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Love Stories of Commonwealth 2022

By: Commonwealth Senior Living / 14 Feb 2022

Palma, and her husband, Anthony, have known each other since they were 13 years old and were high school sweethearts. When Anthony first asked Palma for her hand in marriage, she denied him saying he needed to get himself together first. After he got a good job, she said yes! They were married at the age of 22 in 1943. They had two girls together and their first home was in Bronx, New York. Palma said "We were just your normal couple that went through all the trials and tribulations." They were married for 59 years!Byrd & JohnnyByrd and her husband, Johnny, met when they carpooled together to Goldey-Beacom College. They got married in 1958 and were married for 61 years. Their favorite dates were going to Oriental Gardens and dancing their hearts away! Byrd said, "He could dance as fast as I wanted him to and thats why I married him." Their first home was in Richmond, Virginia, and together they had three beautiful girls.itty-bitty"My name is Itty Bitty, but you can call me Bits for short. When I was just a little puppy, a nice lady saw me at a market and decided she needed to bring me home. After all, I am adorable! When she got home, her husband said under no terms could she keep me. She was devastated, but when they went to a family gathering the next day, they brought me. I was introduced to the man's mother and it was love at first sight for both of us. She had kind, blue eyes and we both had eyes for no other. The woman's husband, "the judge," said under no terms could she keep me. But after a family intervention, the kids all said, "Dad, Mom needs a dog!" The judge got overruled and I found the love of my life. Within a week, I found out the judge was all bark and no bite, and that I had it made!

I spent 10 joyous years being pampered, sitting in laps, working at a book shop, and going everywhere my mom went. It was heaven! Now, my mom and dad were getting older, and the day came when we lost the judge. More time went by and Mom needed a little help, so we both moved to CSL Front Royal. Mom had a lovely apartment and made many friends, so I did too! It was an adjustment, but I still went everywhere mom did. If mom left the apartment without me, I would bark. After all, I'd never been parted from her before. The kind, dog-loving folks at Commonwealth found a special place for me at the door of the dining room where I could still see Mom and greet all the other residents as they came and went.

This is where I got to spend time with Finley. Finley is a black Poodle who was working here when I moved in. His person is the Programming Director, Susan. Everyone held their breath because neither of us like other dogs, but we made our peace with each other, and he showed me the ropes of how to wait at the dining room door. As time went on, I began to look for him when I saw his person. She told me she was on to me and knew I liked Finley. I told her, "Yeah, but just don't tell him!"

We had a great couple of years until Mom could no longer take me outside. The associates and my sister would take me when they could, but when they got busy, a nice lady named Nannie Joyce would volunteer to take me on my walks. I settled into living with my mom and Nannie Joyce. Then, the day came when I devastatingly lost my mom like the judge. Although Nannie Joyce loved me, she didn't want the responsibility full time. Susan and the other residents couldn't stand to think I would no longer be around the community. So Susan told me if I was willing, she'd take me home to live with her, Finley, Finley's dad, Ginger, their ancient Shih Tzu, and a cat. She said I could go from being a resident at Commonwealth, to being an employee and still see all my friends, including Nannie Joyce. I told her I was intrigued by the offer and would like to try it. She asked my family and they graciously and gratefully accepted.

So off I went to the farm for a second time. Finley came outside to greet me and gave me a tour of the backyard. Mom gave me a tour of the house and when she showed me the king-sized bed, it was unlike anything I'd seen. She says she's never seen a Shih Tzu stretch out as much as I do! I slept through the night with my new family because I wanted to make a good impression. I knew I was here on trial, so Finley and I have come to terms. After all, we both want to be the top dog, but we've learned how to share.

It didn't take long before I settled right into my new life. I had a new mom and dad to love, a dog brother, a dog sister, and I was terribly intrigued by the cat, who is now also my friend. I'm now an employee of Commonwealth Senior Living and get go visit my friends. The best part is I get to spend my days with Nannie Joyce, who still lovingly takes me on long walks, I still get to see my sister who takes me for my hair appointments, and although my new mom says I'm "slumming it" living with a Commonwealth's Attorney, instead of a judge, I've found love again!"Terry & RuthToday we'd like to share with you the story of a Marine and his love! In March of 1970, Terry O'Neill came from early from serving in Vietnam. His high school buddy, Charlie, took him to visit his sister and her roommate, Ruth. Little did Terry know Charlie and his sister were playing matchmaker! When Terry was introduced to Ruth, they hit it off. Terry asked Ruth what she'd like to do for their first date, and she said she'd like to find a lounge with dance music! This was no easy feat on a Tuesday, but with the help of Charlie, they found one. Ruth remembers that on their first date, Terry, who at this time had been in the Marine Corps for 12 years, told her that "the woman I marry needs to know I'm going to be a full-time Marine for at least eight more years" and she thought, "Okaaaaay."

