Jim and Dorothy Karam planned to celebrate their 70th anniversary by renewing their vows and dancing at the Elks Lodge, but because of the pandemic, it was postponed.

For now. 

Jim first saw Dorothy from the stage where he was singing a romantic ballad at a Maharajan, a traditional Syrian-Lebanese gathering, in Phoenix in 1949.

He was 20. She was 18, and gorgeous. The hall was packed, but Jim serenaded only Dorothy.

He wouldn’t see her again until months later, at a New Year’s Eve party. They danced that night. 

But when Jim asked for her number, Dorothy told him to look it up in the phone book. “If you want it badly enough, you’ll get it,” she said.

He got it.

Jim ran his dad’s store in Superior, so on weekends, and sometimes Wednesdays if the business was slow, he made the 120-mile round-trip to see Dorothy.

They planned to marry on Oct. 4, 1950, but Jim’s draft notice ordered him to report that day for basic training.

They married Sept. 10 instead.

When Jim got out of the Army, they moved to Superior to run Karam’s Department Store.

They raised three children there.

Jim served as district administrator of Little League Baseball for 25 years, sat on the Pinal County Community College District board and served three terms on the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.

There was a dance hall in Superior, and they went often. Jim sang in Dorothy’s ear.

After 41 years, when the mine closed, the Karams closed the store and moved back to Phoenix in 1988.

Jim is 92 now. Dorothy is 89 and still gorgeous.

They have four grandchildren, one great grandchild and one on the way.

They are happy.

“We’ve had differences throughout the years like everyone else,” Dorothy said. But they always make up. They never go to bed angry.

In the evenings, they sit in matching recliners and watch the news and then something funny, usually reruns of “Green Acres” and “Hogan’s Heroes.”

“If it’s something funny, you kind of carry that laughter to bed,” Dorothy said.

Until the pandemic, they danced at the Elks Lodge every Wednesday and Friday. Jim serenades Dorothy still.

When it’s safe, they’ll renew their vows at the Elks Lodge, and they’ll dance.

Reach Karina Bland at karina.bland@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @KarinaBland.

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