Feeling Young at Heart, Pair Tie the Knot

Thelma Dunn and Dan Paul have shared a bus ride to the city's senior center every day for the past year.

Now they'll be sharing the rest of their lives.

The couple, both in their 80s, took their wedding vows in front of friends and family Thursday morning, about a year after meeting on the bus that took them to the H. Louis Lake Senior Citizens Center every day.

As a pianist played the wedding march, Dunn, dressed in a pink suit and attended by her daughter, walked down an aisle in the senior center's dining room. At an altar decorated by the center's staff, Paul waited to greet his bride.

"I've been lonely for 27 years, and we hit it off just right," Dunn said. "We share the old times and the hard times."

Dunn, a widow, and Paul, whose wife died two years ago, have lived less than four blocks from one another since 1952. Both raised their children in the same Garden Grove neighborhood and sent their children to the same Garden Grove schools. They had never met until Paul started going to the senior center last year.

"I like everything about her," Paul said of his bride. "I was attracted to her by the way she acted. She's a smart woman."

The traditional double ring ceremony was the first ever held in the senior center and one of only a handful of marriages between the center's clients, said Marie Knight, leisure services manager.

Following the service, friends and family gathered around tables decorated in pink and white to toast the couple with sparkling cider and good wishes. A pink-and-white, two-tiered wedding cake was cut, and the bride and groom shared their first dessert as husband and wife.

"I just hope they enjoy good health," said Dunn's longtime friend, Florence Shields. "We've been real close, but now she has a husband and other things to do. We'll still see each other, but now only at the center. I guess I'm gaining and losing something."

As is traditional, single women crowded onto the floor when Dunn tossed her bouquet. Paul's first pitch of the garter sent it to the ceiling, where it lodged. On his second throw, his 18-year-old grandson, Jason, caught it.

Paul's son, Darryl, 53, said he couldn't be happier about the nuptials--especially after the difficult time he had convincing his father to go to the center.

"Love springs eternal," he said.

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