Valentine’s Day tales

Published 6:59 am Saturday, February 15, 2014

Every year on Valentine’s Day, a movie about a love story is released and people rush to stores for chocolates, flowers, cards, balloons and jewelry for their special someone. But love and romance isn’t typically the way the movies portray.

The Google banner on Friday set out to tell the real love stories of six couples. From a middle school boy who has his first girlfriend to a couple that took years to get to their first kiss.

One story is about a high school girl who had a crush on this one guy for four years. She always left hints, but he never said anything until one day she sneezed and her crush said, “you have a cute sneeze.”

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Another story entitled “Mr.Right,” tells the story of a woman who woke up the day after her wedding and started questioning if she did the right thing. She left the house and walked around all day just thinking about her marriage. When she got home her husband said he called the police because he was worried and that’s when she decided to give the marriage a try. She ends it by saying that was 42 years ago and that she never questioned getting married since.

Picayune native Kathleen Penton said she and her husband, Donald, were childhood sweethearts and their relationship just happened and progressed to marriage.

There was no big engagement or wedding, just two people who fell in love.

“We grew to love each other,” Kathleen said.

Kathleen said her and Donald became friends in 5th grade when they were attending West Side Elementary school. They started dating in high school, but said dating was nothing like it is today.

“Back then they didn’t let girls date and go out, but we could go with church groups and we did that,” Kathleen said.

In high school, they went to junior and senior prom together. After high school Donald went into the Navy and was stationed in California. She waited a year and then married him in a small church ceremony in Stockton, Calif.

When Kathleen wanted to go out to California and marry Donald, her mother said no because she would be going alone. So Kathleen’s mother-in-law stepped in and said she would take Kathleen to California and stay with her.

Kathleen and Donald applied for their marriage license on a Monday and got married that Thursday, April 16, 1953.

Shortly after they were married, Donald was deployed overseas and Kathleen didn’t see him again for two years.

Sixty years later, two children, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren later, Kathleen and Donald are still happily married.

“The longer we were married, if it was possible, the greater our love got.”

Kathleen said Donald still surprises her and leaves her little gifts.

“Just about every time he goes to the grocery store, he buys me a box of Sampler candy and I’ll come in and it’ll be sitting in my chair,” Kathleen said.

“It’s been a great journey and there are very few things that I would change,” Kathleen said.

Gloria Latour met her husband Otto while waiting at a bus stop to take her to Cabrini High School in New Orleans, La., where she was a junior.

Gloria said a car passed by that was making a screeching noise and she made a comment about what she thought was wrong with the car. Otto was standing next to her and was studying at Delgado Community College to be a mechanic.

Gloria said Otto started explaining to her that she was wrong and that he made her look like a fool in front of her friends. Gloria said she swore she would get back at him by dating him and then dumping him.

What Gloria didn’t know at the time is that she would end up falling in love with Otto, something Gloria never thought would happen.

“I wanted a career,” Gloria said. “I never really wanted to fall in love with anybody.”

The day of her graduation, Otto proposed to her, but her parents both said she had to wait a year and a day to get married. Gloria’s mother eventually relented and let her get married before the year deadline on March 7, 1964.

“We’ve been happy ever since,” Gloria said.

Gloria and Otto have two children and six grandchildren.

After 50 years, she said Otto still opens the door for her. What she loves most about him is that he is kind and sympathetic.

“Marriage is not a bed of roses and it’s not a Cinderella story where everything goes good,” Gloria said. “You have bad times just as much as you have good times, but what you have to remember is mostly the good and don’t dwell on the bad. Whatever bad happens, you go on from there and try to make it better.”

Both Kathleen and Gloria said the key to marriage is communication.

“I’ve always found communication is the most important thing in a marriage, that you have to let each other know what you’re feeling and how you’re feeling,” Kathleen said.

Just because love doesn’t necessarily happen like it does in movies or songs, it doesn’t make any less great or romantic.