Grayce and Clarence Dwyer, who are both 100-years-old, have been married for 71 years and this Tuesday they’re celebrating St. Valentine’s Day and still very much in love.
ABC News reports that the couple still ends conversations with “I love you”.
Recently, Clarence told his wife “Grayce, I think I am very old and that I am going home soon. Will you follow me?”
She responded saying, “Like the tail of a kite."
Both Grayce and Clarence are the children of Irish immigrant families and both lost their fathers in the 1917 flu epidemic, on the same day.
The couple, from Madison, New Jersey, have four children, 17 grandchildren, and 12 great- grandchildren. At the center of their lives is their family, their faith, and the notion their family came to America in search of “The American Dream”.
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Grayce said “We just always got along -- we came from similar lives…We were raised by mothers who taught us what was important to have a valuable life, simply put -- take care of each other and your family. Life was not meant to be easy, so you surround yourself with good people and always have a strong faith that will help you through the hard times."
Clarence, from a large Boston family, was on his way to the priesthood until he met Grayce at a dance in Brooklyn. Grayce had quit school by that time to work. In 1941 they married.
The pair still live in their own home and get around okay with some help from aides.
Their daughter, Donna Dwyer Streaman, told ABC, “Until very recently they have been fiercely independent and still were able to cook and shop even if it meant returning to the local food market more than once a day so that they could prepare their own meals.
"We believe it is a testament to the love they have for each other.”
However, she also says that growing old has been hard for them.
Their daughter continued, “It's very sad for me to look at them now at the end of their life…A year in their life is a decade to them. One little fall can make such a tremendous change."
So what exactly is the secret to their happiness? Well it seems that working hard and having fun is the answer.
She said “Their mothers were survivors and taught them important values such as family, a strong work ethic, and being grateful for every day and moment you have…Mom will say, 'I think it is probably remarkable that we are still here with each other and able to speak about the old days and laugh about the good times we had together and with our family.'"
Clarence, a former accountant for construction companies, was born on 30th April, 1911. He grew up in “Southie” the Irish neighborhood in south Boston. His mother knew John F. Kennedy’s mother, Rosie Fitzgerald, and Clarence was an altar boy in the church where Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral was held, the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
At 14 he was sent to a parochial high school and then on to study for his entrance into the Redemptorist Order of the priesthood. However, for reasons he’s never spoken about, he decided not to enter the church.
The Red Sox fan graduated from Boston College.
Grayce had a similar upbringing. She was born on 12th January 1912 in the Irish neighborhood in New York, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She worked as a secretary in the guidance office at a Catholic high school.
Her daughter said she returned to night school and got her GED. Grayce still reads avidly and reads the newspaper every day.
This Valentine’s Day, their aide, Alice, will help Grayce make a cake for the special day.
In the past they would celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with the whole family. They “never would care to bring special attention just to themselves."
"They both put their faith in God and I guess God feels he still needs them here for us," said Streaman.
"Mom quietly says, I have to get strong for Dad."
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