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

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John and Connie Youstin - Horizon Club
It is always amazing to hear about a couple that has been together for almost 70 years, how do they do it?  Well, according to John and Connie Youstin, it’s simple!  As far as Connie is concerned, she just keeps her mouth shut when they have a fight, “if you don’t talk, the fight is over,” Connie told us.  John’s take on that is to simply say “yes, dear.”
     Connie and John met in 1945, when she was 23 and he was 24 and had just come back from a stint in Ie Shima.  They met in Brooklyn where they would attend the weekly dances.  John eyed her right away and asked her to dance. One date later, they were going steady.  Soon after that, John left her a note on her dresser asking her to marry him.  She of course said yes, and 3 wonderful kids, 6 grandkids and 5 great kids later they are still as happy as the day they met.
      Connie enjoys writing poetry and had a book of her poems published.  “She is romantic” John says, “She does a lot of little things to make me feel special”.  When I asked Connie what was the nicest thing about John, she smiled and said “he is very romantic but he never got fresh!”   It takes a lot of love and patience to be married 70 years; obviously the Youstin’s have mastered that.

Ina McDaniels and Artie Tuman - Horizon Club
 They say that laughter is the best medicine, and if you were to meet Ina and Artie you would definitely agree!!     Although they have only been together 2.5 years, the love and respect they have for each other is heartwarming.
     Ina describes their first meeting as very casual. “It was June 5th and we were at the community center. I was sitting alone and his friend asked me to join them.  I didn’t think much of it until the 3rd time we met.”  Artie butts in: “she knew I drove, so I took her home from another event. She held my hand when we walked to the car and that was it, everything fell into place.”  When I ask them what their secret to a solid relationship is, they both agree  patience, a sense of humor and most of all, compromise!!  Ina laughs as she tells me Artie’s nickname, which is “honey-do”, because she’s always asking “honey, can you do this or do that?” They both laughed. 
     Artie was married for 50 plus years and Ina was married four times.  Artie’s response to that is “If she was good enough for the other four, she must be good enough for me!”   As we were finishing up, Ina makes it clear how much she loves Artie. “He is thoughtful, devoted and protects me. He is also kind of cute!”  Artie joked “did we mention that Ina can’t see very well?”  It’s clear that laughter keeps their relationship alive!

Ann and Harold Driscoll - Leisure Park
Sweet couple Ann and Harold Driscoll have lived in assisted living for a few years.  They are very happy to tell their love story. 
Ann and Harold knew each other from a very young age.  Their fathers worked together on Wall Street and both families would get together over the years.  Their romance began when Ann asked Harold to accompany her to the Senior Class Dance.  From that day he would call her each night.  He bought a used Hudson car with a rumble seat for $22 and would pick her up until driver’s, in those days, were asked to conserve gas during the war.  He then bought a “Victory” bike, as they called them, for $10 and would ride his bike about 5 miles from his town of Oradell to her town, Westwood, NJ.  Over time, Ann tried to teach Harold to dance, they would play ping pong, go to the movies and see concerts such as the Glen Miller Band.  They dated two years before he proposed.  She quickly became pregnant and he went into the Army, meeting his first child when she was one and a half years old.  They would go on to have seven more children.  They have been married for 70 wonderful years.

Hilda and Pete Molnar - Lexington Manor
Back in 1997 I had been a widow for 7 years. My husband, Pete, had been a widower for 2 years. A woman I had just met happened to live in the same complex as Pete and told him about me. She told him we should not have to be alone and that he should call me. She kept after him to call me until he finally did and he asked me out to dinner. Before I had answered him, I told him I was blind in one eye, having dental work done, and had a sore back from a hairline fracture. His response, “Can we still go?” Well after all that, I said yes. We met for dinner and hit it off from the start. The following week was Valentine’s day and he took me out for dinner and brought me flowers and chocolates. 5 years later we were discussing our health insurances and he saw mine was so expensive and he asked, “Will you marry me? It’ll be cheaper.” I said yes.  –Hilda Molnar
Hilda and Pete Molnar were married October 12, 2002 and have been blissfully married for 12 years and are currently 89 and 87 years old.

Clara and Philip Hohlweck - Meadowmere Northshore
Dad was selling real estate in the 1930’s when a friend and fellow salesman met mom.  He thought she would be a great gal for my dad, so he arranged a “blind date” for them to meet.  Guess dad’s friend was a good judge of people and a real “matchmaker”, because there was a lot of chemistry between them; real fireworks in fact, or you might even say “It was love at first sight.”
            The budding romance bloomed quickly for they met in 1936 and married in early 1937.  It was right after Clara’s 24th birthday.  Philip knew a gem when he saw one, and nine months later their 1st daughter was arrived.  It was three and a half years later when their first son was born.
            They say opposites attract and that was true for them because Clara was shy and quiet, while Phil being a salesman, and naturally was more outgoing.  He was warm hearted, hard a wonderful sense of humor and a very infectious laugh, which kept his family of nine in stitches even during the hard times.
            Phillip and Clara kept their love alive by dancing; having big family gathering for every holiday which Clara kept the entire house filled with mouthwatering aromas.  They took trips and played in card clubs, Clara in bridge and Phil played poker, shephead’s, and pinochle.  They were never bored, and by then there were grandchildren to keep them entertained.

