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Grateful for Vaccination, South Bay Couple Looks Back on Decades of Valentine's Day Memories

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- The pandemic has turned the world upside down for a lot of people but one couple in the South Bay is taking the long view of history and it's a history they've experienced together.

Sunday, the Oakmont Assisted Living community in San Jose was all decked out for Valentines Day. And by offering a second round of vaccination, they were hoping to soon be able to see residents hug family members kept apart for nearly a year now.

"That's the hope," said Oakmont's Heather Evans. "Of course, we need to wait for the guidelines. I think all of us are kind of in a standby with that."

One couple holds the Valentine record for the house. Fritz and Marjorie Buell have been married for 67 years and, Sunday, they got their COVID-19 shots to make sure there are even more.

"Every year is important because it's another year that we add to how long we've been together," said Marjorie. "That's what we count, not the years themselves but how long we've been together."

"That's a long time!" said Fritz with a laugh.

So what's it like to be married for 67 years? "It's probably the best thing I did," he said.

A deadly pandemic may seem frightening but Fritz and Marjorie have faced other dangers since they were married in 1953. Back then, Sen. Joe McCarthy was whipping up fear over communism, the world was locked in a nuclear arms race and school children were being taught how to "duck and cover." Parents even worried their kids might be corrupted by a brash young singer named Elvis Presley.

But their toughest trial came decades later.

"We lost our oldest son, died when he was 20," said Marjorie. "That's the hardest thing we ever had to deal with. Since then, whatever comes, comes and it's not a big deal as long as we can keep our kids safe."

Sunday's vaccination was a way of keeping family members safe -- from each other -- in the hope they can soon be together again.

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