Five Star Senior Living's 3rd Annual Love Stories Contest

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Betty and Al Steck - Aspenwood
In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at the age of 16, Betty used to babysit Bertha Zurenda’s two children.  For safety reasons, Bertha would also ask Al, age 17, to babysit.  The rest is history.  Nine years later, they married each other at Holy Trinity Church in Swoyersville, near Wilkes-Barre, and spent their honeymoon at Niagara Falls.  They kept their love alive by attending dances at the Young Men’s Club, where Al was a member, and cruising to various Caribbean islands.  In between dances and vacations, Betty always found time to bake cakes for Al.  In fact, she still bakes for Al.  Betty belongs to the Baking Club at Aspenwood and continues to bake cookies, brownies and cakes for her Al.  Betty says, “He is devoted to me and we get along.”  “We have little arguments, but it doesn’t mean a thing; we get over it.”  Al says, “They had a good life.  They even survived the Susquehanna River Flood of June 1972.  We lost our possessions, but we still had each other.”

William and Anne Bossi - Aspenwood
Bill and Anne Bossi met in 1939 in Pennsylvania when they were still in High school.  They were introduced to each other at a dime dance in Windber by friends who were dating at the time.  Bill lived across the street from the dance hall and Anne lived on a farm in Stoystown. Bill paid a penny to send her a postcard asking if she would be at the dance the following weekend, this was their first date.  On April 18, 1942 Anne and William Bossi were married at Holy Child Catholic Church in Windber.  They have had a long and happy life together; it will be 73 years in April.  They have 7 children, 4 boys and 3 girls.  Bill says he “would do anything in the world for his wife” and that “she means more than anything else in the world” to him.  Anne says “he is my life blood and she would be lost without him” and that they did everything together.  Their kids say they bicker a lot but Bill says “they have always been considerate of each other even when they bicker”.  Anne and Bill both say they have a wonderful family filled with love.

Thomas and Athena Gikas- Aspenwood 

Tommy and Athena met at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Washington DC.  They were part of a church group for young adults; Tommy was 23 years old and Athena was 19 years old.  Athena refused to date Tommy at first she said “she didn't like him, he threatened to marry her”.  Athena lived in DC since she was nine months old, and Tommy was from California originally but going to school at Georgetown University in DC.  Tommy shared a house with a few other students while attending Georgetown University.   Athena’s sister wanted to go on a date with one of Tommy’s roommates and begged Athena to go on a double date so that their parents would let them stay out later.  To Athena’s surprise she really enjoyed herself and continued to go on more dates with Tommy.  They were married 4 years later in Paris, France in 1949.  They have two children together, one boy and one girl.  Athena says they keep their love alive “by fighting all the time” and he says “by kissing all the time”.  Tommy says that he still really loves his wife and she says that he is somebody she wants around to comfort, love, and support her.  

Gilbert and Anne Cole - Aspenwood
Gilbert and Anne have been married just 13 years.  He went to the Knights of Columbus in Silver Spring one evening and Anne’s son, Mark, was tending bar.  Gil was talking to him and during that conversation Mark suggested that Gil call his mom.  Gil and Anne knew of each other through church.  They were both assisting a Mass at St. John the Evangelist.  Anne jokingly told Gil to call her after Mass and he did.  Anne says the most important thing in keeping love alive in a marriage is “being able to talk to one another and have discussions instead of arguments”.  Anne loves Gil because “he is a good guy” and they did a lot of traveling together, U.S. and foreign.  The first place he took her was Poland, which meant so much to her because both her parents were from Poland and she had never been.  Gil loves Anne because she takes good care of him and jokingly he said he “needs all the help he can get”.  

Gerard and Gwendolyn Roy ​- Aspenwood 
Gerry and Gwen met in Oxford, England.  Gwen who resided in England since the age of two met Gerry at a dance on a military base when he was stationed in England during the Korean War.  She was 19 years old and he was 21 years old.  Gerry, however, was engaged to be married to another girl back home, but Gwen captured his heart.  Both Gerry and Gwen love to dance and they danced their way to the altar in Oxford in 1951.  They spent their honeymoon in Ilfracombe, on the coast of England.  They have been married 63 years.  They’ve done a lot together.  Their favorite memory is the one of building their cottage together from the ground up on Aziscoos Lake in Maine.  It took Gerry and Gwen 26 years to complete their cottage, which was only accessible by boat and snowmobile. Their marriage has lasted over six decades because they love each other and are devoted to one another. 

​Bill and Sally Rogers - Barrington Terrace 
Bill and Sally Rogers have been married for 64 years.  Bill and Sally met on a double date.  Sally was with Bill’s best friend, Teddy.  Unfortunately for Teddy, Bill and Sally felt attracted to each other.  Bill was attending photography school under the GI Bill.  He called Sally and asked her to model for him.  They got engaged in April and married in December.  
They bought a home together in Long Island and raised 2 children.  Bill got a job with Bulova but continued taking pictures at weddings on the weekends with Sally as his assistant.  They decided right from the start to share everything 50/50…well sometimes it was 60/40 and at others, 40/60 but it all worked out in the end.
Bill worked in real estate and then the department store, Klein’s.  When Klein’s closed down, Sally and Bill went to visit Sally’s sister in West Palm Beach.  Sitting on Lantana Beach enjoying the waves, the sand and the palm trees, they decided to move to Florida.  Bill got a job in retail and Sally became assistant to the book editor at the National Enquirer. 
In 2012, Bill and Sally moved in to Barrington Terrace.  Bill says it’s the best decision they ever made.  Bill sings karaoke for his fellow residents at Barrington Terrace at least twice a week.  He loves performing music.
 When asked why he didn’t pursue a career in show business, Bill simply states “I wouldn’t have met Sally. She means everything to me.”

