At True Connection Communities, our residents love sharing their personal stories, especially when it comes to the loves of their lives! And though present times may be challenging, love is something we can all get behind.
We recently celebrated “Forever Young” week at our communities and gave our resident couples the opportunity to renew their wedding vows in intimate, socially distanced ceremonies. Some joined in and others preferred to share photos, sentiments, and advice.
Arbour Square of Harleysville | Pennsylvania
Rose and Bill Santulli
Rose and Bill Santulli met in the seventh grade in Brooklyn, New York, but they were not allowed to date until they both turned 18 years old. Though it was hard for them to patiently wait all those years, it was worth it. As soon as the magic birthday hit for both, their courtship began, and it was full steam ahead for the blissful couple.
On May 19, 1956, at 22 years old, Rose and Bill married in their hometown. In 1979, the pair moved to Pennsylvania and, there, raised their six children. Those six children have given the Santullis the gift of 34 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
The Santullis celebrated their 64 years of marriage by renewing their wedding vows at Arbour Square of Harleysville—the community they’ve called home for almost six years.
Five other couples at Arbour Square joined the Santullis in renewing their marriage vows in a socially distanced ceremony outside. With each couple exchanging personal tributes and words of endearment, it was impossible to ignore all the love floating in the air that day from these lovely couples whose courtships have spanned decades—and lifetimes.
Verena at Gilbert | Arizona
Hazel and Charles Tobias
Hazel and Charles met on a blind dinner date at the home of Alicia, Hazel’s best girlfriend, and Rick, Charles’s shipmate on the USS Pintado SSN (672). Alicia should have known better than to set Hazel up with Charles–Hazel was adamant about not dating sailors, even when she and Alicia lived in the Navy town of San Diego, California. But, after meeting and getting to know Charles during her many visits to see Rick, Alicia thought Charles was as nice and polite as they come, and that’s why Hazel agreed to the date.
At first, Hazel let her preconceived notions of sailors having bad reputations shape her first impression of Charles, which was not good. She told Charles that night that they would never be anything but friends. Charles was unconvinced, and his charming and outgoing personality helped him win her over. The pair quickly became best friends and then began falling in love, sharing their dreams and desires for the future.
Hazel and Charles married on July 26, 1975, less than a year since the night they met. Happily married for 45 years, the couple has two sons and two grandchildren.
Pine Ridge Villas of Shelby | Michigan
Ronald and Esther Thelander
Esther, who was from California, was visiting her sister in Michigan when Esther’s family brought Ron over for Esther to meet. They then went to a Halloween Party with Esther’s niece and nephew who quickly fell in love with Ron. Esther followed suit—the kids loved him, so she figured he must be worth it! They were married on November 18, 1966 and thought it would be fun to participate in a vow renewal ceremony all these years later.
Richard and Helen Gastaldo
Richard was only 15 years old when he met Helen through her cousin. They started dating when they were both 18 years old and working together at Fanny Farmer in downtown Detroit. Helen was a Bonbon Dipper, and Richard was the Head of the Caramel Department. It must have been the perfect match because they were married on September 8, 1951. The couple continues to make each other laugh as often as possible and are always spotted holding hands. Richard was thrilled at the chance to renew his vows with Helen because he would choose her again, and again, and again.
Verena at Bedford Falls | North Carolina
The ladies at Verena at Bedford Falls (our Independent Senior Living in Raleigh, NC) celebrated being “forever young” by sharing wedding photos that spanned decades and throwing a socially distanced bachelorette party, which was the first bachelorette party they had ever been to! Wearing pajamas, the ladies enjoyed champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, and they each completed a beautiful painting with help from a painting instructor via Zoom. They also shared some advice for newlyweds (see the recurring themes?):
- “Don’t go to bed mad at each other. And kiss and hug at bedtime and/or morning, if possible.”
- “Never go to bed angry.”
- “On special occasions, my husband always brought me a gift.”
- “Celebrate the special occasions.”
Marsha and Earl Rose were married on June 18, 1961. The Roses’ advice to newlyweds is, first and foremost, take it day by day. And remember that compromise and forgiveness is important for a successful marriage.
Verena at the Reserve | Virginia
Residents at the Verena at the Reserve also displayed their wedding photos for the community to see. Team members at the Reserve joined in on the fun and brought their actual wedding dresses, which were hung on display. The week was special to so many at the community and brightened up their days. Many ventured down to the display area several times to take a look at the pictures and memorabilia.
At True Connection Communities, our residents discover the freedom to connect more closely with family and friends, engage in exciting new adventures, and are inspired to explore a whole new way of life. To learn more, visit www.TrueConnectionCommunities.com.