "I just chip away the stone I don't want." The thing is, if you must see life as a battle, a game, a race, anything that is won or lost, then you are never going to understand the first thing about marriage.
"It's give-and-take," he says. "Tell her to stay home and keep house. There's other things besides keeping up with the Joneses. We seldom go out to eat."
"He don't laugh much," she says. "I'm the crazy one."