Life is better when you dance, says a couple who have just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They revealed their secret to remain happy and in love in the midst of the pandemic.
Consuelo Díaz, 79, says she married on September 18, 1960, a date that for both of them is unforgettable. Her husband Rafaél Alvarez is 84 years old and despite his many decades, they say that age for them is just a number. They affectionately call each other "chata" and "papi", but when they get angry "I shout to him, 'Rafael' or sometimes 'useless', like the song from Paquita la del Barrio", Diaz said.
To find out how this love story started, we have to go back to 1960. In that year, they both swore eternal love, a moment that was engraved on a photograph, but they never thought they would end up married because when they met they had different first impressions of each other.
"I said to myself, 'She's pretty,'" Alvarez says.
But Diaz had heard rumors that Alvarez had many girlfriends, but over the time he stole her heart. At the time they lived in Mexico, but one day an opportunity came that they were waiting for.
"I told her I've already arranged the papers and I can work in America and I'm leaving, but I'm not going alone, I want to go married," Alvarez recalls cheerfully.
That's when he asked for her hand.
"Her dad said to me, 'Well Rafael, do you have a house?' I said, 'Sir, I don't have anything.' 'So what do you offer my daughter?' and I said, 'These hands to work for her and this heart to love her," Alvarez said.
The rest is history.
They married and with their pockets almost empty, went to live in Mexicali where they spent their honeymoon.
"It was the best honeymoon, I don't think even a girl has dreamed of such a unique honeymoon. We were homeless in the city of Mexicali and slept under some stairs" Diaz recalls from when they arrived in the border town, they had no furniture, no house, and only $50 pesos in their pocket.
During the day Alvarez crossed the border to El Centro to work and she, although without any place to live, looked forward to when he came back from work.
"There was a lot of love. There were days with 120 degrees of heat in Mexicali and I spent the night fanning the cover of my dress with which I gave air to my husband so that ٞhe could sleep and go to work another day,” Diaz said.
For weeks, the restaurant stairs became their love nest, but upon receiving his first paycheck of $44, they went in search of their first apartment.
"It had no light, it had covered windows, it had no floor. That was my palace," Diaz says.
Then over time, they moved to San Diego where they had their four children and now their family includes nine grandchildren.
At their 60 years of marriage, the love they have is not the same... it's stronger.
"There have been diseases and more than anything poverty, a lot of poverty," Alvarez said.
But the two continue to fall in love, dancing, holding hands and in these pandemic times they have come together more than they already were, and their children have delved deeper into their beliefs.
"They already visit us to hear Mass on television together and I am glad that this sad situation will serve something,” Diaz said.
They hardly leave their home not to expose themselves to COVID-19, sometimes they sit down to read the love letters he wrote to his wife more than 60 years ago, which has become a great treasure, but the most valuable thing they have is their happiness and love.
They say that unfortunately, their 60-year marriage celebration was not as expected because of the pandemic, but they celebrated it with the children and grandchildren at home.
They claim that the secret of living happily ever after for 60 years has been the understanding and fidelity of each other.