June 8-14, 2006
VOL 125 NO. 22
Love through the ages
By Connie Cissell/ SUN editor
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Catholic couples talk about what works and what doesn’t
The days of “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver” may be over, but some couples say following some of the advice from the past might help keep couples together today.
When Ward Cleaver helped June with the dishes after dinner it gave the couple an opportunity to catch up on the day’s events whether it was the Beaver changing his grade on a quiz or Wally trying out a new hairdo that left him looking like a member of the “Wild Bunch.” The point is, they were talking. There was no Internet to monitor, no MTV to turn off and no Ipod to buy back then.
Today’s couples find themselves working on ways to connect one-on-one in a world where technology has taken the place of a pat on the back or a kiss on the cheek. A husband or wife might instead rely on a quick call on a cell phone or a hurried e-mail to remind a spouse he or she is missed during the day. But, even though some things have changed, as far as falling in love goes, much is still the same.
There were 1,192 marriages between Catholics celebrated in the Syracuse Diocese in 2005 and 489 interfaith marriages. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception downtown was the site of 84 weddings — a pretty steep number considering there are only 52 weekends in a year.
Carol and Patrick Riccinto will be married 65 years in July. They were married at St. Peter’s Church in Syracuse and now attend St. Daniel in Lyncourt. Carol admits to many secrets of the marriage’s success, but they are all pretty simple.
Carol was 17 when she met 18-year-old Pat and she says she doesn’t know what she would do without him. They made it through Pat’s 38 months of service during World War II and then a son’s death during the Vietnam War. Pat built their home on the city’s northeast side and Carol painted and stained the cabinets and furniture. They worked together.
“Number one,” Carol recommended, “don’t each go your own way. Don’t even start to do that. I went out once in a while with a little club of three or four girls. We got together once a month and then my husband played golf once in a while — but not all the time.”
All the couples these days who set out to spend one night a week or one night a month together on a “date night” have it all wrong, according to Carol. They should be spending all the nights together except for the one night that would be the night to go out with other friends. In other words, a couple shouldn’t have to make time for one another, but time for the other relationships in their lives.
Another interesting piece of advice from Carol was, “And don’t let yourself go.” At 84, she said she still has her makeup and clean and pressed outfit on by 1 p.m. When her children were growing up, Carol said she wore jeans during the day, but by the time Pat came home, she was spruced up and ready to see him with a fresh application of lipstick and neatly combed hair.
That piece of advice might be met with a chuckle nowadays when time is at a premium and wives are more likely working. The make-up goes on in the morning these days and when a wife gets home she’s more likely to put on jeans or sweats and put her hair in a ponytail. Another key element for the Riccintos is, of course, love. They do not miss opportunities for a quick kiss or a whispered, “I love you.”
“We always loved each other,” Carol said. “We always told each other too. During the day and at night, we always remembered to say it. I’m not saying we didn’t have arguments. But don’t go to bed angry. Talk it out. You can’t keep anger inside because you’ll carry it into the next day.” Chuck and Angie Andrews couldn’t stay mad at each other if they tried. After nearly 33 years of marriage, they still make each other laugh all the time. Chuck calls Angie an “angel” and Angie says Chuck is “spoiled.” As far as going their own way, Chuck has spent almost all of his life playing softball. He plays on the Syracuse Cyclone 60s these days and they still love going to his softball games. Chuck is a partner at A&R Printing and Angie is a nurse working at Jolenta Convent at the St. Anthony Motherhouse in Syracuse. They attend St. Daniel Church in Lyncourt but were married at St. John the Baptist Church in 1973. Chuck decided to become a Catholic after hearing Msgr. Eugene Yennock, pastor at St. Daniel, explain the Mass, Angie said.
