We would like to congratulate some of our residents over at Pioneer Manor on reaching a huge milestone. Ralph and Margaret Attianese have been married for 65 years as of August 13, 2015. This is such a remarkable milestone, that so few couples reach, that the couple was even given a certificate from Pope Francis commending them on their accomplishment.
While 65 years together is an amazing accomplishment, we wanted to know more about their journey towards this milestone. They were nice enough to share their love story.
Margaret lived in the Bronx of New York until she was around eight years old. Then, fate stepped in when she and her family moved to Brooklyn and she ended up living on the same street as her future husband, Ralph. They were friends and went to the same schools until they reached high school when he went off to New York and she stayed in Brooklyn.
Margaret shared, "Love grew on us as we always managed to get back together, and then we just knew. He got me a friendship ring when I was 18, an engagement ring when I was 19, and we were married by the time I was 20 and he was 21."
As with any true love story though, the couple had to face and overcome many challenges together over the years, and those challenges started before they were even married.
"I had been planning the wedding for a year, and in order to get a good reception hall in New York you have to book a year in advance, and that's what I did," explained Margaret. Unfortunately, the Korean War had just broken out and Ralph was a National Guardsman. Margaret recalled, "Our wedding was originally going to be on September 10, but we had to move it up to August 13. That meant I couldn't get the beautiful hall that I had already picked and we ended up having the wedding reception at his house." Luckily, Ralph's parents had thrown them an engagement party and Margaret says that it made up for the dream wedding that didn't happen.
One month after their wedding they got a telegram saying that Ralph was being stationed in Oklahoma for a year and a half. He later went to Texas and she ended up going home to New York. The two made it work though. "It was fun and we enjoyed every minute of it. We did a lot of traveling back and forth and made lots of friends on the way," said Margaret.
They finally went home to New York in 1952 and had their first daughter in October of 1953 and their second daughter three years later. Things were finally starting to look up for the couple, and then Ralph was in a horrible automobile accident a year later.
"He hit a tree smack on and almost died. At the hospital he almost lost his leg and when he got out of surgery he had amnesia for three or four months, and he didn't know any of us," explained Margaret. Then a miracle happened. "One day we went to visit him and there he was sitting by the elevator and he remembered us."
By 1991 the couple retired and four years later they moved to Wyoming to be closer to their oldest daughter and grandchildren. Unfortunately, Ralph's old injuries kept requiring more care, and after his third surgery in December of 2014 his stay at Pioneer Manor became permanent. Margaret explained, "I thank God for this place because I couldn't take care of him anymore. They're very good about medications here, too. If it wasn't for Pioneer Manor he probably wouldn't be here."
After some health scares of her own, like a broken hip, knee replacement, and developing a heart condition, Margaret said she started waking up every morning in her apartment not knowing if she could make it another day alone. Then during a visit in March with Dr. Meade in the
Main Clinic she was informed that now would be a really good time to move into Pioneer Manor because the other half of Ralph's room was empty and they could live together. That day they made arrangements for it to happen.
"We're happy that we're together," said Margaret. The happy couple enjoy going to the Catholic mass at Pioneer Manor, playing bingo with the other residents, and having people stop by every once in a while to visit with them. In their down time Margaret enjoys knitting and Ralph likes to do word searches. Margaret also shared, "It's so pleasant that you have someone to clean and keep up everything. I love the beauty of not having to cook, do dishes, or clean anymore."
As much as the couple enjoys living at Pioneer Manor together they're really looking forward to moving into the new long-term care facility, Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center. "They've shown us pictures of what the new place looks like and it looks really nice." With such a great love story we wish Margaret and Ralph Attianese many more years of happy marriage.
You can find more information on Pioneer Manor and the Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center online or by calling 307.688.7000.