Bette and Bud Lukens - Brandon Woods at Alvamar 

I really think I’m one of the luckiest people in the world! I met Bud when I was 16! I thought in my young mind he was the most darling man I’d ever seen. He was handsome, so gentle and had a wonderful sense of humor. Quite a combination!
On December 7, 1941 he was working at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California. He wrote my parents asking if they’d consent to my going to California and get married. They consented and I left the University of Kansas where I was a sophomore and we were married January 9, 1942.
He spent 1 year in Manila, but came home from the war safe!
I’m now 93 and Bud died three years ago. I have wonderful memories of 67 years of our marriage which was filled with love!

Helen & Hobson Crockett - Brandon Woods at Alvamar 

Hobson Crockett and I, Helen Cheairs, met in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1942.  Hobson and my brother Tommy were in primary pilot training for the Army Air Force.  My parents along with my two younger sisters, my brother’s girlfriend (Peggy) and I drove from our home in Memphis to visit my brother Tommy. My brother and Peggy where wonderful dancers, so Tommy had arranged a date for me with Hob, so that we might all go dancing after dinner.  Tall, dark, and handsome, Hob turned out to be just the guy for me, rather quiet but witty, pleasant, and an interesting dancer with a tricky 3-step. We held hands when Hob and my brother came to say goodbye the next day and we promised to write each other. Indeed, we did correspond! At Christmas, Hob came with my brother to Memphis and proposed to me. Proposal accepted, we married in April of 1943! I was 19 and he had just turned 22. We have been lucky in so many ways and on April 10th 2015 we shall celebrate our 72nd anniversary. 

Jane & Jack Jewell - Brandon Woods at Alvamar 

Shortly before the bombing at Pearl Harbor, my boss’s daughter told me the USO wanted young ladies to attend a dance at the Adolphus Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas for service men. The dance was chaperoned and we couldn’t meet the soldiers downstairs after the dance began. I went to the dance and met a handsome young soldier named Jack Jewell from Camp Walters.
Later at work my girlfriend was in the mailroom and saw a letter to Jean Parker from a soldier at Camp Walters. She said that’s probably for Jane (Palmer) who recently met a soldier from Camp Walters. She was right! They gave me the letter and Jack Jewell visited me a few times in Fort Worth and later in New York City after I joined the WAC’s.  Jack was in the infantry in Europe and was in the Battle of the Bulge. I was a switchboard operator in a headquarters group in Algiers and Naples until the war ended.  Many messages passed between us during the war.
When we both returned to the U.S., Jack visited relatives in Fort Worth and we went to the same hotel and danced where we first met. I visited Jack in Kansas City and Wellsville, KS, his hometown and met his family. We decided to get married in Dallas Texas on May 25, 1946. he “Love Story,” which nearly didn’t begin ended after 6 wonderful children and 62 eventful years of marriage (when Jack passed away.) 

Doris & Art Schumann - Brandon Woods at Alvamar 

In 1946 we met at 4-H Camp.  Art was 19 and headed for college. I was 15 and would be a junior in High School. I was too young to date so he came to my house and sat in the living room with my family on Sundays for a year before we could go out. We married on December 4, 1949 and moved to our farm home where we lived for the next 12 years. We had four children by this time and Art had developed some health problems. He took a huge step attending a business college and became an accountant. He eventually became the Chief Fiscal Officer over all of the hospitals maintained by the state. We added two little girls to our family later. My years were spent with lots of children’s activities and lots of music. The children all turned out well in spite of the dumb things we did raising them.
It is 2015 and our love story continues. Art, as I lie here beside you, life has changed and I long to go back to the days when life was perfect. And then in the moment before you slip into sleep, you reach and take my hand in yours so lovingly. I realize that things were not as perfect as I remembered and that this precious time with you is God's blessing to me.  This is what absolute love truly is, and I whisper in my heart to you, sleep happy dear one.
                                                                        Doris & Art Schumann 

Kathleen & John Dvorske - Brandon Woods at Alvamar 

Each love story is as individual as the two people living it.  Ours began on a Sunday afternoon at our college. We were welcoming prospective students and parents when we met. I thought, “No more looking for Mr. Right.” He thought, “No more looking for the right girl for me.” How right we were!!  We had found each other!  Our first ‘real date’ was to a concert at McCormick Place in Chicago. Afterward we had dinner at the 50th on the Lake Restaurant and Hotel. Little did we know then that we would return to the hotel on our wedding night.
One of the most romantic love songs began our love story. Some of you may remember, “My One and Only Love.”  My love is a guitarist; He always plays it for me. So the romance continues for fifty plus years.
            Marriages like boats sail the seas of life. There are beautiful, sunny days with cooling breeze and dark, stormy, wind whipped days tossing you about helpless hanging on with all your might. And then the ordinary days which make up the thread which holds everything together create a life of love. Our life together is like a woven tape masterpiece.
                                            John & Kathleen Dvorske

Evie & George Vorovka - Brandon Woods at Alvamar 

George Vorovka arrived at the grain elevator in Hemingford, Nebraska with the intent to retrieve his Dad’s grain check. Little did he know the bookkeeper would be his future bride! 
He was shy but thought of many excuses to return to the elevator. He finally got up his nerve to ask Evie for a date. They held hands!
George received his acceptance to the Naval Flight Training Program in Pensacola, Florida. It was his dream come true to serve his country.  After he earned his Navy Wings, he was permitted to get married and he didn’t let any grass grow! On his 10 day leave, they planned, had their wedding, packed for the navel base, bid farewell to parents and friends in western Nebraska, and with the top of their wedding cake in hand boarded a crowded train to Pensacola.
One year later, the war ended and they returned to Nebraska to farm and to be near their parents. Nine years later they were blessed with a son, David and fifteen months after that, a daughter, Cheri. After farming for 20 years, they relocated to Alliance, Nebraska where they were AAA travel and insurance agents. They feel fortunate that they had the opportunity to be travel guides, both domestic and internationally. Upon retiring they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska where they enjoyed their children and two grandsons Tony and Tim.
Now at Brandon Woods, they will celebrate 70 years of marriage on June 29th and they are still holding hands!

