comments

Rocklin couple about to celebrate their 60th Valentine’s Day together

The Lovisas’ love story
By: Teresa O'Hanlon, Special to The Placer Herald
-A +A
What does a kid need to know in third grade? For starters there are those multiplication tables and of course identifying certain parts of speech is important. Don’t forget the basics of early American history, and oh yes, recognizing the soul mate. What? Haven’t come across Dating 101 in a teacher’s manual lately? Dino Lovisa of Rocklin didn’t need a teacher to tell him the little girl who sat next to him in third grade back in 1939 would be the one he was meant to be with forever. “I was walking home from school with my brother in Sacramento and I said, ‘See that little girl over there? I’m going to marry that girl,’” remembers Dino. “My brother told me I was nuts and I told him, ‘No, I’m going to marry her.’ She was a great gal and cute as could be.” The little girl, Lucretia, went by the nickname Lu, and was an excellent student. So no surprise when Dino offered to share his answers to their homework assignments, Lu didn’t take much notice. Not much that is until eighth grade. “In eighth grade he told me he was going to marry me and I thought he was a little bit strange at first,” laughed Lu. “Then we became good friends and when we were 16 we went on our first date to the show.” Dino was the big man on campus at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento because he had a set of wheels. “In those days you could drive at 14 if your dad had a business and I was the only guy with a car so I drove the nuns all over the place!” he remembered. “Lu went to Saint Francis and boy did I keep track of her.” And Dino’s lifelong wish to marry his third grade sweetheart came true on Sept. 6, 1952 when the couple exchanged wedding vows on a beautiful autumn day. As for celebrating their love on Feb. 14, surprising a sweetheart with card and candy wasn’t quite the American tradition just yet. “Valentine’s got to be more of a deal after we were married a few years,” Lu said. “He always brought me a flower or a little gift. Dino is always making me something special.” This Valentine’s Day Lu and Dino will be reminiscing about what their love has given them: two beautiful daughters, Toni and Carolyn, and fun times with their four grandchildren. “To this day they walk hand-in-hand and have fun together,” said daughter Toni James of El Dorado Hills. “A wonderful memory is the way they dance with each other. Mom looks like a feather in Dad’s arms; she never stops smiling up at him and Dad is always whistling! Doesn’t matter what song is playing, Dad is whistling.” A master woodworker and terrazzo and tile expert, when Dino sold their “terazza” business in 1977 he gave Lu the surprise of her life. “He got me one day and said let’s go look at this house in Rocklin,” she remembered. “It was a big surprise. He knew I loved this area and he surprised me with this great big house.” Life in Rocklin gave Lu a new opportunity to work with children, as a teacher’s assistant for the Rocklin Unified School District, where she spent 20 years. The couple agreed their many blessings come from God, their church and never raising their voices at each other. “I told her before we got married we’re not going to fight,”Dino said. “And we never fought and our kids would say, ‘Gee don’t you guys ever fight? We went over to so and so’s house and their mom and dad were yelling at each other.” No time for fighting really, because Lu and Dino keep busy. There’s always a fence to build, a meal to cook for a family in need, or a project at their church, Saints Peter and Paul. “They are people of deep faith and they sit in the same pew every Sunday; not once in awhile, but every Sunday at Mass and both of them are so dedicated to helping others,” said Father Michael Dillon. “And when you call Dino, he can just about fix anything and he sometimes says ‘Nothing to fear; Dino is here.’ He’s one of those wonderful people that we all need to have around.” And Lu feels lucky the little boy from her third grade class picked her as his lifelong Valentine. “He’s just so supportive,” she shared. “I can’t imagine any day without him.”