TURLOCK — For Lloyd and Marie Starn, Valentine’s Day has an extra special meaning.
The night before Valentine’s Day, 1950, Lloyd was leaving the Central Valley to join the Navy and serve in the Korean War. He and Marie had been going steady for a few months.
Before he enlisted, he took Marie on one last date and he didn’t show up empty-handed.
“When I saw this big box of candy, you know, pretty much I was overwhelmed because I had never had a box like that,” Marie said.
Inside that See’s Candy box was a ring.
“She promised to wait for me,” Lloyd said.
Nearly every day they were apart, Marie and Lloyd wrote love letters to one another.
“We always said something about how much we loved each other. Every day,” Marie said. “And he would get the most mail!”
When Lloyd finally returned, they committed to spend every Valentine’s Day together — for better or for worse.
“I’d do it all over again,” Lloyd said.
Now, 66 years, four kids and many grandchildren later, Lloyd made a trip to See’s again this year to mark that fateful day he asked Marie for her hand.
“Put a note in it that said thanks for waiting,” he said. “Because she waited for me.”
They say it hasn’t always been easy, but every year their love grows stronger.
“Well, we still love each other, even though sometimes we argue, but we get over it,” Marie said.
“I tell her how beautiful she is all the time because I really mean it,” Lloyd added.
Every Valentine’s Day, they remember how one box of chocolates marked the beginning of a journey together that has lasted nearly seven decades.
“The flame is still alive and we’ve had differences and the flame has flickered, but it’s never gone out,” Lloyd said. “It’s never gone out and it’s stronger now than it ever was. It’s just as bright as it ever was.”