The following article, From Houseboy to Husband, was taken from the summer 2015 issue of the Washington State Magazine. To view the original article, click here.

His job was to light the candles. And set the tables. And serve the food twice a day.

In 1953, being a houseboy at a sorority was a plum post.

“I put myself through college for three years doing that,” Howard Copp, said. “That was back when tuition was $65 a semester.”

He could have worked there for four years. But Martha Putnam came along.

It was a fall day. Howard was in Alpha Gamma Delta, wearing the requisite waitstaff blazer and slacks, serving a meal to 60-some sorority women under the watchful eye of the cook when he saw Martha. He wanted to ask her on a date. He needed to ask her on a date.

“There was a rule that houseboys couldn’t date women in the sororities,” Martha said. “When he asked me out, the housemother said ‘You have to choose between dating an Alpha Gam and keeping your job here.’ ”

Howard quit.

Howard found a houseboy job at a different sorority and kept seeing Martha. They married two years later.

To read the original article and more from the Washington State Magazine, click here.

Mel Bailey says:

I love this story❣️I am an Alpha Gam and currently a House Director at WSU! One of the women here fell for our houseboy here but it didn’t work out for them. Your story and subsequent 59 year marriage is beautiful and uplifting! CONGRATULATIONS! And here’s to many more years together❣️

Susan Knight Jessop says:

I love this story. I too married our houseboy, although the houseboy duties and rules have changed a little since the times of this story. We are going on 10 years of being happily married. Thank you so much for sharing.

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