Jerry and Betty Kiefer - Meadowmere Northshore
Residents of Meadowmere Northshore know Betty Kiefer as an 85 year-old lady with dementia who calls ladies Lucy and smiles at everyone.  I know Betty as my wife, sweetheart and special love.
            I met Betty in college, and after several dates, asked her to wear my fraternity pin.  We were “going steady.”   Deferred while attending college during the Korean War, I joined the Army upon graduation.  When I was deployed to Japan, a crisis arose.  Should we get married immediately, or wait two years until my return.  Love prevailed.  We were married and enjoyed a one-week honeymoon.
            While separated, we kept our love alive with letters and phone calls.  After a year, Betty saved enough to come to Japan.  Finally, the “newlyweds”  were together again.  We spent the next year enjoying a second honeymoon in Japan.
            Returning home, our love produced three sons.  Although busy raising children, we always took time to express our love for each other and do things together.  I took Betty with me on business trips, and we also enjoyed dancing, playing cards and ice skating.  We spent a lifetime building memories together. 
            Now dementia has robbed Betty of those wonderful memories.  She has to depend on me to remind her of the life we shared during our 60-year marriage.  If you listen closely enough, though, you just might hear Betty tell me over and over again, “I love you.”  And I always answer “I love you too.”

Wildon and Marie Carroll - Morningside of Cleveland
A love that lasts is one that appreciates humor.  “I been mar-reed to the wrong man for 61 years,” exclaims Marie!  Unaffected by her favorite quip Wildon retorts, “I don’t pay that no mind.  She’s pretty good at cuttin’ up.” 
Wildon and Marie Carroll met in Cleveland, TN when he was in 8th grade.   Marie had been born in the Smokey Mountains and relocated before the creation of the National Park.  Wildon recalls a childhood as bucolic as their mountain accents.  He remembers borrowing a dime from her to watch a movie.   She would whistle at him if he walked by and bashfully run away to hide.   He would peep into church windows to get a look at his future wife.  After both turned 18 years old, they married two weeks prior to his enlisting in the Army.  Stationed in Germany and apart for 3 long years didn’t seem so long when he got back home.  Marie had thriftily saved enough money to buy a house on Kyle Lake where they happily, not haply, raised three girls and one boy.
“I justa cuttin’ up.  I got all-timers.  I’m justa lookin’ for a rich man.  I made a mistake 61 years ago.”  Gazing toward Wildon, “You ain’t no rich man.”  She playfully winces her face and says, “Are you gonna put us in the paper?  Are you gonna pay us?”  Wildon leans in with a reckoning look and smile, “about that dime.  I ain’t paid her back to this day.”       

Lavern and Hazel Lowery - Morningside of Decaur
One night Hazel was with her sister, her sister's boyfriend and another couple out on a  group date, except that Hazel didn’t have a date because her boyfriend was in the Army. Hazel sister’s boyfriend told Hazel that he was going to find her a date. Soon after, they drove downtown in Decatur, Alabama on 2nd Avenue and parked. The soldiers from the Air Force Base in Courtland, Alabama would catch the bus and come downtown to Decatur on the weekends to go to the movies, restaurants and hangout. Lavern had just got off the bus walking down the street when Hazel sister’s boyfriend saw him and said "That’s him! That’s the one I’m going to pick for Hazel." He then asked Lavern if would he be interested in going out on a date with one of their friends. Lavern told him that he would have to see her first. Hazel's sister's boyfriend brought Lavern to the car Hazel was sitting in. There he saw a pretty blonde headed girl with a big smile. Lavern said it was love at first sight, making it an easy decision to accept Hazel's sister's boyfriends group date offer. The group date turned out to be a big success and after that they went out every weekend together. Soon after six months of dating Lavern asked Hazel to marry him and she said yes! They got married February 23, 1943 and have been happily married ever since.

Ed and Mervil Smith - Morningside of Georgetown
How does a couple remain happily married for 78 years? Just ask Ed and Mervil Smith. The Smiths eloped on December 31, 1936 and truly are still living “happily ever after.” They represent the epitome of true love.
When asked to share their formula for a happy marriage, they both say “ like your mate before you love him/her, laugh together often, and be concerned and interested in one another." Mervil says they still say “I love you “every day and Ed still tells her she is the prettiest woman ever.  Neither of them ever had eyes for anyone else!
Love of family is also very important to the Smiths. They raised two sons and one daughter and have been blessed with eight grandchildren and ten great grands!
Those of us who have been lucky enough to know them feel that their positive and happy outlook on life and their friendly and outgoing personalities definitely have contributed to this successful love story!

