There are some things you don’t forget: your first kiss, who you said “I love you” to for the first time, and the sight of your wife on your wedding day.
“She wore slipper satin — at least 25 yards of it,” Kenneth Lindahl, 88, said of his wife, Margaline, 82. The Newport Beach couple married 62 years ago.
“She looked pretty,” continued a smiling Kenneth, who was seated next to a quiet Margaline on a floral couch in their room at the Vintage Newport senior living facility.
The couple were placed together there by their family in 2010 following a decline in Kenneth’s health. Struggling with dementia, he could no longer care for Margaline, who was been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about a decade earlier.
“The most important thing is commitment and not looking any farther than what you have in front of you to make things work,” their daughter Jandi Pierle said of their relationship. “They stuck out a lot together.”
Kenneth recalled spending time with Margaline at church, where he would meet her out on the sidewalk in front of her Newport Beach home and then hold her hand as they walked together.
“We did that half a dozen times before we decided that we belonged together,” Kenneth said. “We’ve been together ever since.”
While the early details of their courtship are lost to time and failing memory, Pierle said that after they married, the Lindahls ran a store together, the Golden Shell, on Balboa Island’s Marine Avenue for about two decades.
The store sold wares that the couple collected on their world travels.
Both are also accomplished divers. Kenneth once found a rare pearl in the Philippines in the 1950s, which was donated to a diving museum.
This Valentine’s Day, the couple will add another cherished accolade to the story of their romance: being crowned Valentine’s Day King and Queen of Vintage Newport’s Recollections and Memory Care Community in front of family, friends and other residents.
The event, which is open to the public, includes live music, refreshments and dancing. It begins at 2 p.m. at the facility near Hoag Hospital, at 4000 Hilaria Way.
“The day is about celebrating love and friendship,” said Monica Castillo, executive director of Vintage Newport. “It truly is a community event that brings us together and highlights the close-knit relationships we have here.”
For Kenneth, the secret of maintaining a long and healthy relationship is deceptively simple: “We never argued. All I ever said was: ‘Yes, ma’am’ and ‘No, ma’am.’”
If You Go
What: Valentine’s Day Social
When: 2 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Vintage Newport, 4000 Hilaria Way, Newport Beach
Information: call (949) 335-1150