On their second date, Terry told Ruth he was being transferred to Quantico. They'd been on two dates in the two weeks before Terry had to leave, but Ruth was getting her master's degree in education and couldn't go with him. She asked if he would like for her to write him, and he told her he would be back every weekend. He kept his word and she picked him up at the airport each weekend. Not only did he visit each weekend, but Ruth also received a letter from him every day!

In May, two months later, Terry told Ruth, "Don't be surprised at what I got you for your birthday." It was an emerald ring, her birthstone! Terry then took Ruth to meet his family. He excused himself from the family dining table to get some cream and when he came back, he told his mom, "This is the girl I'm going to marry." This was the first Ruth had heard of this and she confronted Terry in the car on the way back to her apartment. She said, "You never told ME anything about the girl you were going to marry!" Terry detoured to the Holiday Inn where they went to the lounge, got a drink, and there he proposed to her properly. The weekends were short, but they got in a visit to Ruth's family as an engaged couple that same weekend.

By July, Terry called Ruth to come to the Quantico area to see a home he wanted to buy from another service member who was transferring. While she was visiting, he took her to go pick out their engagement and wedding ring sets, making it official. On the way back, they stopped at the National Shrine and picked up some souvenirs. They were back in the car and home when Ruth realized the wedding sets were not in her purse! They called the souvenir shop and found the rings were there, but they wouldn't be open because it was Sunday. When they did retrieve the rings, Terry told Ruth to pin them to her bra before flying home to make sure they'd get there safely!

They planned on getting married in December but flying back and forth was beginning to be too much, so they decided on a new wedding date. Terry wanted to wait another week, but Ruth put her foot down and said that wasn't enough time, so they settled on October 3rd. They had a lovely wedding in Harsens Island, Michigan. Charlie was the best man and secretly taped "Help Me" to the bottom of Terry's shoes, so when he knelt at the altar, the whole wedding congregation saw and started snickering!

After honeymooning in Montreal, Ruth moved to Stafford, and then were transferred to Connecticut where they had their first son. Terry and Ruth have been making each other laugh for 51 wonderful years of marriage. They've had their trials, but always had a lot of support from their families and friends. They say the secret to their success is that they both had the same background, a commitment to God through Catholicism, commitment to commitment, and commitment to each other. Terry says for a long, successful marriage, "You have to work at it," and Ruth says, "The woman's portion is 90% of the trying!"finleyFinley is a black Poodle who loves everyone, but isnt so sure about other dogs. He just celebrated his 10th birthday with all his friends at the community this January. He starts his day by greeting anyone in the lobby, residents and associates alike. All he has to do is walk in the door and folks magically appear to greet him. He enjoys the managers morning meetings and has a special affinity for Angela, our Business Office Manager, who is our community dog whisperer. Okay, truth be told, she, our hairdresser, and several residents keep treats for him, but Angela is remarkable with all visiting dogs! Its a good thing we take lots of walks around the building to work off all those doggie treats!

Another person Finley will particularly seek out is Chris, our housekeeper. He tells his mom that Chris gives the best massages each day he visits! One day, while Andrew, CSL Front Royal Executive Director was away, Finley decided to promote himself and sat in his chair. Andrew, upon seeing the photographic evidence that hed been replaced, said he would love to change jobs with Finley!

Hes quiet, knows hes not allowed in the dining room, kitchen, or anyones suite when not invited. Yes, he will sit at a door and wait to be invited in to visit, but just like a vampire, once you invite him in, he knows you like dogs and may just stop by for an impromptu visit! He loves going to exercise classes and will go visit with all our dog lovers, getting pats and belly rubs. He does tend to nap through exercise class, much to the amusement of our residents, but he still goes over and greets each and every resident who attends. If only we could get him to call Bingo!