Ryland and Bonnie Young - Morningside of Irving Park
Ryland & Bonnie Young are what some people may call a “typical” couple, they refer to themselves as “old fashion”, but to the staff at Morningview they are just Ryland & Bonnie. The Young’s story began right after Ryland got home from the service. Ryland arrived back in the states from Italy and found a job in Charlotte, NC as a salesman for Edgecomb Metals, a job in which he worked for over thirty-five years. Ryland was very passionate about his faith and became a member of Thomasboro Baptist Church. After a couple of years of attending the church Ryland took over the churches choir as the director, which held much responsibility. A church member and a friend of Ryland’s introduced him to his now wife of sixty-four years, who at the time of their meeting one another was also a member of the church choir. Ryland admits that on their first date he was nervous, but he knew that he had found a “true gospel angel” when he met Bonnie. The couple moved the Greensboro, NC due to job relocation with Ryland, but the family remained passionate about finding a good church and raising their two boys the right way. Ryland continued to direct church choirs in many churches in the Greensboro area, and Bonnie would follow with her amazing vocals right behind him. Although the years have passed and the choir director and his lovely assistant have retired, the two still remain passionate about their faith and just as passionate about the music that brought them together. 

Bob and Pat Goodpaster - Morningside of Jackson
Mr. Bob and Mrs. Pat met the summer after her freshman year of college and his sophomore year. They both had summer jobs at the county agent office, but didn’t actually get acquainted until at a skating rink. He spied her skating alone and refusing different boys to skate with her; she later learned that he made a bet with a friend that she would skate with him. So, she did accept, but half way around the rink, he fell and pulled her down with him; he looked up and said, “This is the first time I’ve had on skates.” She stated that she guessed that she really “fell” for him, as the date culminated into a 59 year marriage that blessed them with a son and a daughter.
They worked as partners through school (he received a Master and Doctorate of Education from University of Kentucky) and his career that included superintendent of schools and Community College president. He received many honors but always credited her with his success. They enjoyed worldwide travels and many wonderful experiences.
When Mr. Bob lost his five-year battle with cancer, up until the end he continued to be grateful for their life together, often saying how blessed they had been in their marriage. Mrs. Pat took care of Mr. Bob the entire time while he was sick. With his last breath he whispered, “I Love You.” 

Nancy and Wayne Graham - Morningside of Paris
Nancy and Wayne Graham were married May 2, 1945 at the age of 20.  Ms. Nancy says there marriage in one arranged in Heaven and their life has been a fairy tale.
They met in 1st grade attending Big Sandy School.  Ms. Nancy says there was just something about Mr. Wayne that she always loved.  She would watch him as he helped the other kids during lunch time and knew that he was someone special that she wanted to get to know.  When they were in the 4th grade the school gym caught fire and the town was afraid they would loose the whole school.  Ms. Nancy was worried about her books, so Mr. Wayne took his little wagon up to the school and retrieved her books for her.
At the age of 16 Mr. Wayne left to go to California to work at night and attend school during the day.  He joined the Marines at 18 and was stationed on the USS Saratoga.   Ms. Nancy went to Business College and worked as a legal secretary for the Veteran’s office.  They stayed in touch during this.
While the ship was being repaired Mr. Wayne came home and asked Ms. Nancy if it wasn’t about time they got married.  Mr. Wayne made all the arrangements for the wedding including helping pick out her dress and having the flowers sent in by train.
If they had to relive their lives, they wouldn’t change a thing.

Ruth and Oscar Har - Morningside of Raleigh
Ruth and Oscar Hay have known each other a long time – they met in grammar school at Wylie Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina. They knew each other throughout their school years, but didn’t start dating until many years later. After high school, Oscar was enlisted in the Army Air Corp, and was in service in India. When he was discharged from service, Oscar returned home to Raleigh to attend NCSU for civil engineering. Ruth was working as a customer service engineer with the telephone company. Oscar and Ruth reconnected at First Presbyterian Church, were in Sunday School together, and soon started dating. They were married in 1952. First Presbyterian was being renovated at the time, so their wedding was held in the parlor of the church, and their families were in attendance. Ruth recalls all of their nieces and nephews sitting on the floor while the adults sat in chairs to enjoy the ceremony.  Oscar and Ruth went to Daytona Beach for their honeymoon, and after about 3 years of marriage, their daughter was born, followed by their son 2 years later. The Hay family loved to travel, particularly to Florida, and to visit family. For their 50th wedding anniversary, the entire Hay family enjoyed a long weekend of celebrating in the mountains.  Oscar and Ruth have quite the love story, and are still very much in love today. It is not unusual to see them sitting together on the front porch holding hands on a warm summer day.

