Couple marks 70 years of wedded bliss

DOWNEY - Laura and Dave Quintana, who have lived in Downey for more than 60 years, marked their 70th wedding anniversary June 1 with a celebration in White Plains, N.Y., with their daughter and grandchildren. Their love story began more than 70 years ago on a blind date in Los Angeles.Laura and Dave sized each other up on their first date. Laura, now 99, said, "He was so shy and he wasn't fresh like most of the boys I dated who wanted to feel you up!" Dave, now 97, retorted, "She had the cutest dimples. I loved her dimples." So in the rumble seat of a Model A Ford, they double dated with Dave's childhood friend and his date. Recalling their first date experience, Dave remembered, "We went to a local restaurant that had really strange green mercury lighting over the tables. It was a wonder we continued to see each other. The green lighting took away our appetites. Laura looked like an alien under that lighting." Laura agrees: "Who wanted to eat? He looked sick!" Still, the attraction was there and their love grew from that first date in November, 1939 until June 1, 1940, when they were married in Los Angeles. The next 70 years went by very quickly. The couple bought a home in 1952 in Downey, and were never apart except for a short period of time when Dave was sent to Connecticut and West Virginia in the early 1960s by his aeronautics employer (North American, which has since merged into Lockheed International). In Downey, they raised their two children, Alice and Mary-Ellen, who both attended elementary through 12th grade in Downey. Two years ago Alice succumbed to ovarian cancer and they were left only with Mary-Ellen, who lived in New York. When Dave broke his hop in a fall last summer, Mary-Ellen knew she would have to do something to keep them safe and she refused to put them in a nursing home. "They may have poor short-term memories and be physically fragile, but they have their wits about them, keen long-term memories of events and people, and a love for life that I want my children to know," said Mary-Ellen of her parents. "So, kicking and screaming, I moved them to New York during spring break with the help of my two 14-year-old kids, D.J. and Anastasia." Which is why Dave and Laura celebrated their anniversary not in Downey but in White Plains. "We toasted with champagne and remembered all those years that went by so fast," said Dave. "We also ate a wonderful dinner without any green mercury lights!" As to the trick for being married 70 years? "I think don't hold a grudge, keep yourself busy and don't forget your family," said Laura. "If you have problems, and we all do, work it out."

********** Published: June 9, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 8