As it turned out, Andy had a child of his own.
“I loved her the minute I looked at her,” Andy says. “I knew I was going to marry her, and I told her so. We lived together to make sure. I used to serenade her with my guitar, sitting on the back bumper of her car.”
After three years together, they got married. They’ve lived in Lemon Grove for the past 19 years and are now grandparents.
“We’ve made it because of good communication,” Debbie says. “There’s no jealousy.”
“And trust,” adds Andy.
Sam Bracamonte, 17, met Jennifer Fornario, 21, through a mutual friend. Sam is on home study with Mount Miguel High School, while Jennifer looks for a job. Both live in Spring Valley. Together for four months, they can’t remember where they met.
“I think it was at a mall,” Jennifer says.
“Yeah,” agrees Sam. “Or a party.”
Neither took long to fall in love.
“He’s hot,” says Jennifer. “I thought that immediately.”
“It was the same thing,” says Sam. “She’s hot.”
When asked if they think they have a future together, Sam says, “Yeah,” and Jennifer nods in agreement.
Marge Behrendt, 62, and her husband Jim, 63, live in San Carlos. They met in Chicago in 1957 just after Jim had enlisted in the Marine Corps.
“I was 17,” says Marge. “He was so handsome.”
“When she saw me, she fainted just from looking at me!” says Jim. “My mother tried to fix me up with this friend of hers, Linda. Linda was going to show me off to her friend Marge, and when Marge fainted, I had to carry her into the house. She was out like a light! It was like she was slain in the Spirit!”
They both laugh.
“I went on to make fun of her,” says Jim. “I thought she was crazy when she fainted.”
“For the next year or so,” says Marge, “we stayed in touch through letters. He was off in Japan.”
“She wanted to write,” adds Jim, “so we started writing each other, and as a joke, I started putting her letters up on the bulletin board for all the other Marines to see. So another Marine started writing her, and she started sending him boxes of cigars and food, and I got jealous!”
“That’s what I was trying to do!” says Marge.
“After I got out of the Marine Corps,” says Jim, “I didn’t think of her. But one day I said to my mother, ‘Remember that Marge, Linda’s friend? I got a lot of letters from her, and I’d like to go meet her and just talk to her.’ I figured she was married, so I thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll write a letter.’ So I got her address from a friend and wrote to her. She said she wasn’t married, so I drove over to her house and met her. We went on our first date together and saw Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman.”
“Yes,” says Marge. “And five years later we saw the movie!”
“Yeah!” Jim says, laughing. “We steamed up the windows!”
They dated for four months and were married in 1959. After 43 years together, they have six children and ten grandchildren. Marge kept the house for most of their marriage, until Jim, a martial arts instructor, was forced to retire because of bad knees. Now Marge works as a financial unit technician for a local insurance company, while Jim takes care of their apartment and cooks.
“I think what’s made our marriage work is our ability to change,” says Marge. “When we got married, the priest told us, ‘For the rest of your life, everything you have is equally yours. If you only have one piece of bread, you divide it in half, equally.’ Well, we’ve made a game out of that for 43 years. When there’s an apple, we’ll cut it right smack in half. But the idea is to share, and Jim’s more sharing than I am. But you have to change too. When we first got married, we were a typical family, and he didn’t do any household duties. Nothing. And I took care of the kids. But 13 years ago, when I went to work for the first time, things slowly changed. Now I’m working full time, and he’s retired and does all the household duties, and I do nothing. We’ve completely switched roles, and not intentionally. He’s become a better cook than I am, and I’m a darned good cook!”
Jim and Marge are constantly laughing, which seems an essential ingredient of their longevity as a couple. But like other couples, they’ve had their difficulties.
“She had a brother who was about six-four and weighed about 280, and, she used to bully him,” Jim says. “She was a feisty little thing. Anyway, when we first got married, we lived on the third floor — it was actually an attic of this big old house that looked like a castle. We got in an argument, and we started fighting, and we tumbled down three flights of stairs — just like in a cowboy movie. She got me trapped in a little spot and started choking me, and I got scared! But she made a mistake and reached her arm out, and I put her in an armlock, and that was the end of it. But she almost had me. She scared the hell out of me!”
“Irish temper!” explains Marge. “But his humor has saved us a lot of times. I can be so mad at him that I’d be seeing red, and he’ll come out with one sentence, some one-liner out of his head, and I’ll burst out laughing!”
“She can take lots of punishment!” says Jim.
David Lawson, 32, married Traci, 37, three years ago after dating for a little more than a year. David studies computer science at Mesa College, while Traci works as a director of store operations for Charlotte Russe’s corporate office. They live in Serra Mesa.