Mary and Basil Owensby - Morningside of Springfield
Mary and Basil Owensby met in Gaffney, South Carolina, in 1948. They dated off and on for five years.  Mary was ready to get married but Basil was not, so Mary broke off the relationship for good, (or so she thought.) 
Mary met her husband Ed two weeks later when he stopped her for running a stop sign. It must have been love at first sight for they were married three months later. Mary and Ed were married for thirty nine years.
 After Ed’s death Mary went with friends to Europe.  Mary’s friends encouraged Mary to throw coins into the “Three Coins Fountain” in Rome. As Mary did so her wish was to hear from Basil again.
 One day, out of the blue, her phone rang and it was Basil! He wanted to know when he could come see her.  (You see he had never married.)  When arrived that weekend Mary said, "that can’t be Basil he had a head full of curly black hair and this man has white hair."  They were married two weeks later.
 Basil and Mary moved into Morningside in October of 2013.  As Basil’s health declined he was transferred to a nursing facility where Mary visited him nearly every day.   On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, Basil became very ill and asked to see Mary “one more time” just to be sure she was all right.  The next morning Basil went to heaven where he will wait for Mary once more.

Frank and Helen Kroll - Myrtle Beach Manor
They had known each other a long time since their mothers were good friends. They even went to the same church, at the 7am Mass. One morning Helen and her mother were walking to church, and Helen’s mother says to her that she is going to marry Frank. At the time she was going out with a fellow from Brooklyn, so she didn’t believe her. At the time, Helen was friends with his Frank’s sister. One day, Frank’s sister invited Helen to come on a trip with her and Frank. So on the way up, they rode together in the back of the car, and he said: “I want to ask you a question. “Will you go out with me?” Helen said yes. The rest is history. They dated 8 or 9 months before getting engaged, and as soon as he was out of the service they were married when they were 23 years old. According to these two, the years have flown by so fast, and sometimes they can’t believe it has actually been that long. 

Jack and Freda Salmon - The Neighborhood at Tellico
Jack and Freda Salmon, residents at The Neighborhood, will soon celebrate their 73rd Anniversary.  Jack and Freda both grew up in Flint, Michigan.  At the age of 17, Jack wanted so badly to marry his sweetheart, Freda, he enlisted in the Navy.  “There weren’t any jobs and I had to have a job before I could get married”, says Jack.   He enlisted in 1941 and was on his way to Pearl Harbor when something happened to his ship, the Sea Fox, and they didn’t arrive until 3 days after the bombing.  Fortunately, Jack safely returned and wed Freda in July of 1942.  Their first two children, Jack Jr. and Richard, were born while Jack was still in the service.  Freda stayed with her parents in Michigan while Jack was away. While in service, Jack narrowly escaped death once again.  While on shore leave in Australia, Jack was unable to return to his submarine before it departed and the sub was never seen again.  While working on submarines, Jack wrote many letters to Freda. “It was like Christmas when his letters came”, Freda joyfully recalls.  Whenever Jack could manage to get back to the states on furlough, she would meet him in ports until he shipped out again.  The couple had another child, a daughter, named Sandra.  When Jack retired they bought a recreational vehicle and traveled together.  Their children describe them as very good partners.  Jack has stated that he is shooting for his 100th anniversary with Freda. 

Mim and Ed Siefken - NewSeasons New Britain
Mim Keller and Anna Smith were taking the train home from Phila  It was New Year’s Eve 1947. Anna learned that Mim didn’t have any plans and insisted she join her and boyfriend Bill for a party where they would introduce her to Ed. She agreed. Mim remembers thinking about Ed, “he’s kind’a cute”. Ed says, “when I saw her come down the stairs I knew she was for me!” They spent the night talking. The next day Ed called and diner plans were made. From that night on Ed wined and dined her. A year later they became engaged . They decided on a small church wedding in order to buy furniture.
They were married 3-24-1950.
Their first child, Barbara was born in 1952. They then had two sons Ed Jr., 1954 and Larry, 1957.
Ed bought a small plane and enjoyed flying the family to Ocean City for breakfast or to the Pocono’s for lunch.
They and the kids had a good life.
They both feel lucky to have each other and the support
they shared through the death of their son Ed Jr.
Mim says their marriage is strong because  they do things to please each other. Ed says,” I am glad I am still here with Min, I’m 92 or 93 , How old am I Mim?”  "You’ll be 93 in July dear", Mim says.
"Well  I‘ve got good memories."
They still share the bed bought in lieu of a “hoopla wedding”. 

Charlie and Rosa Manning - Northlake Gardens
After a seven year tenure in the Navy, Charlie was ready to meet the girl of his dreams.  His sister wanted to set up a blind date in order to introduce him to Rosa Manning.  Rosa was very reluctant to go out with him because her father had warned her about "those navy guys - especially city boys".    She was from a small farm town and had just recently moved to Atlanta.   They met on that blind date and quickly fell in love.  With a brief courting period, they tied the knot on December 3, 1949, and have been happily married for 65 + years.  
When asked what makes their marriage work, Charlie replied "I once read a book in the Navy that said - find a good ole' country gal that can cook with both hands and smile at the same time... so I did!"
Rosa's little secret to their longevity is murmured in a whisper, with a twinkle in her eye:  "I found a good man that traveled for work ... and  I always let him think he's right."