Ron and Arlene Mueller - Calusa Harbor
Ron and Arlene Mueller married March 26, 1949 at Jerusalem Lutheran Church in their hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She wore a lovely dusty pink suit, he a handsome blue suit. They walked down the aisle to “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus’, a song that, conincidently, was chosen by a daughter many years later  to walk down the aisle to also!
Richie Mueller talked older brother, Ronnie, into meeting his girlfriend’s friend at the ever popular skating rink. Ronnie was nervous asking Arlene for their first waltz at the rink, even though he was good at dancing on skates!
Both were not particularly impressed at their first meeting, however,they continued to see each other and the relationship grew and grew. Arlene often went to Ron’s baseball games ( four different leagues each week!)and to the skating rink they both enjoyed. Eventually, one Saturday night , Ron was insistent that they stay up late listening to the radio, even though Arlene was resistant due to a family event the next day. The radio show, Music Til Past Midnight, was on. Right around midnight the announcer said   “right now Ron is putting an engagement ring on Arlene’s finger!’ and played the beautiful song ‘Because’ for them.
Sixty-seven years later, with three children, six grands, eight greats and a sweet little dog named Toby, they continue to enjoy each other at Calusa Harbour.

Charlene and Elmer Jansen - Calusa Habor 

Couple: Charlene and Elmer Jansen
Married: 72 Years
Anniversary: June 1, 1942
Met when Charlene was a senior in high school. 
Elmer tells Charlene that he loves her.
May of 1942 asked Charlene to marry him. It was yes!
Elmer enlists and becomes a soldier.
Elmer gave Charlene a ring on Mother’s Day-1941.
Elmer sent to training camp in Blanding, Florida.  For 13 months, Elmer would drive home on the weekends to visit her.
Married on June 1, 1942 and they are stationed at Camp Beauregard, Alexandria, Louisiana.
Five months later, Elmer is shipped overseas. 
They were separated for 33 months.
Charlene stayed with her mother.
She worked at the US Censorship Department and then got a job with Pan American Airways as a secretary.
Saved money with the goal of someday building a home with Elmer. 
They communicated by letters.
Elmer becomes a guard for General Patton… what a privilege! 
In 1945, Elmer comes home and they start their life together.
They lived in a North Miami behind Elmer’s parents.   
Elmer gets job working for the Florida Power and Light Company. 
Real passion.. to become a firefighter.  Next 27 years Elmer devotes to the Miami Fire Department.
They have 8 children.  14 Grandchildren, 13 Great Grandchildren.
After retirement Elmer becomes a minister both volunteering for 20 years in the Florida Jails.
What is their secret… Never go to bed mad; never let the sun go down with anger!  Most importantly thought, they always made Jesus first in their lives, prayed and went to church as a family.

Arlene and Tom Batastini - Calusa Harbor 

Arlene Batastini and Tom met in senior year of high school in 1952. Tom had asked Arlene to help him learn to dance so he could impress a very popular girl in school. He wanted to ask her to the prom. Arlene would meet with him after school and according to her he couldn't even move his feet! Well, during one of their dance lessons, he grabbed her and kissed her!
But he still went to the prom with the most popular girl in school. He ended up having a horrible time and couldn't wait to get back to Arlene! They have been married for 61 years and 3 kids later they still love to dance!

Clara and Wesley - Cherry Hill 

Clara is one of 12 children, 7 girls and 5 boys. They lived in Haddon Heights, N.J. where the girls shared the top floor and the boys shared the second floor.
Wesley is 1of 7 children, 6 of the children are twins! Wesley being one of the 6. When Wesley was born his twin weighed in at 6 lbs and Wesley was 3 lbs. They kept Wesley bundled up in a cigar box behind the cook stove. During their childhood the brothers had a pony and wagon and delivered newspapers before going to school.
Clara met Wesley when her sister married his brother. They began dating, Wesley proposed to Clara and soon after was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1942.

Clara remembers being at work in the movie theatre when they announced the war was over and everyone running out of the theater and into the streets cheering.
Wesley came home from the war on December 3rd, and they were married December 15th. Wesley said it took three months of paychecks to pay for the ring, but Clara was worth it!
Clara and Wesley bought a home in Cherry Hill N.J. where they raised their 4 daughters and adopted son. Wesley worked as a machinist for Langston’s and Clara ran a daycare out of their home for 30 years. They have 9 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren and so far there is only one set of twins.

Sally and Harvey Slaughter - Clearwater Commons 

Blue Shirt
By Sally Slaughter
It was the Riverside Skating Rink. I saw a tall, good-looking guy in a blue shirt: he saw a tall brunette in a pink angora sweater… we waltzed as the organ placed “Mexicali Rose” and two-stepped to “Elmer’s Tune”… With my girlfriends, I called him “Blue Shirt” until I learned his name.
We dated for two years and married on his birthday, May 18, 1941. As he always aid, “I never forget an anniversary.” And I never forgot his birthday.

We were perfect foils for each other – he, gregarious and comfortable talking and joking with anyone and everyone, any time, any place – and I, the quiet, shy one.

