Island County Historical Museum visitors this month will be able to tour the Coupeville museum’s exhibits free of charge thanks to Harry Anderson — or, actually, his husband, Terry Bible.
“It’s his 75th and I wanted to do something special,” Bible said.
Anderson is currently a proofreader and columnist for the Whidbey News-Times. He moved to Whidbey Island about 10 years ago after a long career in journalism and corporate communication in the health care and film industries.
To celebrate Anderson’s milestone birthday, Bible wanted to do something that didn’t involve accumulating stuff and supported a place in the community they value highly and visit relatively frequently. The museum was the obvious choice.
“He loves history,” Bible said. “If he writes a book, it’ll be on history.”
The couple’s history started on Halloween in 1975 at a bar in Santa Monica, Calif. At the time, Anderson was working at the Los Angeles Times, where he had interned while earning a master’s degree at UCLA. He was a business writer and later became the deputy business editor for the metro daily newspaper.
Anderson had shown up to the bar pretty early that night, Bible recalled.
“Harry was pretty nerdy back then,” he added with a laugh.
Anderson was just leaving when Bible and his friends walked in. Anderson caught Bible’s eye.
“He was tall like I am,” Bible recalled. “He was wearing a white shirt and, in the bar, it was glowing.”
Bible bought him a drink and stayed at the bar, despite his friends being worried about the stranger he was with — after all, he could have been a murderer for all they knew.
Fortunately, Anderson turned out to be a gentle soul. The two celebrated their 44th anniversary this year on Halloween.
Before meeting, both men served in the Army during the Vietnam War. Bible was in the infantry and Anderson, who had studied journalism, was an information specialist for an infantry division. Bible said he didn’t get to read Anderson’s writing.
“We really didn’t see the paper much out in the rice paddies,” Bible said.
Anderson’s love and talent for writing was at the center of each of his careers. After leaving the LA Times, he was charged with corporate communications at Paramount Pictures. Later, he was senior vice president for corporate communications at Tenet Healthcare.
“I always call him ‘the spin doctor,’” Bible said.
After moving to Coupeville, Anderson, an avid reader of the local newspaper, started noticing typos in the News-Times. He called the publisher at the time and offered his proofreading services.
Since then, twice a week, Anderson comes into the office to carefully read the News-Times and South Whidbey Record, as well as various special sections produced by the newspaper group.
“It brings him joy to do that,” Bible said, “so it’s a win-win.”