Melvin and Louise Grieger - Oak Woods
My husband grew up on a farm in Indiana.  I came from a small town in Missouri.  Providence drew our lives together in 1946.  We were both Marines working in Washington D.C.  By chance we found ourselves working together in the U.S. Naval Annex, and it was "Love at First Sight".  We soon had our first date, our first kiss. We were in love!  Soon came the trips to meet our families.  We were married in 1947, and moved to a farm in Indiana.  I became a farmers wife, in time, mother to three children and a grandma later.  We were always busy but made time for church.  And our love grew.  We made time for family visit, parties, and an occasional golf game.  Later we added acres to our farm.  With help from our sons we had time to travel, visiting all fifty states.  We spent winters in Texas.  There we enjoyed our 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends.  The following morning during church the choir sang our special song, " My God and I".  So many precious times with so many special memories. So much love multiplied by each passing year!  January 26, 2015 was our 68th wedding anniversary.  Two days later on January 28th we celebrated Mel's 91st birthday.  My 91st follows in July.  Our journey through life together has been one long beautiful love story with pages yet to write.

Melvin and Maxine Metcalf - Overland Park Place
Mel called me up for a date. It was L-O-V-E at 1st sight. If he would have asked me to marry him on the spot I would have. I had fallen in love!!!
We both went to the same high school and Mel’s sister, Mary, set us up. Mel was 17 years old and joined the Navy and was enlisted for 4 years. I never knew him that well to write him, plus he had other girlfriends that kept him busy along with his Navy job.
We started going together March 28, 1950 and married on June 3rd.  We had a “whirlwind” romance. This June,  we will be married 65 years. My what a long time. We've had a lot of “Elmer’s Glue” to hold us together. We've had our ups and downs, but we still had each other.
We still have time for our hugs and kisses. We go to sleep holding hands most nights.
In the middle of our marriage we both gave our hearts to Jesus. That changed our lives and the Lord held us together. 

Al Alexy and Fran Dauber - Remington Club
Al and Fran’s love story begins in 1938 when he was 15 and she was 14. They were high school sweethearts who dated for 3 years before Al enlisted in the Army Air Core and went to serve in World War 2. When Al returned, Fran had married. Al went on to become a Battalion Chief in the NYFD while Fran became a nurse. Both had families  of their own. Both remaining in New York, they had a one chance encounter at a public park in th3 1970’s where they were introduced their respective families.
By 2002 both had become widowed with Al in California and Fran remaining in New York. On a visit to New York, Al decided to look Fran up. Upon connecting via phone they made arrangements for Fran to visit CA. The two hit it off like old times and began a long distance love affair. In 2004 Fran moved to California. 11 years later and with 1.5 of those years at the Remington Club they couldn’t be more in love. They always laugh at the disbelief that high school sweethearts could re kindle the flame after over 60 years apart. 

Bill and Iris Cross - Rio Las Palmas
Our love story begins when they met in 1939 in East Midlands, England on a country side in the village.  Iris was riding her bike with a friend when they came across two boys riding in their direction.  As the boys passed they whistled at them and they thought they were pretty cute.  They got to know each other by taking walks and learning more of their interests.  They lived five miles from each other but tried to be together every day.  When he finally asked her for a date, they had to take the bus because gasoline was not available to the general public during the war.  During the war, Iris would sew solder’s uniforms and Bill was in the Army.  He wrote letters to her as often as he could because he knew that he wanted to marry her.
Both of their parents told them they were too young, but they wanted to be together for the rest of their lives.  On June 5, 1945, they were married in a small  church in England.  Iris was 18 years old and Bill was 19 years old.  Bill said “As soon as I saw her, I loved her”.
The Cross’s came to the United States 50 years ago to be with their two daughters.  They are proud of them along with their grandchildren and great grandchildren. 
In just five months, they have been married for 70 years.

Anita and Irvin Bornstein - Seasons at Southpoint
In 1950 my mother Anita's college friend invited her to come to Baltimore for the weekend. To my mothers surprise her friend set her up on a blind date with a handsome bachelor, Irvin Borenstein.  The two couples dined at the Park Plaza Hotel, where Irvin knew immediately that Anita was the one for him.  My mother said Irvin was nice but she knew lots of nice men and was even engaged at the time without a ring.  But my dad was smitten and he visited her at school and when she was home on break in Bristol, Virginia.  After several months Dad proposed with a ring and gave her an ultimatum "I love you Anita and I want to marry you. Will you say yes?"  Her response was tentative so he said "say yes now or you'll never see me again".  They were married shortly after and went on a wonderful three month European honeymoon.  Mom and Dad can still be seen holding hands and kissing and have never been apart. In May 2015 they will celebrate 64 years of marriage.   In 2012 they moved to the Five Star Premiere Residence in Hollywood, Florida,where they enjoyed new friends and many different activities.  In 2014 they relocate to North Carolina to another Five Star Property, Seasons at Southpoint to be near me, their daughter.  As I write this with Dad's help he said if he had to do it all over again he would do it exactly the same way.