He was eternally cheerful and had the optimism of the well-adjusted. He was a notoriously hard worker, but also fun to be with. His bad jokes and puns were part of his makeup. He always figured a groaner was better than no gaga at all.
He thought fairies or elves appeared and washed the dinner dishes.
He told me how to drive.
Blue shirt – what a guy!
This portion of a story written by Clearwater Commons resident Sally Slaughter about her husband Harvey T. Slaughter in March 1989 for his funeral service. 

Betty and Malzahn - College View Manor 


            Betty and I were in the same sophomore class in high school.  One day, we met in the hall between classes.  We knew each other’s names but not much more.  She wore a bracelet ringed with little silver charms.  I wore a loosely knit sweater.  Somehow, while we talked, the charms on her bracelet got tangled in the sleeve of my sweater.  By the time those charms were untangled from my sweater, her personal charms had found a permanent home in my heart.  We have been married sixty-one years.  The bracelet and little charms have tarnished and been packed away for years but for me, Betty’s personal charms have grown brighter and more dear each year.

Maddy and John Hobs - Coral Oaks 

The couple met at the South Shore Air Base in 1942 at a dance while John was in the Navy as a Flight Engineer. He had his mind made up to meet a girl that night so he volunteered in the coat room. When he first saw Madeline (a.k.a. “Maddy”), he said “It was her beautiful brown eyes that caught my attention.”  That night, he decided she was a good dancer as she had an ear for music having played several instruments (i.e., piano, saxophone & clarinet).
Their first official date was a home cooked meal at Maddy’s house. She said, “John liked her mother’s cooking so well that it had nothing to do with me why he asked me out on another date.”
John proposed on 11/11/43 and married on 8/26/44. Maddy sold her saxophone to pay for her dress and John’s friends always teased him that “She sold her sax for sex.” During the time John was an engineer for the navy, he flew blimps for patrol, he said he’d fly the blimp over low and call out “Maddy, I’ll be home in an hour!”
After serving our country for 10 years, the couple owned Hobbs Studio, a portrait & commercial photograph business for 23 years. They also taught classes at a couple of professional photography schools for 15 years.
The couple moved to Coral Oaks in 9/12. They’ll be married 71 years this year and their favorite pastime is bantering together!

Tom and Sheron Fortenbery 
- Covington Commons 
You can’t help but smile when you see Tom and Sheron Fortenbery--they still act like newlyweds after all these years. It’s the way her eyes sparkle when she looks at him, and the way he squeezes her hand. And when you talk to them, you soon learn they have known each other since she was nine and he was ten years old. Both say that after their first high school date, they knew they had found “the one.” Tom, grinning, says they had their first date on November 13th and got married on November 14th. (He purposely leaves out that it was four years later.)
After a few moves, they built a home in Parke County, Indiana. There, on 107 acres of woods, they raised three children. When Sheron’s love of crafts developed into a booth at the Covered Bridge Festival, Tom joined right in….for twenty-one years! After retiring, Tom took up woodturning, and Sheron attended every meeting and symposium with him. They bought a Model A, just like the one they had their first date in, and toured the country. They started a Christmas tree farm, where visits became  annual traditions for families who came for trees,  Sheron’s cocoa, and to hear Tom’s stories.
When a stroke necessitated a move, Covington Commons became their new home. A pillow on their couch says, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” They celebrated their 63rd anniversary in November with their family and many friends.

Larry and Barbi - Premier Residences of Dallas

The Bachelor & the Cowgirl
I had just completed a technical writing assignment and was schmoozing on a writers’ blog looking for job leads. I stumbled on an entry by a romance novelist who was struggling – her publisher, Harlequin Romances, had told her that the story she had submitted had too many main characters and said she needed to “kill off” one or two.
“I’ve never had to kill anybody,” Barbara Jennison, shared.
I had been a crime reporter at New York daily and an editor at Dallas Times Herald.
“I’m your guy,” I typed, even though I’d never written a word of fiction (unless you count advertising).
We exchanged emails for a while discussing writing styles and such and agreed to try to write together. After a quick trip to meet in San Angelo, she agreed to travel to Addison.
We wrote feverishly and burned up the highway between the two cities for nearly a year.  It didn’t appear on the surface that we had much at all in common. She’s a romantic and I’m a pragmatist; She’s country and I’m as city as it gets. But we shared similar values, humor, and goals. Eventually, the folks we’d been dating on and off fell by the wayside and we found ourselves together even when we weren’t writing.
The collaboration worked and within a year, we had a novel. And we had fallen in love. We were married by my best friend.
Oh yeah, our honeymoon was a book tour! 

Richard and Linkie -  Premier Residences of Dallas
Richard and Linkie were members of the same country club and they would often play tennis together. One day Richard called Linkie and asked her to dinner. She obliged and he picked her up like a true gentleman and took her to Pappadeaux’s.  When they arrived there was a long wait but they had such great conversation that the time just flew by. They were seated and enjoyed more conversation over dinner.  When the bill came the waiter told them that it had been taken care of by another couple and then the waiter gestured to the young couple sitting across the room. Richard and Linkie both asked the other if they knew them, neither did. They walked over to thank them and figure out who they were. The young couple told them they were in awe of their connection and hoped to still have the same spark after many years together. The couple thought that they had been married for 100 years, and it was only their first date! 

