Two textbook definitions of the word romance are a love affair and an ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love.
Al and Audrey Zeiss, Milwaukee, Ransom Township demonstrate it with a courtship that led to a lifetime of dedication.
I don't know when we finally decided we were meant for each other, said Audrey. He just said we were going to get married. He set the date.
Al is 95 and Audrey, 90 and they have been married for more than seven decades. Seventy-two years to be exact.
As they reminisced about their courtship on a wintry February day, Al said, I knew her and we sang in the choir. We had similar interests. She was a member of the choir and we usually sang on Sunday mornings and for special events. I think that's what drew us together.
Audrey added, We belonged to the youth group and that's how our romance started.
In January 1939, they had their first date together while celebrating Al's 21st birthday. We had a friend in Wilkes-Barre who invited us down, said Al. I asked her to go with me and that was our first date, he said.
But Al had another girlfriend at the time, but she had to play basketball that night, said Audrey, so he asked her if he could take me and she said yes. I went and I guess she was sorry afterward…But it didn't end our friendship (with her friend), said Audrey.
Their dates typically fell on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and occasionally they went to the movies together.
Al loved the prompt nature of his sweetheart.
It seemed when I went to her house, she was always ready, he said.
Audrey said it was obvious that he had her heart, I was always there. I never had a boyfriend… I lost my mother when I was about 12 and I took care of the house…when he came along it was something I needed and wanted.
They married Nov. 9, 1940, the day after Audrey's birthday, in what was then the Milwaukee United Methodist Church with 50 to 75 guests on hand. She was 18 and her groom was 22.
From 1942 to 1943, Al took a job in construction in Bermuda and Audrey stayed at home.
I was a carpenter, he said. There was an agreement (President) Roosevelt made with England that gave them 50 destroyers with the right to fortify seven bases through the Caribbean and up to Bermuda, he added.
After his return from Bermudahe enlisted and served for two and a half years in the Navy with Construction Battalion, CB.
We lived on letters, said Audrey, who was able to travel to spend some time with Al, then stationed in Virginia and Rhode Island. I had never been away from here.
Home from the service in 1945, Al and Audrey welcomed a son, Gary in 1946.
The new father attended Penn State University on the GI Bill and earned a Bachelor's and Master's Degrees and taught at Kingston High School.
Audrey worked in the cafeteria at Newton Ransom Elementary School for 17 years.
The couple raised five children together: Gary, Richard (deceased), Kirk, Kevin and Tara.
Currently, their together time includes shopping for groceries once a week and working on daily crossword puzzles.
I take one and she takes the other. Then we exchange them, so between the two of us we finish it, said Al.
They enjoy individual pursuits as well. Audrey, a football enthusiast, knits and cares for her three cats. Al spends time attending church services.
The partners offer heartfelt descriptions of what they love most about each other.
If we had something, we tried to work it out. She was cooperative, said Al.
He has always been here when I've needed anything, said Audrey.
To have your love story or special anniversary considered for a feature in an upcoming edition of The Abington Journal, send name, contact info, anniversary date and details to Editor Kristie Ceruti, kgrier@theabington journal.com, call 585.1604, visit the Abington Journal, 211 S. State Street, Clarks Summit, PA 18411.