Happy Valentine’s Day

Rita and Vince, a romance.

It all started when Jack asked Rita out on a date.  Jack was Italian.  Rita, half Irish/half Italian agreed to meet Jack at the Italian club where they lived in Brooklyn, NY. “In those days, you didn’t date one guy.” said, Rita. When Rita arrived at the Italian Club, Jack’s friend, Vincent, opened the door. That is how it all started.

Rita and Vince eventually started to see each other once a week, and so, it goes. Rita said that Vince chased her enough and they married when she was 25 and he was 26. Vince’s job with Donaldson’s Department Store brought them to the Midwest. Rita found her passion was acting. They moved ten times: New York, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California. After many moves, many career advancements and seven children – Rita and Vince would come back and settle in Minnesota.

Vince continued his career and Rita continued her acting. At one point Vince was at a shoot with Rita when someone said “Who’s that guy? He looks like Dustin Hoffman!” After that, Vince instructed Rita, “Take me to your agent!”  Vince enjoyed a career as an actor and model.  He and Rita even did a few assignments together.  They did so, until his memory declined. Rita helped him through this. Vince finally gave up modelling, voice overs and commercials after he was not able to process directions from the director any longer.  Life went on, and Vince’s memory continued to decline.

Rita took over as his primary care giver. In April of last year, their daughter Rose Marie, approached her mother and shared that she had been doing research on where to get help with dad. She had found an adult day program that would be convenient and helpful. So every day during the week, Vince went to “the club”.  Life went on….until….Rita got sick.  She was in the hospital for a few days.   Rita got better, but the biggest surprise about the situation was from the kids.  “Mom, we had no idea how challenging it has been for you to take care of dad.  We are exhausted after four days.  How have you been managing this on your own for four years?!” The family needed to take the next step to get extra care Vinc and the help Rita needed.

It has been a pleasure to welcome Vince and his family, to Copperfield Hill.  He and Rita are an amazing example of a love and partnership that has endured.   Their children and grandchildren continue to be a strong support system, too.  When I asked Rita for her story, I was in awe of the 63 year history she recounted of her marriage.  Her closing comments were about her large and loving family.  She said, “I could never have imagined this so long ago.  Let’s face it, our lives are ebbing, new life is so thrilling!”  Rita was speaking about her new twin great grand children.  “You feel love holding them.”