Annie and Tildon Chavers - Eastside Gardens 

Annie met her husband, Tildon, in high school band class. She fell in love with his smile. They dated for a couple years in high school and fell in love. Tildon joined the Marines after they graduated and they wrote letters to each other.  While Tildon was away at the war, Annie met a sailor, Lucky, whom she ended up falling in love with too. Lucky proposed to Annie and she accepted.  Tildon got upset but she ended up accepting Lucky’s proposal.  When Annie saw Tildon again she realized she still loved him and couldn’t live without him so she broke off the engagement to Lucky. She called Tildon on the phone and he asked if she would marry him.  She told him he’d have to ask her Dad. When Tildon came home she met him at the bus stop. He told her he loved her and gave her a beautiful engagement ring. They got married in 1944 at Annie’s parent’s home. They honeymooned in Pensacola, FL. He then was shipped off to Okinawa for a year. When he returned home, Tildon’s Dad asked him to move in with them and take over the dairy farm for it was too much for him to handle.  Annie was pregnant and wanted their own space so they moved into a little house by the farm.  Tildon was diagnosed with dementia 10 years before he passed away. Annie and Tildon were married for 64 years.  

Don and Eleanor Smith - Forest Creek Commons 
In 1947, Don Smith returned home from World War II after serving on the battlefields of Europe.  Upon his return, a dance was planned to start up a new organization called the Rural Youth in Versailles, Indiana.  Don and Eleanor did not meet until the last song of the evening.  Don recalls thinking that he wanted to know that girl as Eleanor approached Don to ask him why he was sitting in the bleachers alone.  Don made a date with Eleanor for the following week, and they went to a movie their first date after Don drove the 40 miles to the next town where Eleanor lived.  All of Don’s family and friends drove the 40 miles for the wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Eleanor and Don were married for 65 years and had two children, Lisa and Brent.  They also have 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.  Don says he loved Eleanor because she was a beautiful lady, inside and out.  Don says that his most memorable experiences still centered around the Rural Youth meetings and dances, as they continued their involvement in that organization.  Don lost Eleanor in 2014. It was very evident that she was the love of Don’s life, and he took the loss very hard; but his eyes twinkle and he laughs softly when he recalls their life together and the beautiful lady who talked to him first at that the Rural Youth dance in 1947.

Nell and James Henry - The Forum at Lincoln Heights 

This is a Love Story about Nell and James Henry, with many similarities in our lives from day on.
We were both born at home on the same day and year, March 10, 1931, and we attended a small school in Nixon Texas where 31 of us graduated in May 1948.
Fate sent us on separate paths. Nell married, had three children and lived in Nixon. James married, had three children and lived in many places.
After our spouses passed, fate again intervened.
In 2005 James moved to Rockport, TX on the Gulf Coast. Nell was living at The Forum in San Antonio, where she had moved in 2004. She and friends from there made trips to Port Aransas where on of them had a beautiful place on the Canal opening in the Gulf of Mexico. They invited James to join them for card games and dinner, and he also hosted them at his home. During those gatherings the love light was kindled, and James began making trips to San Antonio to see Nell.
We were married at the age of 82 on October 5, 2013 in the forum garden. Most resident of The Forum attended, as did numerous childhood friends. About 150 people were at the wedding and the following reception at The Forum.
Nell’s son gave her away, and James’ son was his best man. They also witnessed the marriage license – a unique thing for them and their parents!
We enjoy a happy life at The Forum. 

Jack and Edwina - The Forum at Lincoln Heights
A true Valentine Story.
Sixty eight years ago Edwina walked into the U.S.O. – she enjoyed talking with Servicemen.
One night she met a man named Jack. Love was in the air and they married 4 weeks later on October 12.  They had 3 sons and 5 grandchildren. Jack was Sr. Vice President of the Central Railroad.
After 48 years of marriage Jack passed away. Edwina and all of her family made their home in San Antonio, Texas. I feel so blessed to have shared my short, love story with you!
Edwina “Dee Dee” Humbert
The Forum at Lincoln Heights

Leo and Annabelle Sweeney - The Forum at Overland Park 

Their story began In June of 1946 when U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Leo Sweeney reported for duty at the Kansas City Quartermaster Depot. Annabelle Pecoraro was the very first woman Leo was introduced to.  Leo was smitten. Three months later Annabelle finally agreed to a date with Leo.  They went to the circus. They lovingly refer to that date as when “The circus of their life began”.  In August, Leo took Annabelle for a special dinner at the Hotel Phillips. During dinner Leo asked Annabelle “Would you be interested in a $2.00 license?” After staring at him for quite a while she answered, “I’ll let you know tomorrow”. The next morning Leo walked into the room; saw Annabelle working at her drawing board, stopped and waited. She saw him, their eyes met, she simply nodded her head. Yes was her answer, they were now engaged to be married.
The Sweeney’s were married June 26, 1948 in a very formal wedding. The highlight of their reception at the Hotel Phillips was cutting the cake with an Army Sabre belonging to Leo’s commanding officer who used the same Sabre to cut his own wedding cake in 1911.
Together Leo and Annabelle raised four successful children, traveled extensively, which included a year long trip around the world with the entire family, including Leo’s mother.
Today, 69 years later their love story continues. They are as much in love today as they were when Annabelle gave Leo the nod all those years ago!

Larry and Barbara Staples - The forum at Overland Park 
Love came softly and slowly for Larry and Barbara Staples.
The Staples met and became friends during high school while actively attending St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City. After graduating high school in 1948 they went their separate ways, each pursuing their own goals. Barbara went to college in Nebraska. After serving his country in the Army, Larry went onto University of Illinois. After graduating in 1956 they both returned to the Kansas City area and resumed church at St. Paul’s where they met again and became friends once more. However, this time their relationship grew deeper and soon they found themselves in love and ready to commit to a life together.
On October 5, 1957, during the first wedding held in the newly completed chapel at St. Paul’s Barbara and Larry exchanged vows and became husband and wife before an intimate gathering of family and friends.
Together they have one son, one daughter, and one granddaughter.
Barbara and Larry enjoyed traveling to various parts of the U.S. where Larry’s employment took them twice a year for conventions. They also took a trip to Japan where their son, his wife and their granddaughter currently live.
The Staple’s attribute the success of their 57+ years together, first to their mutual love for God, second to their respect for the covenant of the marriage vows they took before God, their family and friends, and lastly to the deep trust and faith they have in each other.   

