Arthur and Mary Lou Vita

Arthur and Mary Lou Vita of Brightwater Retirement Center near Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest celebrated their 70th anniversary April 14.

Arthur and Mary Lou Vita, members at Brightwater Retirement Center in Carolina Forest, celebrated their 70th anniversary April 14.

The pair met on Feb. 14, 1944, through coincidence at a restaurant in Decatur, Ill., when Arthur happened to dine with friends at the same place Mary Lou was eating. He quickly noticed her in the restaurant and made a point to strike up a conversation. They were both living locally. He was stationed with the Air Corps and she was attending Milliken University.

“I remember thinking that Mary Lou was very attractive and had a great personality,” Vita said. “Mary Lou told me later that her first impression of me was that I was a really cute guy in a uniform. We started dating two weeks later.”

Their courtship lasted slightly over a year. They were married in a small church wedding in San Antonio, Texas, surrounded by friends and family on April 14, 1945. 

“The keys to our 71 years of love and devotion are simple really: a good sense of humor, patience and understanding,” added Vita. “Don’t dwell on the bad times. Try to get through them as quickly as possible and move on to the good times.” 

Many of their favorite memories revolve around their family, as maintaining close ties to their children is important to them. They also enjoyed their trips to Hawaii and many countries in Europe.  Vita says that her husband was just devilish enough to keep her on her toes and that she loved that about him.

The Vitas moved to Brightwater in 2014. 

“They paint a beautiful picture of love at the community,” said social director Wendy Gatzke. “These two are romantic on a daily basis. They are always holding hands and enjoy being together.” 

They have spent 71 wonderful years with each other and look forward to many more. The only change the pair would want to make, if they could, would be “setting the clock back,” giving them the opportunity for more experiences and time with their family.

The Vitas say they did not have a fairytale love where everything was rainbows and happy endings. They worked hard in and for their marriage, resulting in something better than a fairytale romance — a real, true and lasting love affair.

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