By Val Simon
Eddie and Marianne Valvano have been married since 1963. The couple just celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. In Point Pleasant, NJ, Eddie was swimming, using a diving board at a neighbor’s house, when he spotted a girl walking down the street. Eddie asked his neighbor, “Who is that girl?” His neighbor replied, “My friend, Marianne.” At 16 years old Eddie felt in his heart he would marry her one day.
Marianne recollects, “We thought Eddie was conceited. He had this boat, we all had boats, but his was a big motor boat and all we had were little dinghies. But, he wouldn’t give anyone a ride in the boat and he never, never took friends out in the boat. He would just drive along the beach and wave at us.” Eddie laments, “It wasn’t that I was conceited, my parents wouldn’t allow me to let anyone get in that boat! Driving past the beach was the most I could do. My parents were very strict, especially Mother!”
As teens, Eddie and Marianne recall organizing a fundraiser selling candy with their friends from Sunshine Harbor. “The beach had lights on pretty late and we wanted to put a hardtop over one part and resurface the basketball court, so we could play games, maybe bring some music and have dances there. Heck, it was already lit. I contacted some candy companies and found one that worked with us directly and we sold candy. We got the area covered with asphalt and we had so much fun there. We spent so much time having parties, dances and all kinds of gatherings there every summer. In fact, that little piece of asphalt was still in existence until Hurricane Sandy took it last year.”
In a beautiful frame, in a lit cabinet in the Valvano’s living room, are the high school rings they exchanged a long while ago along with something from each year they dated until they wed. The cake top, handmade by a loving uncle for their wedding cake, is also there. Their wedding album, still cherished, is on the coffee table. Eddie wanted to go back to where they wed for their anniversary, but Marianne insisted all she wanted was to have her children and grandchildren with them to celebrate.
Every couple has something they can attribute their happy marriage to, if they’re blessed enough to be in one. For Eddie and Marianne it is their strong faith in God. “For our 50th Anniversary, we received a Papal Blessing from Pope Francis and two Proclamations from St. Joseph’s and a very special remembrance from Italy from our patron St. Anthony of Padua. We celebrated mass at San Marco Catholic Church with Father Boyhan and Father Russell, which was truly an honor. Our family was here at the mass. It was wonderful,” said Eddie. “We spent a week in Islamorada at the beach in a cottage.” The couple had their children Marissa, Monica, Marylee and Anthony with them as well as their grandchildren, Bryce and Baylor and precious granddaughter Bianca. “We are so proud of them,” said Eddie.
When asked for advice for couples today, Marianne had a few words of wisdom to share. “Never say anything out of anger or meanness. If it is important enough to say, it can wait until you’re not angry.” Besides his faith in God, Eddie says, “No matter what, before going to sleep, we give each each other a kiss and say, ‘I love you,’ even when it’s hard.”
Ed and Marianne are known locally as the “Pair from Paradise,” a motto from their long real estate career. Eddie has suffered debilitating pains for a number of years, but his faith has helped him manage. Don’t let Eddie fool you, his alias is “Fast Eddie!” A moniker which probably reflects his enormous charm and a quick wit that would keep anyone entertained. These qualities might be added to a list Marianne found special when she said yes to Ed’s proposal more than fifty years ago.
The Pair from Paradise have been in real estate for Prudential (now Berkshire Hathaway Home Services). Eddie continues to assist Marianne, and has taken on a custom position with Publix. “As Ambassadors, we ensure customer happiness. It doesn’t get any better than that! It has been great in my healing process.”
Ed and Marianne have many wonderful stories, all of which are true examples of their devotion to family, friends and faith.
Congratulations to the Pair from Paradise on 50 wonderful years!