Their courtship was a bit of a whirlwind. Chuck asked Angie to marry him only a few weeks after meeting her. She said “yes” but he still had to make it past her father. After Angie graduated from nursing school, she was ready for the marriage to take place but her father was waiting for Chuck to ask for her hand in marriage. Chuck was a little nervous, Angie said, especially considering that the first time Chuck asked, her father couldn’t hear what he said so he had to repeat it. Everything worked out and the two were married after about a year-long engagement.
The fact that Angie enjoys his softball games has gone a long way for Chuck. It is something that is very important to him and she understands it and takes part as often as she can. One of the things that makes their marriage work, Chuck said, “Is the fact that I love her to death. She takes great care of me. I don’t know what I’d do without her. She treats me like gold.”
The simplicity of their marriage after all this time might seem like a contradiction these days. “You have to communicate,” Angie said. “And love really is blind. When you love someone you don’t see the baldness or the spare tire and the faults. If he’s happy, I’m happy.” The couple met at a cookout where someone else was trying to capture Angie’s attention and she was having no part of it. She saw Chuck and latched onto him in part to discourage the other man. “I saw this really good looking girl,” Chuck remembered, “and I thought, ‘There’s a girl that would never go out with the likes of me.’ We had a great time and then I took her home like a perfect gentleman.” Angie said some of their first dates were spent swinging on swings and in activities that were just plain fun. “We just have so much fun together and we don’t stay mad at each other. You argue and you forget about it,” she said.
Beth Cappelletti and Chris Walker will be married in a couple of weeks and it doesn’t take more than a few minutes with the couple before one realizes how ready they are to begin their life together. They’ve waited almost seven years before marrying. Beth is 33 and a physician’s assistant working as clinical coordinator for the physician assistant program at Le Moyne College. She also works at a practice one day a week. Before meeting Chris, her graduate studies were the top priority. Chris will be 27 soon and just graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I. where he honed his culinary and management skills. He is hoping to find a position in food or beverage sales because he already realizes “normal” hours would be a plus for his home life. They met at Wegmans in DeWitt where Beth used to spend nights studying in the cafe when she was in graduate school. Chris was a manager at the store and noticed how she studied all the time and was happy to be introduced to her. “It was just the way she looked sitting there,” Chris remembered. “She was everything I thought she would be and more.”
Both Chris and Beth are practicing Catholics who feel their shared beliefs and faith are important aspects they bring into their marriage. They have completed the pre-cana program at Holy Cross Church in DeWitt, which is located across the street from their new neighborhood. They plan to walk to Mass together when the weather is cooperative.
Beth comes from a family of eight and she is the last of the children in her family to marry. “I definitely feel I have an advantage by watching my siblings in their marriages,” Beth said. “I can take part of this marriage and part of that one when I think of what might make a marriage work. And my parents have been married for almost 43 years. They are definitely a model for me.” Family is a priority for Chris and Beth and it is one of the core reasons why they feel they are compatible. And, Beth adds, they both want children.
“We’ve talked about it but we haven’t decided on a number yet,” Beth said, smiling. The same values and priorities are part of what helped Beth realize that Chris was the person for her. “She was a little skeptical at first,” Chris said. “I told my mom right after I met Beth, ‘I just met the girl I’m going to marry.’” She waited until she is 33 to marry, Beth said, because she wanted to be absolutely certain her marriage has every opportunity to survive. “I feel like we’ve really grown over the past six years together,” she said. “I wanted to be sure we had a solid relationship. You need to make sure it’s right before you get married because I’m not going to do this again.”
The age difference between Beth and Chris seemed a possible obstacle early in the relationship, but that has not proven to be the case. “There were some things I wanted to accomplish before marriage and school was one of them,” Chris said. “We’re both glad we waited and that it’s happening now. It’s the right time. Right, Love?” “That’s right,” Beth answered.
Right now their new house needs some painting, the furniture is not quite in place and the chef’s refrigerator is currently in the living room, but they have the rest of their lives together to work on the house. “He cooks, I don’t,” Beth said. “She likes to paint, I don’t,” Chris said. “She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and that’s one of the things I love about her.”