Love makes the world go ‘round

| 07 Feb 2012 | 04:14

WEST MILFORD — As Eva Gabor once said, “Love is a game that two can play and both win.”

Ann Patrice and Jim Farley- In sickness and in health

It’s hard to say if Jim Farley disliked standing on lines or he just preferred talking with the pretty red-haired secretary who sat outside the cafeteria doors at Eastman Kodak in New York City.Either way, Jim’s friends would order his lunch while he and Ann Patrice became chummy. By Christmas 1959, the co-workers were dating.

Was it love at first sight?“It didn’t take long. You know the Irish.I knew he was the one after a few dates,” Ann Patrice said.

Five months later they were engaged and they married at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Springfield Gardens, N.Y., on Nov. 5, 1960. But the bride almost missed the nuptials.

Ann Patrice wasn’t feeling well in the days preceding the wedding but it was thought to be nerves or the flu.She was given paregoric and a well-meaning neighbor gave her a heating pad for her stomach pains. Luckily her uncle, a monsignor, was officiating at the wedding. He understood her dilemma and he had her sit through most of the ceremony. “You can see in some pictures that I was doped up a little,” she said.

By the next morning Ann Patrice was in the hospital with a ruptured appendix and peritonitis.Hospitalized for three weeks, the Florida honeymoon had to wait until December. In the long run, however, she was lucky to survive and she’s been at her husband’s side for over 51 years now.

They went on to havetwo daughters, Maureen and Terry, and three grandchildren.The years have gone by quickly and the West Milford couple has had their share of ups and downs.Jim, 82,has had some health issues but he’s doing well now.

“He takes everything well, his humor is still good,” Ann Patrice, 75,said.

How has their love changed in over half a century together?

“It grows deeper.The romance is still there but it’s a deeper feeling over the years," she said."He’s your soul mate and your friend.”

Her message to Jim on Valentine’s Day is sweet and simple: “Love you forever.”

Jimmy and Joan Thurstans – Let me take you on a sea cruise

Jimmy Thurstans, better known around West Milford as “Jimmy the Barber,” can tell you with certainty what not to buy your Valentine for a gift.

Many years ago when his wife, Joan, first began to wear contact lenses Jimmy spotted a medical alert necklace in the pharmacy and bought it for her.She was not thrilled with the gift.His second faux pas was a wooden flower.Same reaction.So, Jimmy decided he’d no longer buy jewelry (a stretch of the imagination) or flowers. Hopefully, he’s learned to choose more wisely over the years.

Jimmy, 63, and Joan, 57,met at a party with friends in 1971.She was still a high school student, very attractive, but not really his type, he said.

“I’ve never considered myself pretty, so I probably wasn’t her type either,” he said.

They did get together, however, and Jimmy, fresh out of the Army, took some time off before settling into a job. They had ample opportunity to get to know each other and by September, 1975 they were married at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Hewitt.They went on to have two sons, Adrian and Nigel, and now have two grandsons.

When Jimmy first married Joan he could not have foreseen that he would be the spouse of a model and “Mrs. New Jersey 1996.” He has nothing but praise for his wife.

“She’s a very dedicated mother and grandmother, she likes to have fun and she’s quite the artist,” he said.

What does Jimmy think the difference is between young love and an established relationship?

“In the beginning everything is flawless.Then you learn to accept the flaws,” he said.

His advice to a young couple: “If you can afford it, spoil each other.”

This Valentine’s Day the couple will be on a cruise to the islands.And Joan may get some flowers.Real ones.

Jimmy’s message to Joan on Valentine’s Day comes from a poem he wrote when she was “Mrs. New Jersey." He just changed the number.

“From girlfriend to wife, mother, lover, 36 years together there’s been no other; Love has been on our side in all we do, that’s why we chose our wedding song, ‘Only You’. With love, your Jimmy.”

Beverly and Rich Cox – You light up my life

If you were to describe Beverly Cox you’d probably call her loving and down to earth, a woman who finds happiness in simple things. She’s a true West Milfordite, tracing her family tree in town back to the mid 1700s.

When Beverly, 50, was a junior in high school, a friend set her up on a blind date with her brother, Rich, for a 1978 New Year's Eve party.Hoping to avoid the awkwardness of a first date, Beverly and Rich spoke on the phone for a few weeks beforehand. They got along well so they decided to meet before the party.Their first date was strolling around Butler Park, admiring the Christmas lights.

“Rich said he fell in love the first time he met me.For me it took a little longer.We laugh about that,” Beverly said.

But fall in love she did and the couple married in 1979 at Christ Episcopal Church in Pompton Lakes.The reception, a big family affair, was held at the Apshawa Firehouse hall, although her father wanted it to be at Pine Village Grove, a costlier venue.

“My father would have done anything for me but I couldn’t see my parents spending that kind of money,” she said.

Beverly and Richnowhave three adult sons, Joe, Joshua and Justin.The familyresides in a home built by Beverly’s grandfather.They are a happy couple who have included their children in all of their celebrations.

“Valentine’s Day signifies the love we have for each other and I’ve always made it very special. Once we had children we’d have candlelight dinners with them and my whole married life I’ve made a heart-shaped meat loaf for dinner,” Beverly said.

Through the years Rich, 55, has always been thoughtful. There were always cards and flowers on Valentine’s Day.On her 50th birthday he took her on a cruise.

“I was 18 when I got married and we’re very lucky and blessed to be together this long, and to be happy,” she said.

From Beverly’s perspective, going through the years together has deepened their respect andtheir appreciation of each other.

So Valentine’s Day at the Cox residence will be flowers and a heart-shaped meat loaf.A nice holiday tradition.

There’s another tradition the familystrictly adheres to: every Christmas since they met Beverly and Rich,then later with their sons, walk around Butler Park. Back to the beginning of the love.

Beverly’s message to Rich on Valentine’s Day: “To my special love, here’s to more Valentine’s Days spent together.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.