Ilene and Don - Somerford Place Encinitas 
The year was 1947 Ilene was a young college student at Kent state University in Ohio. She can still remember that it was a biology class that she shared with Don. She also recalls that he sat in the 4th chair of the first row while she was in the middle row by the window. She noticed him every day in class and wondered why he always knew the answers to every question the professor asked. One day after class Ilene decided to approach Don and introduced herself, after her introduction she decided it was time to ask him why he knew all of the answers. Ilene recalls Don being very polite and introducing himself to her after her question. She said he then explained to her his years in the Navy and working in the hospitals. Ilene recalls dating and being with each other every day before they finally married in 1948. Ilene says her 67 year marriage was full of fun, exciting moments and very full of love. She says their life was pure bliss and she could not picture her life any other way. 

Antoinette and Peter - Somerford Place Fresno
This love story begins in 1948 when Peter meets Antoinette at the Rainbow Ball Room while she was on a date with someone else. After the dance they go out for coffee and because the car was so small Antoinette sits on Peter’s lap. Peter later finds out that Antoinette had told her sisters that she had met the man she was going to marry. For two months Antoinette gives Peter a hard time, he even joined the choir at St. Alfonsons because she was in it. Their first date they went out for a ride in Peters dads Chevrolet sedan down on Kearney Blvd. Two months later he asks her to marry him, she told him that he need to ask her dad first, so he did and her father’s response was “yes take her!” They were married six months after they met on September 5, 1948 at St. Alfonsos Church. For their honeymoon they stopped at Carmel CA, and then went on to Santa Cruz CA. His attraction to her was her long hair going down her back and of course she was beautiful. She was attracted to him because he was tall and handsome. To this day she still calls him Daddy! And he calls her Neta! They have five children, twelve grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Peter says the secret to a long lasting marriage is “If you love someone and just want to be with them you will do anything they wish.” 

Jim and Dot - Somerford Place Redlands
We have been enjoying hot fudge sundaes for sixty three years. They make us happy, and always make Dot smile. When we were first married they were considered a Friday night luxury.
While I was in the Army, she made more money than I did while making sundaes at the Post Exchange.
When our son’s Jim and Mike arrived on the scene they were exposed to the joys a hot fudge sundae can create.
We have been very lucky over the years in business and enjoyed lots of travel. We always made it a requirement to find an ice cream parlor wherever we went.
The retirement years we have spent together have let our love and respect for each other grow to where we are more like one person than two always there to take care of each other.
When the time came Dot’ memory started to fail, and we had to let her move into Somerford Place an Alzheimer’s and dementia assisted living community, for the 24 hour care she required. It was a hard decision, but a good one.
The Hot Fudge Sundae has become a part of out lives anytime she feels up to a little ride to the Dairy Queen.
She eats slowly and that big smile can be seen miles away. She remembers things, we talk, and she tells me “Jim, I love you and thank you this is so good.”
This is why a Hot Fudge Sundae is the symbol of our lasting love. 

Peter and Ida MacDonald - Somerford Place Stockton
Peter was taking music lessons at Sherwin Williams Music Store.  It was December and the music store held a Christmas party.  Peter attended alone and one of his classmates brought her friend, Ida .  He walked in and looked around for a seat; the only one available was next to Ida.  They introduced themselves and as Ida looked over at Peter and smiled, it changed his life, it was love at first sight, 22 blissful years ago. 
Peter wrote this poem:
The Empty Chair
I walked towards the empty chair
I didn’t know that you’d be there
I sat down, gave my name
You smiled and I did the same
There was no lady in my life
I wasn’t looking for a wife
At that time I just didn’t care
But it felt so good in that chair
Later on that fateful night
Something made it all so right
You looked at me and then you smiled
It made my heart go racing wild
It all felt great, oh so good
I couldn’t even eat my food
I pushed it aside, gave it shove
Cause I had suddenly fallen in love
I was no longer in a fog
I even began to neglect my dog
You made my life seem so worthwhile
All because of your lovely smile
I’d never felt like this before
It felt so good I wanted more
I was no longer in despair
Thanks to that wonderful empty chair

Paul and Barbara Wilson - Stratford Court
Paul & Barbara met at the Big Boy Restaurant in 1956.  When Barbara first saw Paul, it was love at first sight.
He had an English Austin Car and for fun, he wanted to see how many people he could get in to his car. 19 people and Barbara was one of them.