Floyd and Shirley - Foulk Manor South 

                                                                               Floyd D. Jury
My life didn’t really begin until I met Shirley Flint.  Serendipity changed everything. 
My motor scooter skidded to a stop to flirt with the new girl in town.  Shirley, Presbyterian minister’s daughter and high school sophomore; me, a college sophomore wanted to date, but her parents thought I was “too old.” 
I kept in touch with Shirley for 3.5 years while I left college, worked for a Television Station, and enlisted in the Army assigned to NYC.  Thus the second serendipity. 
At discharge, I discovered Shirley was in Long Island City hospital while visiting Grandparents.  I had to see her!    
I left for Huntsville with a job waiting.  I couldn’t get Shirley off my mind.  I drove back to LIC and knocked on Shirley’s door.  Shocked she said, “What are you doing here?” 
I replied, “It’s time to go on our first date!”  My plan was to drive to Grant’s Tomb and propose to her. 
I lost my nerve.  Again she asked.  Double parked at a bus stop at 154th and Lexington, I asked her to marry me.  The following day, on the Hudson at West Point Military Academy, she accepted my proposal. 
Shirley and I were married 56 years before she died due to an inoperable brain tumor. 
Our wedding vows said we were married until “Death do us part.”  I don’t consider that “parting business” a binding contract. 
P.S. I love you, Shirley

Jack and Cindy - Fountainview
My name is Jack Kohn and this is my story of true, devoted love. 
     I first met Cindy Mann right here in the Fountainview lounge. I viewed this silver-haired, very attractive lady and asked her for a dinner date. 
Yes, she accepted and we had dinner at the “Red Lobster”.  I said to Cindy “Let’s see where this goes”.  After many enjoyable dinner dates, trips to Dreher Zoo (we both love animals), the Isles Casino and several trips (3 day) to the Beau Rivage Casino in Mississippi, also a cruise. 
     In retrospect, I was a bit skeptical that things would not turn out as they did.  After all I am 90 years old and Cindy 79, eleven years my junior.  I felt I was robbing the cradle.  Cindy was a statuesque beauty and I towered at 5’6”, with a face only a mother could love. 
     Everything was going great at first and then Cindy became seriously ill with Lung Cancer. Cindy had gone through long hospital stays, several months in Morse Recovery care. Through all this time I’d spend many hours visiting each day.  She is my love, my life.  Cindy never complained.  She is a fighter.
    We both resolved, as the song goes “What will be, will be, the future is not ours to see; que sera sera." Each day I tell her, I love you Cindy with all my heart!

Ann and Bob Marx - Fountainview

Marx Love Story
We met 65 years ago at a Jewish New Year service. We joined a youth group which led us to a hayride, a picnic and playing Bridge.  Over the years we raised two children and enjoyed taking them on many vacation trips.  Ann and I enjoyed all life has to offer until February 2011.  I decided to change a smoke detector on the ceiling and climbed a fourteen foot ladder.  I have no recollection of falling, and hitting my head on the floor.  Fortunately, Ann was present and called 911 for my trip to the hospital.  After a two month hospital and rehab stay, I recovered from two broken arms, broken neck and forehead.
They say love conquers all and I wouldn’t be here today except for the love and attention that Ann gave me.
After recovering we decided to sell our home and settle for a much quieter pace at Fountainview which is now home since 2013.
Ann and Bob Marx

Cliff and Regina - Franciscan Manor 
Serendipitous Love: Cliff and Regina

This story of love began in a hospital. Regina met her husband when she was working as a nurse. He worked for the railroad and transported employees who were hurt at work. She was coming around the corner carrying supplies just as he was rounding the corner. They literally bumped in to each other! Her supplies went flying! He apologized and began to pick up everything as her supervisor walked over to them. Regina was bombarded with questions about how it happened from the supervisor. At this point, “Cliff began laughing his head off!” recalls Regina. She thought that would be the end of it, but Cliff had other plans.
“What are you doing tonight?” Cliff asked after regaining his composure. She thought he was married so she came out and asked him. He laughed again and said, “No, but my mother wishes that I was!” With that, she accepted. It was Friday night, after all, so they saw a movie and went for a bite to eat. It was love and they knew it.
Regina and Cliff married on June 13, 1950. They were married for 49 ½ years. Sadly, Cliff passed away six months before their 50th Anniversary. They had five children. She has beautiful memories of her husband, “Cliff was a great man, funny and kind. He was a wonderful husband and father. Our children idolized him.”
It was love at first crash.

Barbara and Roger Moulton - The Gables at Winchester 

Barbara and Roger knew of each other from High School in their hometown community of Needham, Massachusetts.  
They first met on Dec 31, 1950 at a New Years Eve Party while Barbara was still in college. Roger would call her. Barbara enjoyed being with him so much so she invited him to her Sophomore Weekend at Skidmore.
Following the beginning of the Korean Conflict Roger enlisted into the Air Force and they kept in touch.
In August 1952, while home on leave from Officers’ Candidate School, Roger asked Barbara to marry him. On July 11, 1953 they wed in their hometown of Needham.
It took a tremendous amount of faith, love and trust when they decided to move into a seminary apartment house in Cambridge with two small children in tow. The apartment house was a community of young families. After 3 years Roger was ordained and their love flourished.
They are like unattached twins. They need to be in each others presence. They believe their hometown community was their anchor.
After 65 years of building a life together they know how helpful it is to be in a community and that is what brought them to The Gables at Winchester.
And the love continues.

