Harvey couple celebrates six decades of love

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Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
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Jesse and Lena Italiano celebrate 60 years of marriage.
Camera IconJesse and Lena Italiano celebrate 60 years of marriage. Credit: Briana Fiore/Briana Fiore

A Harvey couple is celebrating 60 years of marriage, friendship and love.

Jesse and Lena Italiano tied the knot six decades ago and said the secret to a happy marriage was patience, understanding and compromise.

The love birds were married on October 8, 1960, however Jesse had his eyes on Lena long before that.

“Lena’s brother Joe was going out with my sister and that’s when I saw her for the first time,” Jesse said.

“I thought she was beautiful.”

Jesse, who admitted to being extremely shy, told Joe about his crush on Lena, but Joe gave his sister the heads up.

“My brother told me how Jesse felt, so I already knew before he come to see me,” Lena said.

“He used to visit me once or twice a week, I remember waiting in the driveway for him.”

Jesse said he was head over heels for Lena and recalled going past a photo gallery in Bunbury just to see Lena’s picture.

“There was this gallery in Bunbury that had Lena’s picture in the windowsill,” Jesse said.

Jesse Italiano would visit the photographer's gallery in Bunbury to catch a glimpse of Lena's picture.
Camera IconJesse Italiano would visit the photographer's gallery in Bunbury to catch a glimpse of Lena's picture.

“Every time I went to Bunbury, I would go past, just to see her.”

Their relationship blossomed and they were soon married in their home town of Harvey.

“We had about 400 people at our wedding,” Jesse said.

“In those days, you just invited the whole town.

“It was a lot different to weddings today, we danced a lot and had finger-food like sandwiches and peanuts, as most people did back then.”

Jesse and Lena Italiano were the first couple to get married in Westbrook Hall.
Camera IconJesse and Lena Italiano were the first couple to get married in Westbrook Hall.

Jesse said he and Lena were the first couple that celebrated their wedding in Harvey’s Westbrook Hall.

They said they were opposites but still supported each other.

Lena was a talented opera singer and performer, while Jesse loved life on the farm.

“We had different hobbies, but I supported her and she supported me,” Jesse said.

Jesse and Lena said they were most proud of their five children, 13 grand children and four great-grand children.

“60 years is a long time and there are ups and downs, but we are still together because Lena has a lot of patience,” Jesse joked.

The pair received letters of congratulations from Prime Minister, the Governor General and the Queen.

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