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Couple celebrates 63 years of happiness (video)

By BY MELISSA CROWE - MCROWE@VICAD.COM
Feb. 13, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 13, 2013 at 8:14 p.m.

(TOP LEFT) The photographer hired to shoot their wedding had a technical glitch so L.D. and Ann Wasicek had their wedding photo taken at the hotel they stayed in while on their honeymoon.

It was September 1945. L.D. Wasicek was 15, starting ninth grade, and his parents had just moved the family to Sealy to open a cafe.

"I thought she was out of my league," L.D., now 82, said, but he knew Annie Mae Vancik was the one for him.

Ann was a year younger and the prettiest girl he - and every other boy in their class - ever saw.

"I thought he was real good looking," Ann, now 81, said. "You always look at the surface first."

Since their first date New Year's Eve 1946 - a blind date L.D. said he was conned into attending - the two have been inseparable.

"Every day is Valentine's Day," L.D. said. "My prayer would be that everybody that's married would have the kind of relationship that we've had."

He wrote their story a few years ago, something his children can read in the future, called "The Most Magnificent Person that I Ever Met."

Their first kiss was at that New Year's Eve party. L.D.'s heart was pounding, and his hands were clammy. Thinking back on it, he said he was so nervous he probably missed Ann's lips and kissed her nose.

As the two learned about each other, their ups and downs, values and morals, the idea of marriage and the future seemed like a natural fit.

At 18, L.D. took the money he earned from working at Schier's Grocery and bought Ann a $49 engagement ring.

Although everybody in Sealy thought they were too young to get married, they were sure.

"We knew what we wanted," L.D. said.

They went to Houston to celebrate graduation with dinner at Bill Williams Drive-In restaurant when L.D. proposed.

While Ann landed a job as a nurse's aide at the Laura Elridge Hospital in Sugar Land, L.D. moved to Sanderson for a job with the Southern Pacific Railroad that paid enough he could save for their wedding.

Three days before the ceremony, he raced back to Sealy in the middle of the night to get everything together.

They tied the knot at the Church of Christ of Sealy on Nov. 2, 1949, and honeymooned at the Teepee Motel in Wharton.

They were too young to get their marriage license on their own, too young to even finance the furniture for their first home together back in Sanderson.

Their age and inexperience might have presented them with obstacles, but the pair made it through and is on their 64th year of marriage.

"It all worked out," Ann said. "We just knew things were going to get better."

And life did.

"We've had some tough times, but we've had some good times," L.D. said.

They moved to Victoria in 1954, barely able to afford the $35 rent on their home. The two joined forces and opened a lumber yard and successful home-building business.

They built their family, too, to include their four children - Larry, Bill, Mike and Kathy - nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and foster children.

Time took its toll, leaving wrinkles and gray hair in its wake. Marriage wasn't always easy, but they agreed their secret to making it work is to never go to bed angry, never gossip about each other and to treat each other with respect. They say they don't compromise; they negotiate.

Doctors diagnosed Ann with Parkinson's disease in 2003, but L.D. never lost sight of her ocean-blue eyes.

At first, her tremors were mild. Now, 10 years later, she has difficulty controlling her facial expressions and is nearly completely immobile.

"I'm OK," Ann said. "I've got a good husband and somebody who cares. My children are beautiful. That's the thing that I wanted - for my family to turn out OK."

With the diagnosis, they gave up some independence. Their daughter and her husband moved in to help, and they hired at-home care.

Ann's mind is sharp, but she can't get out of bed by herself.

She wears the ringer to a portable doorbell, while L.D. carries the receiver, to be at her every beck and call.

"My dad told me that you only get married one time," L.D. said. "We made vows, and we intend to keep those vows."

Gleaming with pride, he still calls her the most magnificent person he ever met.

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