Richard and Mary Humbler - The Gables at Winchester 
Richard lived in Maine and would come down to Arlington, MA to visit a friend who lived across the street from Mary’s sister’s home.  Richard didn’t make the trip down too often but whenever he came down, he’d see Mary. Mary would be sure to be there for his visit.
Richard remembers, “It took a long time to talk her into marrying me! Seven years!” When Mary said “Yes” Richard wasted no time. On May 25, 1979 he changed jobs, moved to a new state and got married... ALL IN ONE DAY!
For years they worked together at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass and volunteered together at the Wang Theater. They compliment each other. Their biggest love is travel – and has visited the Seven Wonders of the World!
Mary constantly says “He is a “Gem”! Even with his diminishing eyesight, he can do anything! If someone has a problem, Richard is going to solve their problem.”
Richard said, “We have a mutual deep sincere love for each other. Even after 34 years we still admire each other.”

Wallace and Winifred Vander Velde -  The Gables at Winchester 

Wally grew up in Jamestown, Michigan. He attended Purdue University and studied Aeronautical Engineering. While there he participated in the Air Force ROTC program. Upon graduation in 1951 he was assigned to active duty at the Air Force Cambridge Research Center for 2 years.
Winni was born in Cambridge, Mass., the oldest of 4 children in her family. She worked as a Secretary at a jewelry store and the Arthur D. Little Company- a consulting company in Cambridge.
They both attended the First Congregational Church in Cambridge. Both sang in the choir which is where they met. They also participated in a young people’s group sponsored by the church. Primarily through these activities they got to know each other and developed a mutual attraction. They were married in August of 1954. They continued their activity with the church. Wally was Deacon, Boy Scout Master and Chairman of various committees.

During this time he was studying for his Doctor of Science Degree at MIT while Winni was working. Wally received his degree in June 1954. He joined the faculty of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and retired in 1994. He continued to teach part-time and worked as a consultant to several local companies.

They just celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary.

Ruby and Erwin Caldwell - The Gardens of Port St. Lucie 
True love is commitment that lasts forever.  It was 1975 that Ruby and Erwin Caldwell first locked eyes at a Christian retreat. Their life was from then on a fairy tale romance in which they were never apart. Ruby perfectly remembers her marriage day, May 15, 1976, at her oldest daughter’s house, a day that she describes as magical. She also remembers how good Erwin, her second husband, was to her and her kids, and how much they loved him. Erwin also loved to travel, and they did a lot of traveling together. Ruby recalls, particularly, a trip where they traveled from Kansas, to Washington State, then to California, then all the way to the east coast before returning to Kansas. In the early 90’s Erwin and Ruby moved to Stuart, Florida to retire and in 2009 they both moved to the Gardens of Port St. Lucie where Erwin spent the past two years of his amazing life. Today Ruby is still living at the Gardens. She stays very active and enjoys spending time with her friends and family, arts and crafts, and Bingo. She is the grandma of 10 grandchildren, has 25 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren. She recently traveled to a family reunion where she enjoyed seeing each and every one of them, some of whom she saw for the first time. Ruby is a great woman and at the Gardens we all love the sweet lady she is.

Owen and Kathleen - The Gardens of Scottsdale 

Owen Rader and Kathleen Eads were classmates in first and second grades in their rural hometown in Indiana.  Their romance really began on Valentine’s Day in 1929 when he was 13 and she was 12. Kathleen opened her school desk and found there a Valentine from a secret admirer – Owen, the boy who sat behind her in the school assembly room.
Their courtship coincided with the Great Depression and they grew up knowing first-hand the value of both money and hard work. They married right after high school and began their life together in a house that initially consisted of two rooms removed from her parents’ house and moved a few miles to their new farm.
Owen and Kathleen were truly life partners. They became hard-working and successful farmers, and they raised six children who have grown up to raise families of their own. In 2004 they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Kathleen died in 2005 at age 88, and Owen, now 99 years old, lives in the Memory Care unit at The Gardens of Scottsdale.
Both Owen and Kathleen wrote the stories of their lives to share with their children and grandchildren. Their remarkable love affair, which lasted for more than 75 years, continues to inspire their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

June and Dick - The Gardens of Scottsdale 
Hello, my name is June. I met my love for the first time when I was 10 years old. Dick was the new kid and sat across from me. The boy behind me had caught a couple of flies and pulled off their wings, and to my dismay, he put them on my desk. I was aghast. When Dick saw what was going on, he rescued me by brushing them off my desk. I knew right then that he was the one for me.
When I was sixteen, my best friend was just wild about Dick. But Dick was wild about me. You see, I got to see Dick at Church and at school because his family attended my church. I was really concentrating on grades at that time and I didn’t pursue the relationship. Dick joined the Army at seventeen and went to Japan. When he returned he asked me to be his date at our high school reunion. When we decided to marry, I told Dick, “I want to make my own wedding dress.” Dick said, “I have the fabric;” beautiful white silk that he had brought back from Japan. It was so beautiful, I was afraid to cut into it. So Dick’s mom made the beautiful white silk wedding dress; and I made my own veil.
The dress has adorned four brides; me, my sister Maureen, my daughter Jean, and my granddaughter Katie. The dress will be adorning more brides.
Dick and I were joyfully married for 42 years. The love of my life passed away a little while back, but our love will live forever. 

Aldeen and Jessie - Gracemont 

Alden and Jessie have been with Gracemont almost since the beginning. They had been acquaintances in the town of Elizabeth, NJ. Alden had joined the Navy, while Jessie was finishing high school. After four years with the Navy Alden returned, knowing that prom was that weekend he went to find Jessie. Jessie was there with another young man, but Alden asked her to dance and then took her home.  The two didn’t wait long to marry, and they have spent 67 years happily together! 

