‘I love you, that’s why’: Milford couple celebrates 73 years of marriage
MILFORD, PA — What’s more important than love? Nothing, if you ask Emil Petrick.
“L-O-V-E, love—it’s the most important thing,” he said, at his residence at Belle Reve Senior Living.
Emil will celebrate 73 years of marriage to his wife Josephine on June 9 of this year.
She was the pretty girl next door, and he was the neighborhood paperboy—both living on opposite sides of the Washington Street Bridge in Perth Amboy, NJ. Their brush with fate started in their teens when Emil would stop to chat with Josephine on his paper route.
“I don’t know why he was after me,” said Josephine, sheepishly. “But, he was a good-looking fellow, and he never was after any other girls.”
Their paths continued to cross at different affairs. Josephine loved to attend the dances held at the church hall. Emil was a wallflower, who would wait and watch as Josephine took a spin on the dance floor. Into high school, they remained close, but it wasn’t anything serious.
Then, Emil received a draft notice. He was off to join the Army during World War II.
“I gave her an engagement ring, and told her to wait for me,” said Emil. The separation was rough for the young couple.
“He said to wait for him—that he’d only be gone six months—but six months turned into three and a half years,” said Josephine.
He went to war. She waited. The couple stayed in touch through letters. To his safety, Emil will attest to his strong Catholic faith. Close to the end of the war, with not a scratch on him, Emil was hit in the heart. Instead of the bullet piercing his skin, it was deflected by a crucifix, which he had placed in his breast pocket just moments earlier.
His brush with death solidified his main objective—marrying the woman he promised himself to years before.
Although the Petricks faced their ups and downs, they remained loyal to each other.
“He would always say, ‘I love you, that’s why,’” said Josephine, which Emil replied, “Because it’s true.”
Together they raised three children and doted on their seven grandchildren. Now at Belle Reve senior community, the couple is enjoying companionship, freshly prepared meals and plenty of entertainment to pique their interests, as well as additional amenities and services.