Finley works with his mom, Susan, CSL Front Royal Program Director, and visits most days unless the community is traveling. The only time he "talks" is in the morning when his mom asks if he wants to go to work. If he does, he will "woo woo woo" and jump in the chair to get his harness on. If hes tired from a few days of work and decides to take the day off, hell lay on the couch silently. Hes worked in assisted living for 8 of his 10 years. If we do go on outings that are dog friendly, residents usually jockey to see who gets to sit with Finley on the bus, and yes, he does have his own car seat! Many of our residents are dog lovers and had poodles in particular. They love being able to see, pet, and play with Finley, but not have the responsibility of owning their own dog.

Finley loves his life that is filled with great doggy purpose! He has become everyones emotional support pup, which is a job he really enjoys, but he does get his down time in the Programming Office with his own water bowl and little bed. After a quick nap, hes off and running again to meet and greet anyone he comes across.Robert-Mary-Alice"I had moved back home after graduating college to save enough money to live my dream of living on a warm beach with my dogs. It was my plan to marry late in life, past the point of having kids, because I was the built-in babysitter for my much younger sister and was never one to play with baby dolls anyway. You know the old saying, 'Be careful what you wish for?' I remember a night when I was unhappy with the direction and uncertainty of my life and spent it praying. I wanted to meet the man I would eventually marry - emphasis on eventually! But God has a sense of humor and the very next day, the guy I was seeing called and asked if a new guy in town could go to dinner with us. He didn't know anyone, and I knew everyone, so maybe I could find someone for him, so I said sure.

That same night, I went to my first practice for our Little Theatre's production of 'The Fantasticks' where this guy playing the part of El Gallo was badly flirting with me. The whole cast noticed and was amused. Instead of being put off, I found it charming and thought it could be a problem for the relationship I was in at the time. At the end of practice, he got in this funny little car and was following me into town. It was starting to creep me out until he parked behind me, and my boyfriend came out and said, 'Good, you got here at the same time! I'd like you to meet John.'

The three of us hung out over the summer and I even introduced John to my college roommate. Little Theatre was putting on another play, so John and I both auditioned and got the parts. It was for 'Same Time Next Year.' This was a two person play with lots of dialogue, so we had to spend lots of time together running lines. We spent time over the summer talking and getting to know each other. He was a hand-kisser and he kept animal crackers in his pantry for me. How can you not love that?

Technically, I guess you could say I accidently proposed first. There is a part of the play where the lead female proposed to the lead male character. We got to that part and John asked if I was running lines, or if I was serious. Before my brain even engaged, I instinctually said, 'What would you say if I said I was serious?' It wasn't a conscious thought until it came out of my mouth. I had to unpack that, and thought, yeah, I think I was serious. He said nothing.

That weekend, I went to the beach with my family. When I got back, he said he missed me, and asked me to marry him! A week after that, we had our first official date. We planned to get married in the spring, but the guest list was 250 and neither of us had invited anyone we wanted yet. I would pass his church and my knees started knocking. Now, I'm not a terribly superstitious person, but in our family, the tradition has been the bigger the wedding, the sooner the divorce. My grandparents eloped and they were married over 60 years. John had been the one to want the big wedding, I was in favor of eloping. I wore him down on moving up the wedding date because in the fall, he got mono and ended up weak and in the hospital. When he got home, I was visiting him morning, noon, and night to make sure he had something to eat. I asked him again if he was sure he didn't want to elope, and he finally said okay.

We had the full formal elopement. We got married at my church after the Thanksgiving service. I wore my dress, and my best friend came with her boyfriend, who took our pictures. We also had both our preachers to tie a double hard knot. When the announcement went out in the paper, Dad said his phone rang off the hook because everyone was mad that they weren't invited to our wedding. He just defused the situation by replying, 'Neither were we!' We honeymooned in Charleston, South Carolina, which is a special place for us. That was 33 years and two children ago. I asked John if he had any advice on how to stay married and he took a moment and said, 'No.' We both laughed because I couldn't think of anything either except for keeping God first and making time for each other. To get any better than that, I guess we'll have to wait until we've been married 50 years to impart the wisdom our residents have now."Robert-Mary-Alice-1024x500Robert's older brother passed at a young age, leaving a hole in his life. His brother's friend filled that hole as his adopted brother. Robert grew up in the Church of Christ, but religion was never really discussed between his parents and his adopted brother as he was Catholic. When Robert joined him for mass once, he said he got the feeling that "God was present." This led him to a 12 year conversion to Catholicism, which brings us to Mary Alice.