Bill and Alice Gallagher - Granite Gate 
     Alice and I met on a blind date April 21, 1951 in Dayton, Ohio. A friend typed a 3X5 card with Alice’s characteristics. She sent this card home with my mother for my brother and I to decide who would take Alice out.  I decided first off and we went on a double date. When we met, I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world; still do. As luck would have it, she spent the evening talking with my brother.  When we got to her house, I told her the next date would be a twosome. Bill and Alice married six months later on October 26, 1951. To this day, Alice refers to bill as “my hero.” We’ve had wonderful adventures together and will celebrate 64 years together this October. 

Verginia Eck - Granite Gate 

Love at First Sight
I never believed in the legendary first sight love
The swift wings descending wings of a dove.
Then a young lady across a crowded church…ME!
And a strange young man at a glance determined that
Will be the lady I marry.
Than perseverance, determination against competition,
Then mutual love achieved his ambition.
A lifetime of green house growing,
Blossoms – Glorious. Achieving fine flowers victorious
Our marriage went on to celebrate year 67 until my true
Love went to his new home in heaven.

Bob and Teresa Bradbury - Heartfields at Frederick 
Bob Bradbury, my  husband, who is a resident of HeartFields-Frederick and I, Teresa Bradbury met online in 2000.  Bob was widowed and had received a computer from his family for Christmas.  He logged into, now known as and decided to email me.
I had only been on the site for a couple of months and thought it sounded as though we had a lot in common but felt distance would be a problem since he lived in Savannah, Ga. and I was in Rockville, Md.  After corresponding and telling him so, he said he didn't think so because he was "foot loose and fancy free and not tied there."
We continued to correspond and after privately checking one another out (which we didn't know until later) I invited him to be my escort for a wedding in which I was the Matron of Honor.  My brother told me he would not accept because he would be overwhelmed not knowing anyone.  In the email, I gave him my telephone number, if he wished to discuss the event.   He called and said, "I would just love to come to that wedding."  Listening to his southern accent and sweetness, my heart skipped a beat.
We had a wonderful weekend celebrating the  wedding and getting to know each other.  We both knew "this was meant to be from the very moment we met and fell head over heels in love." Then, in 2002, we were married.  Pioneers in online dating.

Bill and Billie Jo - Heritage Place of Fredericksburg 
William (Bill) Nelson attended Trinity University where he said “I walked into my psychology class and Billie Jo Chander was the only one in there;  her beauty just struck me between the eyes; so of course I took the seat next to her.” Two weeks later they went on their first date and that was that. After college Bill & Billie Jo knew they wanted to get married.  However, due to Billie’s father paying for the older sister’s wedding and recent medical conditions his money was extremely tight.
 Bill and Billie Jo had heard of the radio show called “Bride Groom” out of California so she decided to write in their story to get onto the program.  They received a call to come to Beverly Hills Hotel December 15th.  Bill was 25 and Billie Jo was 22 at the time of their engagement.   The Master of Ceremonies had heard that Bill had not properly proposed so the microphone was handed to Bill and “I dropped to one knee” and gave Billie Jo a proper proposal.   
Billie Jo was taken to a room overflowing with beautiful wedding gowns from the Motion Picture Movies. The first gown that she was shown, she knew right then it was the right one.   They received 12 gifts, with one being a refrigerator.  One of the other gifts was a key to the city of Laguna Beach where everything was on the house. Bill & Billie Jo were married 62 wonderful years. 

Tony and Sally Caruso - The Laurels and the Haven in Highland Creek 
We grew up in the New York-Connecticut area, and that’s where we first met in the summer of 1936 – at Oakland Beach in Rye, NY. While waiting with friends for a bus to go home, I instead met Tony during a car ride home with one of his buddies. Tony said it was “Love at first sight” and asked for my phone number. We saw each other occasionally for 7 years and then decided to get married in Boston near the Army base where Tony served. We lived “up North“,  moved to Florida for many years, and have been in NC for 2.5 years.
                Tony wore many hates over the years – owner of a gas station, frozen custard store, and coin-operated/dry cleaning business. I served as an office administrator and clerk in various businesses. Tony was passionate about golf (10 handicap!) and even taught me how to play. He also loved cars and travel. Although Tony has coped with several health issues, he and I managed to have a great life together. We attribute our longevity to hard work, proper eating, walking, and exercise. Bob and Ron, our sons, are also a great pride to us. 

Leo and Victoria Isen - Premier Residences of Hollywood 

It was 1944 in the Philippines. Three off-duty pilots, a jeep and a case of beer went looking for the master fortune teller of the Orient. Just about midnight we found his house. He spoke English very well and was pleased to have my friends and me seeking his knowledge.
He predicted the future for my two semi-inebriated buddies, and then it was my turn. He told me that I would be married four times. I wet my drawers laughing, believing in the vow “Till death do us part”
After living through that vow twice and burying my second wife, I met Victoria. She was a beautiful, smiling, guitarist and dancer, who spoke four languages. Victoria wanted to get married; however I was haunted by the memory of the fortune: I would be married four times. That would make Victoria the third, meaning there was one more remaining.
Eventually, Victoria and I got married. But the specter of Victoria’s demise wouldn’t leave me. 
Victoria’s good friend told her she had better find a cure for my unhappiness. Victoria asked, “What can I do?” Her friend, a very ingenious woman, said, ‘Marry him again, that way you’ll be wife number four.”
Needless to say, we did get married again, on the second anniversary of our first wedding. I enjoyed that ceremony more than any of the others, and we lived happily for 45 years. I’ve used up all my points, but it was worth it.

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