END­LESS LOVE

RIDLEY COU­PLE TELL SE­CRETS OF A LONG MAR­RIAGE; THEY ARE CEL­E­BRAT­ING 70 YEARS OF WEDDED BLISS

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Peg DeGrassa pde­[email protected]­tu­ry­media.com Editor of Town Talk, News & Press of Delaware County

RIDLEY TOWN­SHIP >> Do­minic and Ar­ma­jean Lib­er­a­tore don’t seem to quite un­der­stand all of the fuss over Valen­tine’s Day. The cou­ple plans to “just watch tele­vi­sion,” much like they do ev­ery day.

“We don’t need a spe­cial day to show our love,” Do­minic said sim­ply with a smile, as if the en­tire idea of Valen­tine’s Day is only for novices or new­com­ers to the love scene.

The Lib­er­a­tores just cel­e­brated a mile­stone 70 years of mar­riage on Jan. 29. They re­newed their vows on Jan. 27 at St. Rose of Lima Church in Ed­dy­s­tone, in front of a church full of fam­ily and friends who, af­ter­ward, gath­ered at Lehman’s Restau­rant in Ess­ing­ton for a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion. In ad­di­tion to still be­ing happy after seven decades as hus­band and wife, the cou­ple has much to cel­e­brate, in­clud­ing four chil­dren, 13 grand­chil­dren and eight great-grand­chil­dren with one on the way.

Do­minic, 91, and Ar­ma­jean, 86, have built a le­gacy and count­less trea­sured mem­o­ries along the way, and it all started at the Great Leop­ard Skat­ing Rink in Ch­ester.

Do­minic was 20 years old and had just re­turned to his home­town of Ch­ester after serv­ing in the U.S. Army Air Corps dur­ing World War II. While sta­tioned in Cal­i­for­nia at Hamil­ton AFB

“We’ve had re­ally happy years – no prob­lems that I can think of. We al­ways en­joyed ev­ery­thing that we did. Every­where I go, I take her with me. We take care of one an­other.”

— Do­minic Lib­er­a­tore on his 70-year mar­riage to his wife Ar­ma­jean

cated near a roller skat­ing rink, Do­minic said that he per­fected his skat­ing skills and en­joyed “waltz­ing with the girls.” After he was dis­charged, his cousin Al Bruno sug­gested they go over to Ch­ester’s Great Leop­ard Skat­ing Rink, which was lo­cated on the top floor of the Great Leop­ard Farm­ers Mar­ket in an old build­ing on Penn Street, be­tween Fifth and Sixth streets. Bruno said that he had met a girl and asked her out on a date and was go­ing to meet her at the Great Leop­ard.

When the young men ar­rived, Bruno pointed out Ar­ma­jean, as the girl he was meet­ing.

“I re­mem­ber telling my cousin that she was a good-look­ing girl,” stated Do­minic.

Ar­ma­jean, or “Jean” as she is called by ev­ery­one who knows her, had taken the bus to the rink from Mar­cus Hook where she lived. She was 17 years old. Once they ar­rived at the rink, Do­minic re­calls Bruno rush­ing over to him to say that he wasn’t able to skate with Jean be­cause an­other girl­friend of his had un­ex­pect­edly shown up. He asked Do­minic to ask Jean to skate.

“She didn’t know how to roller skate at all,” Do­minic laughed at the mem­ory. “She was fall­ing all over and I had to hold her up. She would sit out dur­ing the waltzes so I could waltz around the rink and then she would come back out on the rink with me to try to skate some more.”

When the skat­ing ses­sion was over, Do­minic of­fered Jean a ride home. His truck only had one seat so he put a box in the truck for her to sit on. He gave her his tele­phone num­ber and said to call him if she de­cided to go skat­ing again and he’d come pick her up. He never heard from her. In an­other week or so, he went back to the roller rink. He looked across the rink, and there she was.

“Why didn’t you call me?” he asked her. “If you want a ride home, I can drive you to­day again.” The rest be­came his­tory.

The cou­ple dated for one year, four months.

“I just thought the world of her,” Do­minic shared with a smile. “And she was a good cook!”

“He was al­ways a nice per­son,” Jean added. “He was very good to me. Back then and now, he al­ways took good care of me.”

“One day, I said, ‘let’s get mar­ried’ and she said ‘OK,’” Do­minic stated, again with sim­plic­ity.

Nei­ther Do­minic nor Jean , who both at­tended Ch­ester High School, could re­mem­ber where this pro­posal took place and no ring or fan­fare were in­volved.

“That’s the way ev­ery­thing was back then, plain and sim­ple,” ex­plained Do­minic.

The cou­ple was mar­ried in Elk­ton, Md., by a jus­tice of the peace. Al Bruno, the cousin who had brought them to­gether, stood as their wit­ness. Soon after, they were mar­ried by a priest at Saint An­thony’s Church in Ch­ester, the parish where Do­minic was raised and at­tended el­e­men­tary school.

For their hon­ey­moon, the Lib­er­a­tores went to Delaware.

“We only had $30 to our name,” Do­minic laughed at the mem­ory, as he glanced lov­ingly at Jean. “We had a nice din­ner and then went to a movie theater to see “Black Beauty” and that took all of our money. After that we were broke so we headed home be­cause we couldn’t af­ford to stay over.”

The cou­ple said that they had three flat tires, which they had to fix on the way back to Ch­ester. They ar­rived home with only $2 in their pocket.