They dated for two years and on May 10, 1958 they married and had four kids right away.
They were born and raised in Michigan, then moved to Buffalo for 10 years, then to Miami for 25 years, then to Leesburg for 12years then to Stratford Court for 1year.
The Wilson's have stuck together in the good times and the bad, worked together as a team throughout their marriage.
Paul worked for many auto dealerships and Barbara went to nursing school.
They have traveled all over the world. Hawaii, Australia, Greece and many more.
Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. They sold their home in Leesburg and moved to Stratford Court with their dog Sugar.
Paul gave up his golf clubs to take care of Barbara. He does the laundry, shopping and walks the dog so that Barbara doesn’t have to do anything.
He is proud of their life together, they have been up … they have been down. They made it through with Faith, Family & love.
They have been married for 58 years and are still very much in love with each other.
Stratford Court is a new chapter in their lives, they have made many friends and really enjoy it here.

Walter and Marianne Zeltner - Stratford Court
When they met, Walt was a widower and Marianne had been single for 22 years.
Walt’s neighbor invited him to a bible study group. When he arrived there was only one empty seat…next to Marianne. He liked her from the moment that he met her.
He returned to the study group for a second time and once again the only empty seat was next to Marianne.
They went on their 1st date with Marianne’s best friends. A couple of months after that Walt asked Marianne to marry him. Since they were older he didn’t want to dilly dally.
At first Marianne told him that she needed to think about it, the next day she told Walt “YES”
Marianne had other proposals over the years and said no but she knew that Walt was the one.
So she gave up riding her motorcycle at the age of 90 and got married.
They went to Disneyworld for their honeymoon and stayed for 5 days.
In 2014 they sold their house in Timber Greens and moved into Stratford Court. They have made many friends in their short time here and very much enjoy this life style.
They are very much in love with each other and show it every day.

Kurt and Veronica Stedingh - Voorhees
Kurt moved to the United States from Germany in 1928 to Merchantville, NJ, where he worked for RCA Victor and served in the U.S. Army. Veronica was born and raised in Camden, NJ and worked at a dress factory.
Kurt & Veronica Stedingh met dancing one night at the Stardust Ballroom and according to the two, “it was love at first sight.” A few months later on March 13, 1941 the two wed and later moved to Clayton, NJ, where they had their two sons Kurt Jr. and Wayne. Kurt and Ronnie are now approaching their 74th anniversary. 
When asked the secret to a long-lasting marriage Kurt responded, “To let your wife have her way, no matter what it is,” Ronnie’s response was, “to keep on dancing.” Throughout their marriage they never lost their love for what brought them together, Kurt and Ronnie made it a point to go dancing with each other at least four times a week. The two are still very much in love here at VSL and you can still find them in music socials swaying along with each other to their favorite songs.

Carol and Edward Walters - Washington Township
Washington Township resident, Carol Walters and the late, Ed Walters met when Carol was 19 years old.  She was working for a builder and the office she worked in had been burglarized.  Recently promoted to detective, Edward was sent to investigate the scene.  Carol recalls several visits by Ed to the “scene of the crime.”  On the last day of his “investigation” Ed asked Carol out for coffee.  Little did Carol know that Ed did his homework on her.  He checked to see if she had a criminal record, poor driving record or any parking violations!  Carol expressed, “he was a detective, they had access to that stuff!” Thankfully, Carol’s background checked out and on their coffee date Ed asked Carol on an official first date.  Carol agreed; after the date she knew “this was the man she was going to marry”  Carol and Ed dated for eight months and were engaged on Christmas Eve of that same year.  They married in August.  One of the things Carol and Ed loved most to do was play in the snow.  Ed even rolled Carol into a huge snow ball!  Snow was their recreation and common interest.  The night Ed passed away Carol told  Ed to take the angels wings and fly as high as he could and send her a sign when he reached heaven.  After the reception from Ed’s funeral service Carol looked up at the sky, it was snowing; she knew Ed reached his destination.

Johnny and Mary Stevens - West Ridge
The life story of Johnny and Mary Stevens is one of true love, commitment and dedication.
Johnny had watched the attractive school teacher walk to and from the schoolhouse but assumed he wouldn’t have any chance at a date with her.  It wasn’t until someone bet him one dollar to ask her out that he figured he didn’t have anything to lose!  To his surprise, she said yes!
A four year courtship led to a wedding in a simple country church in Siam, Iowa.  The happy couple began their marriage with a honeymoon trip to South Dakota.  Shortly into that trip Mary began to experience pain and fatigue.  Johnny found a doctor who took one look at her and knew he was dealing with a case of polio.  After hearing this, Mary asked Johnny to get their marriage annulled.  Johnny replied, “I told you for better or worse on Sunday.”  Mary would spend the next four and half months in the hospital before she was well enough to return home to farm with Johnny and officially begin their lives together.
Over the next sixty-two years they were  blessed with four children, twelve grandchildren and as of today, twenty-two great grandchildren! 
 Johnny and Mary have lived at Westridge Quality Care and Rehab for nearly two years.  They continue to show all of the staff and visitors what it means to be truly dedicated to the love of your life, for better or worse.

