How We Met — Born to Be Together
What are the chances that two infants born within 17 hours of each other—and who shared the same hospital nursery—would end up sharing their lives? Meet Anne and Walter Beatty, born for each other.
Walter arrived first, but only because Anne says that his mom took a short cut by having a C-section. Not so, says Walter, who insists that he still would have been born first given that he had almost an entire day on Anne. If you note a little competitive spirit between the two, you’d be defining one of the underlying drivers in their relationship. Plain fact—both Anne and Walter are competitive in all arenas, which is one of the things that bind them even after 56 years of marriage.
Anne and Walter were born in Middleton, Ohio, home of the former steel giant Armco. The CEO of the company believed that tennis built leadership skills, and he funded youth playing opportunities and tournaments.
Walter, an only child, had a self-imposed drive to succeed and excelled in academics and sports. When a friend suggested he try tennis, Walter picked up a racquet and started to swing. Anne’s father instilled that same competitive spirit in his three daughters.
It was in the fourth grade that Anne and Walter began playing tennis together. By the sixth grade, the two were an item, but if Anne thought Walter would let her win the tennis ladder, she was wrong. “I just always wanted to do the best that I could at everything,” he explains.
Though Walter would not let Anne win, he found other ways to show he cared. “We were both crossing guards,” says Anne. “On his day off he used to buy me penny candies and bring them to me.”
From tennis to cotillions, Anne and Walter were a couple. By ninth grade—attracted by her wonderful smile and all they had in common—Walter knew he was in love.
Here is where one might say, and they lived happily ever after. But according to Walter, who still sees a little red when he talks about that period, Anne turned her sights to the guys with cars. “Getting my license became a thorn in my side,” says Walter. Anne just laughs it off saying: “In high school we dated other people.”
They went off to separate colleges, Anne to Miami of Ohio and Walter to DePauw, but it didn’t take long for Anne to transfer or for the two to marry in their junior year. Anne put career thoughts on hold to begin raising their two sons. Walter joined IBM and was transferred to the East Coast where the couple discovered Ridgefield. Throughout Walter’s 30-year career he commuted long distances just to keep the family here.
Eventually, Anne returned to school to earn multiple degrees from Yale Divinity School, WestConn, and Fairfield University, then went to work. Through it all, the couple continued to play tennis. While both still rack up the trophies locally, Walter has continued on the national circuit. In 2018 he won the senior over 75 New England Grass Court Championships in singles and doubles at the Newport Hall of Fame and was undefeated in the over 75 Atlantic Cup singles, which includes the states from Maine down to Virginia.
From cradle to court, this couple were clearly born for each other.