The year was 1951. “Too Young” had just been recorded and released by Nat King Cole which was ranked by Billboard as the No. 1 song of the year and was a million-selling record. The price of ground beef at the grocery was $0.65 per pound. Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” would be released in June of 1951 to much critical acclaim. Later in the year, Super Glue would be invented to assist with the war efforts.
The place was the Ballroom of the Crystal Beach Dance Hall in Fort Erie, Ontario, which was made famous for having the largest dance floor in North America. Alive with music and movement, Crystal Beach was an active, engaging, and exciting place for the youth in Western New York and the Niagara Peninsula.
On one fateful evening, a lovely woman named, Lucy, was approached and asked to dance by a handsome young man named, Ed. It was love at first sight and they started going steady. Their first official date was at Parkside Candy in Buffalo, NY where they shared some delicious chocolate and sweets. They bonded with one another quickly and were married on June 16, 1951. Ed and Lucy were blessed with four beautiful daughters, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Fast forward to just a few years ago, when their daughters had noticed a change in both Ed and Lucy. Slight at first, the changes became more pronounced over time. After talking with their doctor, the family learned that Memory Care was recommended for the couple.
Looking for Memory Care communities is a challenge for any family; and the COVID-19 pandemic made this even more so. Evaluating all of the options to find the best-fit was time-consuming and a bit daunting. To add to these challenges, many facilities are not accepting new admissions and the family preferred for admission as soon as possible. Thankfully, Juniper Glen Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in East Amherst, NY was able to provide a safe and secure admission for Ed and Lucy by following our infection prevention protocols as part of our enhanced admissions process. This includes COVID testing each resident before move-in and also placing residents in quarantine for 14-days following admission to monitor for signs and symptoms.
Our amazing Juniper Glen Nursing Team was able to administer a drive-thru test outside the community for both Ed and Lucy, which was convenient and provided peace of mind for their family. Once all of the clinical details were covered, our Programming Team jumped into action to complete the Meaningful Moments pre-admission checklist. Learning the life story of each resident prior to their admission is our commitment to families as part of our Meaningful Moments: Family Partnerships cornerstone. This process is what allows us to create Meaningful Moments for all of our residents on a daily basis.
Through our Meaningful Moments discovery process, we learned some amazing things about Mr. and Mrs. Augustine. Ed worked briefly at Curtis Air and then joined the U.S. Navy working as a painter in the Aircraft Engraving Department. Later in life, he worked on print catalogs for Buffalo China and Buffalo Spree magazine. Lucy was a homemaker and also worked as a secretary after having her first 3 daughters. Both Lucy and Ed loved to travel, and their fondest memories include trips to Italy, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and California.
Both lovers of game shows, Ed and Lucy even played on the Price is Right and made it all the way to the showcase showdown! Their most memorable life achievements include marrying one another – their best friend and the love of their lives – and raising four beautiful daughters. Their best marriage advice for others is having a deep love for your partner and making all decisions together, as a team.
As it turns out, the Programming Team at Juniper Glen learned that Ed and Lucy had been married 68 years and that their 69th wedding anniversary would be the day after their 14-day admission quarantine ended! With their life stories in mind, our team started planning an amazing, unique, and heartwarming anniversary party with the help of the other residents and team members.
On the big day, the team reminded Ed and Lucy that it was their anniversary and helped them prepare for the fun-filled evening ahead. After getting dressed and freshened up, now looking and feeling their best, the couple walked out of their room into the main community space. They were greeted with a warm welcome by residents and Team Members blowing bubbles for their entrance to the party. The couple was seated at the head table and given some sparkling cider to enjoy. It was then that Ed made a beautiful speech about how he loves his bride Lucy, so very much!
When asked about their secret to a long and happy marriage, Ed replied with one word, “love.” The couple then had tears of joy when they were handed special chocolates from Parkside Candy to honor their first date. After a toast, the couple then danced to their wedding song, “Stardust” by Nat King Cole.
The evening concluded with more dancing, including the Hokey Pokey, The Chicken Dance, and even the Electric Slide. Ed made a special point to mingle with everyone in attendance and to personally thank them for organizing such a special evening for him and his bride. This was an incredible and memorable night filled with love, laughs, and happy tears.
What an amazing and Meaningful Moment for Ed and Lucy on their 69th Wedding Anniversary!