“By that time, we were hun­gry again,” chuck­led Do­minic. “So I took the $2, went to the cor­ner store and bought us two hoa­gies and two so­das. I got 15 cents change. That was our hon­ey­moon!”

The new­ly­weds rented an apart­ment on Third Street in Ch­ester.

“The apart­ment was so small,” Jean re­mem­bered. “We had to go down a hall­way to use a com­mon bath­room with oth­ers.’

From there, they moved to Jef­frey Street in Ch­ester, and then pur­chased a house in the Wood­lyn sec­tion of Ridley Town­ship in 1950, the same home that they still live in to­day. It was there that they raised their four chil­dren, Michael, Do­minic, Ron and Judy.

Do­minic worked at many places through the years – Phoenix Steel, Penn Steel, Lis­ter Piano and Boe­ing. He even sold pro­duce out of a truck. Jean worked as a cashier at Food Fair in Ch­ester and later part-time at Wyeth Lab­o­ra­to­ries, but for many years she was a stayat-home mom. When he was 58 years old, Do­minic was work­ing as a diesel me­chanic at a garage in Ed­dy­s­tone when he suf­fered a heart at­tack. After that, he was forced to go out on dis­abil­ity un­til re­tire­ment age.

In their younger years, the Lib­er­a­tores lived a busy life. They had a mo­bile home at White House Beach on the In­dian River in Re­hoboth Beach, Del., for 30 years. They cooked and en­joyed time at the West End Boat Club when it was in Ch­ester and they said they al­ways en­joyed danc­ing.

“We al­ways loved to dance, es­pe­cially to polka,” Jean stated. “We would some­times go out to Molly’s tap­room in Booth­wyn to dance on Fri­day nights. We would also en­joy danc­ing at peo­ple’s wed­dings.”

“My par­ents al­ways loved to dance,” re­it­er­ated daugh­ter Judy Lau. “As a mar­ried cou­ple, they have been an in­spi­ra­tion and a re­ally great role model to ev­ery­one in our fam­ily. We all have long mar­riages.”

Michael and Brenda Lib­er­a­tore of Marl­boro, N.J., have been mar­ried for 42 years. Do­minic and Sharon Lib­er­a­tore of Wilm­ing­ton, Del., have been mar­ried for 46 years. Ron and Deb­bie Lib­er­a­tore of Ridley Town­ship have been mar­ried for 40 years, and Judy and David Lau of Wilm­ing­ton have been mar­ried for 31 years.

These days, Do­minic and Jean say that they en­joy an oc­ca­sional lunch or din­ner out, at­tend­ing church at nearby St. Rose’s and spend­ing time with their fam­ily.

“Luck­ily, we have a re­ally large fam­ily so there are al­ways birthdays and other oc­ca­sions for them to con­stantly be get­ting to­gether with fam­ily,” daugh­ter Judy said. “Trust me, they rarely miss any of them!”

Due to health prob­lems, Jean no longer drives, but it’s not a prob­lem, they both said, be­cause they do ev­ery­thing to­gether.

“There’s noth­ing that my par­ents do without one an­other,” Lau stated. “If they are apart for half an hour, they start worrying about when they are go­ing to be re­united. They have al­ways been insep­a­ra­ble and taken good care of each other.”

Asked what they love about their spouse and how they have man­aged to weather all that life has thrown their way, the ups and the downs of ev­ery­day life, and still be happy at the 70-year mark, both Do­minic and Jean thought for a mo­ment, let­ting the ques­tion soak in, be­fore an­swer­ing.

“We’ve had re­ally happy years – no prob­lems that I can think of,” Do­minic said. “We al­ways en­joyed ev­ery­thing that we did. Every­where I go, I take her with me. We take care of one an­other.”

“We love each other,” Jean in­ter­jected. “Don’t we?”

“I think so,” Do­minic chuck­led as he glanced lov­ingly at Jean. “I think so!”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ridley Town­ship res­i­dents Jean and Do­minic Lib­er­a­tore are cel­e­brat­ing 70 years of mar­riage.

PEG DEGRASSA - MEDIANEWS GROUP

Jean and Do­minic Lib­er­a­tore stand out­side of their Wood­lyn home. The cou­ple re­cently cel­e­brated their 70th wed­ding an­niver­sary.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ridley Town­ship res­i­dents Jean and Do­minic Lib­er­a­tore, who cel­e­brated 70 years of mar­riage on Jan. 29, have al­ways en­joyed danc­ing. Here, the cou­ple is pic­tured danc­ing at their grand­daugh­ter’s re­cent wed­ding at Nor­mandy Farm in Blue Bell.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The now-de­funct Great Leop­ard Roller Skat­ing Rink in Ch­ester is where the Lib­er­a­tores first met in the 1940s. They are now mar­ried seven decades, have four chil­dren, 13 grand­chil­dren and eight great­grand­chil­dren.

PEG DEGRASSA - MEDIANEWS GROUP

Ar­ma­jean and Do­minic Lib­er­a­tore sit to­gether in a swing out­side their Wood­lyn home last week, get­ting some fresh air and sun­shine on a mild win­ter day.

PEG DEGRASSA - MEDIANEWS GROUP

Do­minic and Jean Lib­er­a­tore, mar­ried 70 years, share con­ver­sa­tion last week out­side of the home in Ridley Town­ship that they bought in 1950.

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