SOMERS, N.Y. - For anyone questioning whether the institution of marriage is alive and well, look no further than John and Mary Graziano.
The couple, who now reside at the Paramount at Somers, will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary this year. To honor the occasion, the couple renewed their vows in a ceremony at the residence with their family present.
“They’re a very special couple, they really are,” said their daughter, Mary Ann Esposito. “They’ve had a wonderful marriage.”
The Grazianos came to Somers by way of Florida, where they had been spending their retirement years. Prior to that, they lived in California, where John worked as an engineer at Jet Propulsion Lab and Mary worked as a sewing machine operator for Cole of California, a swimwear company. But, upon arriving at the Paramount in Somers, everyone working there immediately took note of how inseparable they were.
“They go to all the activities together, they go to Mass together, they eat together,” said Esposito. “They do not leave each other’s sides; they are very inseparable. It’s really nice to see these days. My father, he still fusses over my mother. If she’s not feeling good, he’ll sit by her side all day and stare at her. I’ll say, ‘Dad, you need to sleep or rest,’ but he does not leave her side, ever.”
Seeing how in love they are, the staff at the Paramount was instantly won over.
“The people who work there love my parents because my parents are very sweet, and they do everything together,” Esposito said. “They thought that they were so adorable and so cute, and they could see the way that my parents are, their love and affection for each other, even after all these years. You just don’t see that anymore.”
The staff was so charmed by the loving couple that they decided to do something for them, something that was borne out of a simple question.
“They asked my mother, ‘Would you still marry your husband over again?’ ” Esposito recalled, “and my mom laughed and she said, ‘Sure!’ And they thought it was really cute and kind of set an example of how the old marriages are still together.”
From that conversation, plans began to take shape for the couple to renew their vows. For Esposito, the renewal is a chance for them to celebrate her parents’ union and honor a marriage that has remained true to the vows they took nearly 70 years ago.
“Their vows have always been strong,” she said. “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, they’ve always kept to that.”
The day is also a chance to do something that they both enjoy as much as being together, and that’s spending time with family.
“They’re all about family,” said Esposito. “They’re all about spending holidays with family and very committed to their beliefs.”
However, she concedes that while she has no doubt that her parents enjoyed renewing their vows, she also says that being the center of attention is something that isn’t in their nature.
“They’re very humble people,” she said. “And, if my father and mother ever had a problem, you never knew it. They dealt with it and you never knew a thing.”
The event is an opportunity for all the people the Grazianos have touched to take a moment to give back and acknowledge how unique a marriage like theirs really is.
“My parents are rare because they’ve always been devoted to their love,” said Esposito, “so I think it’s special to give something back for them. It’s a special tribute to them and they deserve it.”