Young and in love: high school sweethearts

DOWNEY - "Love is a many-splendored thing."Well, at least that's what The Four Aces professed to swooning American crowds in the late 1950s. Tina Turner, on the other hand, belted out "what's love got to do with it" while Foreigner lead man Lou Gramm romantically confessed "I want to know what love is." Although R&B diva Mariah Carey had a "vision of love," British pop rocker Robert Palmer was severely "addicted to love," and by 2003, The Black Eyed Peas, featuring Justin Timberlake, poignantly asked, "Where is the love?" As couples all around the country prepare to celebrate another Valentine's Day, two Downey high school sweethearts say the holiday simply reminds them of what the four-letter word truly means: trust. Luis and Kathy Gonzalez, who just happen to share the same last name, met in 2007. It was their freshman year at Downey High School and during a 5th period English class, the two students started talking. Soon, Luis, 18, learned that someone in the class like him. It didn't take him long to figure it out. "I already knew," he said with a smile. "She turned back every five seconds." "I thought you were funny back then," quipped Kathy, 17. "He was really cute. I actually imagined that he could be my boyfriend one day." However, unable to date until her 16th birthday, Luis Gonzalez waited several months for Kathy and the two have been together ever since. "I like that I can trust him, he's respectful and I can be myself around him," she said. "I don't have to be someone else…My mom loves him - he's very close to our family." Communication is a key for the young couple who utilizes technology everyday to keep in touch, from good night phone calls to good morning text messages. When the occasional argument arises, Luis maintains he tries to be the first to say the magic words. "I'm the one who says sorry," he said jovially. "But it's always my fault." "It is," chuckled Kathy. "We get over it pretty fast though…we're not tired of each other yet, it's still new. We still have that spark." While much has changed in Downey through the years, the dating scene remains pretty much unscathed. Luis and Kathy keep it simple, dinner and a movie. "We still have the parental thing so we have limited options," Kathy said. "This will be the first year we'll be able to do something for Valentine's Day." While others believe Valentine's Day is an artificial holiday created for commercial gain, both Luis and Kathy find value in it as a day to express and define love. "Love is when someone's there for you, showing that they love me and she's there for me," said Luis. "I think love is not just holding hands, it's being there," said Kathy turning towards Luis. "It's a good morning text, a rose - the little details make up the big thing of love. Valentine's Day is the one day a year you can go all out. You can make up for the rest of the year by showing how much you care, how much you love them." This year, Luis and Kathy Gonzalez are seniors at Downey High School and hope to continue their relationship throughout college. "In five years, who knows, we may move in together," said Luis. "But we're happy where we are right now."

********** Published: February 03, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 42