Robert was a graduate at the University of Oregon studying Old & Middle English when he met Mary Alice in the dining hall. Mary Alice was also a graduate student at the university, and they lived in the same complex. They found they had a lot in common. She was waiting for a church member to pick her up, and Robert asked if he could tag along. They both went to church and at the end of the service, Robert asked if he could drive her home. They sat in the parking lot for two hours and found they were even on the same college track. He told her, "You're an intelligent lady. It took me 12 years to be converted. I'll give you seven." They spent lots of time together climbing the Cascades and going to the beach.

When Robert met Mary Alice, he was in a long-term relationship with someone else. She traveled a lot, so she wasn't around much. Robert had thought of Mary Alice as a great friend, but when she went to France for a year and a half, he put it together that he was okay with his "girlfriend" not being around much, but he couldn't go without Mary Alice! He broke it off with his girlfriend while Mary Alice was in France. While she was there, they wrote each other. Mary Alice was just getting back when Robert began as a tutor for a rich family with two young daughters while they toured Europe and the Middle East for an academic year. When they returned home to New York for Christmas break, Mary Alice invited Robert home to Arkansas to meet her family. They went out with her sister and sister's boyfriend for dinner, and the boyfriend proposed! While this was making Robert feel a bit awkward, it did get him thinking.

When Robert go back to his tutoring job in New York, he thought he'd missed his opportunity. So before he could chicken out, he called Mary Alice and proposed over the phone. When she said yes, he danced around the 5th Avenue apartment with the cat! Mary Alice says she really liked Robert from he very beginning and just bided her time while he was figuring it out. When he finally proposed, she says she thought it was about time!

They were married on June 29th of 1973 in New York City, and the family Robert had tutored for graciously allowed them to have the reception at their apartment for all 12 guests. They honeymooned at Niagara Falls and took a road trip across the country. As Robert hadn't finished his dissertation yet, Mary Alice read him the book he was going to use for it on the road in the Great Plains! They worked their way back to the University of Oregon in Eugene, and there had their first of three children. Robert did finish his dissertation in one year! They then moved to Michigan, where he worked for the Middle English Dictionary. Eventually, they moved to Front Royal, Virginia to work for Christendom College.