Larry and Myra Edelman - Five Star Premier Residences of Yonkers
This 65 year love story really started 68 years ago, when Larry (A Brooklyn boy) and Myra (A Bronx girl) were set up on a blind date by their two best friends. They thought Larry and Myra would hit it off so they planned a movie date on mutual ground in “Manhattan”.  When Larry first saw Myra, he thought she was too young. Myra was 16 years old and he was 18 at the time. Needless to say, it didn’t work out at that point in time and they didn’t see each other again for 2 years.
While he was renting a beach house with some friends in the Far Rockaways area in New York City the summer of 1949, Myra appeared out of nowhere. She came looking for him. She told him she hadn’t stop thinking about him for the past 2 years. Larry was so surprised by her declaration of affection towards him that he couldn’t let her leave to go back to the Bronx without letting her know how he felt about her at that very moment. He took her in his arms and they shared their first kiss. A year later, they got married in the Bronx in Fordham Plaza. Tomorrow February 4, 2015 they celebrate their 65th wedding Anniversary. The years have taught them to love, care and treasure each other’s company, while still remembering that first kiss on the beach.

Sachiko “Kay” & Kenneth Oard - Terrace at Priceville
Kay was a young Japanese girl, still living at home in Japan.  She attended school at night and worked in the personnel department where her uncle worked. Between school and work, Kay had little time for a social life.
          Kenneth was a handsome American GI who worked in the law office when he noticed quiet, pretty Kay.  One day he brought donuts to the lunchroom where Kay and her coworkers were taking a break.  He discovered Kay liked donuts and soon was bringing ‘one donut and one cup of coffee’ just for her.  Kay said he was very good looking in his uniform with two stripes on it.  Plus, she really liked the donuts!
          A romance blossomed and bloomed and though very much in love the young couple faced many difficulties due to their backgrounds.  Kay grew up in a strict Japanese culture.  Kenneth was an American GI in occupied Japan.  Her family had reservations about this young man and his GI buddies had strong feelings against the Japanese.  It had not even been a decade since Pearl Harbor.  Neither side liked the idea of American GIs marrying Japanese girls. Often it was the wives of the GIs who were most cruel.
          In the end, in 1952, despite all odds, the couple wed, lived in government housing and eventually made their home in America.  They were a devoted, loving couple who travelled the world together.  They were married 56 years when Kenneth passed.  Kay says she is “still married”.

Rosie and Jacques Leibman - Five Star Premier Residences of Teaneck
“Portrait of My Love”
You left me four years ago, and to me it is like yesterday.
I remember mostly your sense of humor. You had a knack for portraying the idiosyncrasies of people who caught your interest by making clever cartoons captivating the essence of their peculiarities.  You could imitate so well the quirks of the people you worked with, friends and neighbors, but never maliciously.
You always laughed so heartily that everyone had to join you.
You were always in great demand in office and family parties.
Your family was not spared; you gave us all funny nicknames, describing our kids’ personalities.  For example, my oldest one being finicky you called “Fingers” since he hated to touch anything that might be sticky or slightly soiled.  Our sunny daughter who likes to laugh you called “LOL”.  My other son who was careless with his things you called “Casse Tout”, that means breaks everything.  My youngest one who liked to be well dressed you called “Spiffy” and so on.  All these nicknames were always accompanied with a smile and now remembered with fondness.
Although you never said “I LOVE YOU”, you always did little things to please me.  For instance, you knew my love for mangoes and although it was hard to peel and quarter, you would prepare them for me every morning at breakfast.  There were the little surprises for my birthdays, cards you created with cartoons and loving words, etc.
You were my best friend, no topics were taboo, and we could read each other’s minds.
I miss you and no one will ever replace you in my memories and my heart.

Louis and Stella Perez - Tiffany Court
Louis and I met during my senior year in high school. I was eighteen, he was a twenty-three year old  WWll veteran who had served in the Navy in the Pacific. He was tall, dark and handsome and looked great in jeans! Best of all he had a car and a job. We would go out on dates on Saturday nights to the movies in downtown Los Angeles. Curfew was set at 11pm by my dad.
Louis escorted me to my senior prom. Louis also enjoyed photography, so when my parents gave my sister and I a trip to Mexico,  Louis gave me helpful instructions on how to operate a complicated Minolta camera. Surprisingly, the photos came out great.
He would drive his car to my school at the end of classes and drive along side me as I walked to catch the street car. He wouldn't offer me a ride because he respected my parent’s rules.
Louis purchased two Hollywood premier tickets to see "Viva Zapata" starring Marlon Brando. The event felt like we were celebrities.  
We married on November 2, 1952. Three years later we walked into our first home carrying our three month old daughter Virginia in my arms. The following year we had our son Michael.
We often vacationed at Yosemite, set up tents and slept in sleeping bags on top of rocks. Oh my aching back.
In August 2014, we moved into Tiffany Court. We celebrated our sixty-second anniversary the same year. 

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