Valley Heights Senior Community residents Marie and Walter Love have enjoyed 76 years of marriage.
Local couple celebrates a lifetime together
WATSONVILLE — Seventy-six years ago in Kansas, 22-year-old Walter Love and 19-year-old Marie met, beginning a love affair that would carry them through World War II, three children, retirement and now life together in a retirement home.
This year they celebrated Walter Love's 99th birthday mere weeks before sharing their 76th Valentine's Day together. Reminiscing, they recalled what brought them to the altar within a year after meeting all those years ago.
"He was tall and handsome," Marie Love said, eyes twinkling.
"She was a good looking gal, it looked to be a good deal — and it has been," Walter Love followed.
"We fell in love..." Marie Love said.
A finely framed photograph owned by the Loves shows the pair at the altar, a couple apparently very much in love, caught enthralled in each other.
"I made my dress — me and my cousin," Marie Love said. "My dad gave me the money — it cost $6 — and she spent the week with me working on it."
Reassured with the knowledge that they shared similar ideals, soon they were married and living on a multi-purpose dairy. But with the war, managing the diverse farm became difficult, and after having their first son, they made the decision to move to California.
"It was hard to get help, the farm had a little bit of everything," she said. "We came here and settled in Watsonville in 1947. Walter bought a truck and hauled hay from the valley."
They had two more children, all of whom stayed close by. And their love has not wavered.
"You just don't do anything to knock it down," Walter Love said. "One thing about being together this long, we have a pretty good idea of what the other person wants."
Sharing a home at Valley Heights Senior Rental Community, they hold hands, play cards — Walter works on needlepoints. Retired in 1982, the pair has traveled to 48 states and around the country twice in their RV before settling down again. But not before Walter Love had the chance to golf at the most northern golf course in Fairbanks, Alaska.
"I like his gentleness, his steadfastness," Marie Love said. "He is kind, I think he is very wise. He gives me freedom — he wants me to do what I want to do and never complains. That's important I think."
And those traits are part of why she said they have been so successful in love. But beyond not complaining, she said there is more to it.
"You need to be pretty sure he is the right guy for you, fits your personality and that you share similar interests," Marie Love advised. "We stay well centered around family and church — faith has a lot to do with it I think."
And as far as being together for 76 years, the couple is nonplussed.
"Things have been pretty easy, we get along pretty good," Walter Love said.
"It's not everybody that can celebrate 76 years," Marie Love said. "If the next 76 years would be as good as the last 76, we'd be alright with that."
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