As for advice on how to stay married for 48 years, Robert says to "depend on God and to take the sacrament of marriage seriously." and Mary Alice says "marriage takes patience." After all, that's how she got her man!Love-Stories-2022Don & Pat Brookman celebrated 25 years of marriage in November at CSL Radford! Some of their favorite memories have been good times spent with family and summers at Claytor Lake. Their advice for a happy marriage is to "wake up every morning and kiss one another and always be sure to make some positive remarks about the other person."Earl and Evalene moved into CSL Radford in November of 2020 and Earl wanted to share his happy memories of their 47 years of marriage. They met at a Solo Parents dance in Radford and after a short courtship, they got married on February 22nd in 1974. In addition to dancing, they enjoyed activities like hiking, camping, picnicking, and traveling, including trips to Alaska, Hawaii, and winters in Florida. Earl and Evalene also loved posing for amusing photos taken by their photographer niece, Joyce. This photo was taken on an outing to Claytor Lake where they enjoyed spending time and hiking.love-storiesThis is the story of how they met from Sarah: "My daddy had a grocery story years ago and the men would gather there to talk. They had a place to sit and tell their tales. I was working in the grocery store and waiting on customers when Ed came in. He was back from the service. He started looking at me and I was looking at him and thought he looked pretty nice. Once thing led to the next with us both making eyes at each other!" Sarahs marriage advice is to "Tell them how much you appreciate them." Eds advice is "Keep your mouth shut when you should!" This photo was taken in Florida.loveClara would like to share the story of two of her most memorable dates! She says, "Ill never forget my ride for my first date - a Ford Model T Coupe. It was a double date, so we sat in the rumble seat! Another date Ill never forget is when I was dating this guy and we had gone out to dinner. His friends were all cutting up on the way home and they hadnt shut the car door properly. We went around a curve and suddenly I rolled out of the car! I was fine, but I dont think he got another date after that!"storiesThis is the story of how Karen met her husband, Snapper. She says, "I took a job working for him at State Farm. Shortly after I went to work for him, he went away for a long trip and when he walked back through the door he had grown a very slight beard, a moustache, and his hair was down in his eyes. It was from that moment I knew I was in love with him. I still get the feeling when I think about it. It gives me goosebumps!"Love-Stories-2022Juanitas daughter, Sara, shared this memory of her parents with us:
"My parents were very romantic. So many of my cousins have told me what a devoted couple they were and how they were all jealous of them. I had a happy childhood, secure in the knowledge that my parents loved me and each other, and now that Im older, I know what a huge gift that is. It takes a while to realize it, since you just take it all for granted when youre a kid."Love-Stories-2022-1-1024x500"Just before we were married, Riley was bringing me home one night. We lived way back in the country, so he had to stop the car on the main road and walk me up to the house since the driveway wasnt paved. It was dark and the porch light hadnt gone on yet. There was an old apple tree by the driveway and it was blooming all over. We stopped under the tree for a minute to get mud off our feet. His arms went around me and thats where I got my first kiss, under the old apple tree! I can still just look up and see the way his face looked, now close to 66 years later!"Lois says, "The best date I ever had was at the Grand Canyon. I had a ski shop and we were out at Las Vegas for a ski show. We decided since we were close, wed drive to the Grand Canyon. If you dont believe in God, go to the Grand Canyon - its unbelievable. When we got to the North Rim, there was still snow on the ground. We pulled out our cross country skis and skied along the edge until finally one of the Park Rangers caught us. He stopped us and said it was against the law to ski there! So we had to stop, but we had an incredible time!"This is Bettys love story as told by her daughter, Marcella:
"My mother and father were introduced by a friend of her family. Mom was still in high school, but it was love at first sight for both of them. My father attended college and then went to serve in the Korea War as a medic in the Army. They had a long distance courtship via what we call snail mail today! After his tour of duty was up, they ran off and got married in Giles County with my grandmothers permission. My mother wore this beautiful blue dress that I still have and Im sure it made my dads blue eyes sparkle! In retirement, my parents opened Precision Golf in Bluefield, Virginia. My brother moved back to be the golf pro, teaching children and adults to love and learn the game of golf. Precision Golf became my mothers life and work. She was the bookkeeper and was known for bringing in goodies shed baked. She also repaired grips on golf clubs and would laugh and say she might be the owner, but her title was mainly Gopher! After my brother passed in 2012 and my father went home to be with the Lord in 2017, we sold the shop, but the sign is still up in College Avenue shopping plaza. It was open for 26 years! I believe my mom was a lot stronger and braver than she gives herself credit for. In July, my parents would have been married for 65 years - what an incredible journey!"love-stories-2022-4-1536x749Jay says one of his and Janies most memorable days was "right after we started dating when I was teaching Janie to drive, she whipped around a curve and turned the car over! Her uncle was the Sheriff and he came out to help, but he wasnt very nice. He thought I was drunk and she shouldnt be driving!" Recalling the same date, Janie says, "Jay wanted me to drive the car and he was teaching me. Hed say, Go a little faster, so I did. Then all of a sudden, he said, Turn here! so I did and it rolled the car. And my little turtle named Aloysius was in the car and he escaped. All in all, Id say I learned how to drive very well!"Love-Stories-2022This is Doris story told by her daughter, Sandy: "My mom and dad met on a blind date with friends. They went to the drive in. Then one night, on a date, Dad asked Mom if she wanted to get married. They continued to talk and discuss how theyd get by and be able to buy a house. My dads cousin cried during the whole wedding because she thought Mom was taking Dad away from her! Every year until last year, Dad would order flowers for Mom on Valentines Day, Easter, their anniversary, and her birthday."Love-StoriesThis is the love story of Preston and Carol Kellam, or "PC" and "Mickey." It began in October of 1964 when PC was in the service in Germany and Mickey and her three friends were touring Europe. They met at the Mannheim train station and again at Wiesbaden, Germany, at the U.S. Air Force Hospital where Mickey worked as an RN. PC eventually asked Mickey out and they started dating. In December of 1964, PC gave Mickey a ring and she immediately put it on her finger. In February of 1965, PC was sent back home to New York City and retired from the service. By the end of the month, Mickey flew into the D.C. airport where PC picked her up to visit his parents in Exmore. On March 19, 1965, they went to Snowhill, Maryland and got married, then traveled to Dunnville, Canada to meet Mickeys parents. They moved to Exmore, Virginia, where Mickey continued her career as an RN and PC started work on his fathers farm. They then moved to their home in Silver Beach, Virginia, where they raised their three beautiful daughters, Peggy, Julie, and Susan.

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