50 years remembered

CORONA DEL MAR — Her father's green and white Cadillac drove them to the Community Church on their wedding day 50 years ago. But on Friday, a white limousine took Constance "Joyce" and Laurie Delacy back to the place where they first said "I do."

The white church on Heliotrope Avenue, nestled among the single-family homes, has a steeple that peeks out over the street's trees.

On Friday, about 10 members of the Delacy-Happ clan huddled around the altar where Joyce, 77, and Laurie, 78, first said their vows. This time, everyone was there to commemorate the duo's five decades together.

Just about the time the clock struck 11 a.m., the time they were first married, the two kissed. The couple were then joined by their three children — twins Sue Delacy and Sharon Hayden, 47, and son Steve Delacy, 44 — as well as other family members and their 43-year-old nephew who lives in New York.

"I couldn't miss this kind of celebration," said nephew Scott Pfeiffer, who remembers putting on skits for his favorite aunt and uncle.

Joyce's brother, Doug Happ, 70, was serving in the military in Biloxi, Miss., at the time the two were married. Friday was the first time he set foot in the church; he called the experience "very cool."

Happ and his wife are nine years shy of celebrating their own golden anniversary. He said he remembers throwing his sister and brother-in-law a party — "big doings," he said — at his Redondo Beach home for their 25th anniversary.

The couple nearly missed their fated meeting more than five decades ago because Laurie initially was going to stay home to watch "Perry Mason" instead of attending a Corona del Mar party.

"About halfway through [the show] I decided ,'Oh, hell, I'll go to the party,'" Laurie said.

On a trip from Tijuana to watch the bullfights — he liked them, she hated them — the two began to bicker after getting lost in "the middle of nowhere." Laurie told Joyce, "Look, if we're going to be arguing like this, we might as well be married."

The two were wed soon after.

Asked whether in 50 years of marriage if the two ever considered splitting, Joyce joked: "No divorce. But murder, yes."

The couple's 50th anniversary coincides with Nov. 11, 2011 — or 11-11-11. The number appears repeatedly on their special date, including the time the duo was hitched (11 a.m.) and the address of the church (at 611 Heliotrope Ave.). The numerological significance is a coincidence, Joyce said, although there may have been some good fortune involved in their decades-long success.

"Well, we lasted 50 years, so that must be good luck," Joyce said. "I guess we were suited for each other. It went very fast … so we must have been having a good time."


Twitter: @lawilliams30

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