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Lasting in love
Amor eterno

Lasting in love

Story and photos by Mónica Barnkow


“I feel I got married yesterday.”

Yet, what seemed like moments ago to Larry Cosentino was, in fact, June 6th 1948 – 67 years ago this summer.

“I feel I got married yesterday,” said Larry Consentino, with his wife of 66 years, Catherine.
“I feel I got married yesterday,” said Larry Consentino, with his wife of 66 years, Catherine.

Larry and his bride Catherine, of Throggs Neck, were the toast of the town this past Feb. 25th at the Annual Sweetheart Luncheon, held to celebrate couples in the borough who had been wed for decades.

The luncheon, now in its 8th year, at Villa Barone was organized by the Office of the Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., Healthfirst and Walgreen’s.

There were as many love stories as couples in the catering hall.

The Cosentinos, for example, were high school sweethearts. They met at a Manhattan school in 1945, were engaged in 1946, and were married two years later, after Larry returned from serving in World War II.

The luncheon celebrated couples long wed.
The luncheon celebrated couples long wed.

The two say their relationship is as resilient as ever.

“We had our ups and downs but we just got along with each other,” said Catherine, a spry 86 years young.

The borough president, who also married his childhood sweetheart, said he knew exactly what Catherine was talking about.

“Love has its good days and its bad days,” said Díaz, adding that love usually finds a way to prevail, despite the challenges. “The most powerful thing in the whole world is love.”

Charles and Rosa Bell met at work. She was a lab technician at a state mental institution, and he was a labor relations supervisor in a different department.

“We love each other,” said Charles Bell, with wife Rosa.
“We love each other,” said Charles Bell, with wife Rosa.

At first, it was all friendly teasing.

“He was picking on me, because I was too skinny,” recalled Rosa.

But after a couple of years of jousting, he asked her out. Many years have passed by since that first movie date at Radio City Music Hall, but their marriage is still going strong.

“Communication is the most important thing,” said Rosa. “And honesty.”

Her husband said the secret to their longevity was love, first and foremost.

Juan Tavarez, of Healthfirst, which served as co-sponsor.
Juan Tavarez, of Healthfirst, which served as co-sponsor.

And a bit of memory.

“Always remember why you got married,” said Charles. “We love each other.”

“You have to be in love,” agreed Dagny McDaniels, who has been married to Claude for 57 years. “You have to have passion, be compassionate and compromise.”

Josephine Berreta chose a more visually descriptive phrase to explain her secret.

“You have to take a lot of baloney,” she said, with a smile.

Her husband of 66 years, Vincent, said it was precisely his wife’s very good sense of humor that did the trick.

“Laughing is the most important thing,” he said.

The luncheon proved a festive occasion, as the couples shared anecdotes and took, often, to the dance floor.

Díaz personally congratulated every one of the couples, occasionally daring them to kiss on the lips for the camera.

William Chin spoke about being married for over 60 years to Mary.
William Chin spoke about being married for over 60 years to Mary.

Some happily obliged.

But not William Chin.

Kissing Mary, his wife of over 60 years, he said, was simply out of the question.

“I kissed her three times and after that, we had three children,” he protested. “I don’t want any more children!”

Amor eterno

Historia y fotos por Mónica Barnkow


“Siento que me casé ayer”.

Sin embargo, lo que parecía haber sucedido apenas hace unos momentos para Larry Cosentino tuvo lugar el 6 de junio de 1948, hace 67 años este verano.

William Chin spoke about being married for over 60 years to Mary.
William Chin habló sobre estar casado por más de 60 años con Mary.

Larry y su esposa Catherine, de Throggs Neck, fueron el brindis de la gente el pasado 25 de febrero en el Almuerzo Anual Sweetheart, llevado a cabo para celebrar a las parejas del condado que han estado casadas durante décadas.

El almuerzo en Villa Barone, ahora en su octavo año, fue organizado por la oficina del presidente del condado Rubén Díaz Jr., Healthfirst y Walgreens.

Había tantas historias de amor como parejas en el lugar.

Los Cosentinos, por ejemplo, fueron novios de preparatoria. Se conocieron en una escuela de Manhattan en 1945, se comprometieron en 1946 y se casaron dos años más tarde, después de que

Larry regresó de servir en la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Un mural mostraba fotos de cada pareja.
Un mural mostraba fotos de cada pareja.

Los dos dicen que su relación es tan fuerte como siempre.

“Hemos tenido nuestros altibajos, pero los resolvemos “, dijo Catherine, una vivaz mujer de 86 años de edad.

El presidente del condado, quien también se casó con su novia de la infancia, dijo que sabía exactamente de lo que Catherine hablaba.

“El amor tiene sus días buenos y sus días malos”, explicó Díaz,  agregando que el amor por lo general encuentra una manera de prevalecer a pesar de los desafíos. “La cosa más poderosa en todo el mundo es el amor”.

Charles y Rosa Bell se conocieron en el trabajo. Ella era técnica de laboratorio en una institución mental del estado y él supervisor de relaciones laborales en un departamento diferente.
Al principio, todo era bromas amistosas.

“I feel I got married yesterday,” said Larry Consentino, with his wife of 66 years, Catherine.
“Siento que me casé ayer”, dijo Larry Cosentino con su esposa de 66 años, Catherine.

“Él se metía conmigo porque yo estaba demasiado flaca”, recuerda Rosa.

Pero después de un par de años de batallar, él la invitó a salir. Mucho tiempo ha pasado desde aquella primera cita en el Radio City Music Hall, pero su matrimonio es todavía fuerte.

“La comunicación es lo más importante”, dijo Rosa. “Y la honestidad”.

Su marido explicó que el secreto de su longevidad era el amor, antes que nada.

Y un poco de memoria.

“Recuerda siempre por qué te casaste”, dijo Charles. “Nosotros nos amamos”.

Eran "eléctricos".
Eran “eléctricos”.

“Tienes que estar enamorado”, coincidió Dagny McDaniels, quien ha estado casada con Claude durante 57 años. “Tienes que tener pasión, compasión y compromiso”.

Josephine Berreta eligió una frase más descriptiva para explicar su secreto.

“Tienes que aguantar muchas tonterías”, dijo sonriendo.

Su esposo de 66 años, Vincent, señaló que era precisamente el gran sentido del humor de su esposa lo que hacía el truco.

“Reír es lo más importante”, aseguró.

El almuerzo fue una ocasión festiva, ya que las parejas compartieron anécdotas y se dirigieron, a menudo, a la pista de baile.

Peter y Joan Agliardo con el presidente del condado, Rubén Díaz Jr.
Peter y Joan Agliardo con el presidente del condado, Rubén Díaz Jr.

Díaz felicitó personalmente a cada una de las parejas, retándolas de vez en cuando a besarse en los labios frente a la cámara.

Algunos lo hicieron felizmente obligados.

Pero no William Chin.

Besar a María, su esposa de más de 60 años, dijo, estaba simplemente fuera de discusión.

“La besé tres veces y después de eso tuvimos tres hijos”, protestó. “¡No quiero tener más hijos!”.

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