Rhode Island couple celebrates 82nd anniversary

Thursday, June 30, 2005

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- John Rocchio remembers his wife as a fetching young woman with an air of intelligence and a fine pair of legs. Amelia Rocchio recalls her husband as a handsome young man who didn't have much to say at first.

It was the start of something beautiful -- and long-lasting.

Wed in a Roman Catholic church in Providence in 1923, the Rocchios marked their 82nd anniversary several months ago and could be the world's longest-married couple.

"Patience and understanding will get you a long way -- especially with your wife," John, 101, explained matter-of-factly on a recent morning at the home where he and his 99-year-old wife live with the younger of their two daughters.

The Web site of Guinness World Records lists a British couple as holding the record with an 80-year marriage, but the husband died earlier this month at 105. Who is next in line is unclear, and Guinness did not respond to requests for comment.

The couple's relationship began when Amelia was 17.

John was walking one day from the trade school where he studied the printing business to his uncle's laundry when he spotted her. He was smitten.

"I hadn't met at my age, at the time, a girl that I went out with that was attractive and so knowledgeable," he said. "Just mention something and she had read it."

"I said to him, 'You don't say too much. You don't talk too much. How come?' ... And he said, 'Well, I'm a guy with a few words,"' Amelia recalled.

She was a "perfect" wife, John recalled, preparing dinners for him -- including his beloved pasta e fagioli -- and putting up with his passion for new cars. In turn, he accompanied her often to the theater and to vaudeville shows.

Asked what has kept them together so long, his wife answered: "Love."

He worked for years in the printing industry, retiring in the mid-1970s after a long career as a compositor for The Providence Journal.

Asked what has kept them together so long, his wife answered: "Love."

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