Joanne knew she'd marry Wayne Kurek the first time she met him. It was "just a feeling."
But even on that blind date five decades ago, Joanne Kurek must have had a soft spot for funny guys. It takes about two seconds of conversing with Wayne Kurek to realize he's a jokester.
He insists that he did not know until the second date that he would marry Joanne.
So, then, how did he know? Butterflies in the stomach? A sign from above? Was it written in the stars?
"You told me," Wayne said Sunday to his wife of 50 years.
The East York couple was among 122 Catholic couples honored Sunday by Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of the Diocese of Harrisburg for reaching their golden anniversaries. Add them up, and those couples represent more than 6,000 years of marriage.
At a time when divorces are at least as common as marriages, this raises the question: What's the secret to a long, happy marriage?
"In 50 years, there's gotta be some problems. But when you got married, you said for better or for worse," Wayne Kurek, 71, said. "It's just a matter of sticking it out. When it's true love, you stick it out."
The first date went a little differently for Shirley and Lee Roy "Dale" Copenheaver, who fell asleep at the drive-in movie theater. But a few months later, the couple reconnected. This time, instead of watching a movie, Shirley and Dale tried talking.
"We had to get to know each other a little bit better," Shirley said.
On June 16, 1962, the two were married. The York City couple, who raised four boys and two girls, was also honored Sunday at Good Shepherd Church in Camp Hill.
"Patience, understanding, faith and a lot of prayers," Shirley Copenheaver, 71, said. "Instead of just saying you love somebody, show them you love them."
For George and Frances Bodnar, Sunday's celebration preceded a "surprise" party planned for next weekend. Married on June 9, 1962, the West York couple will reach the 50th anniversary milestone on Saturday.
The couple's sons and daughters-in-law are keeping the details of Saturday's party under wraps.
"We know we're having" a party, George Bodnar said. "But they didn't tell us where or anything like that."
To keep the romance alive, the Bodnars said they find ways to have fun. They camp, spend time with friends and take road trips. As for conflict resolution, the Bodnars keep it short and sweet. Frances said she walks away if things get heated.
"And I don't talk," said George, not missing a beat.
- Reach Erin James at 505-5439 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ydcity.