HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
COURTESY OF CHARLES AND GENEVIEVE SCHARFF
Charles and Genevieve Scharff -- he's 89, she's 87 -- fell in love several years ago after long marriages to other partners. CLICK FOR LARGE
Octogenarian couple treats Valentine's Day as gift
He popped question 7 years ago, at 82
GENEVIEVE and "C.W." Scharff are proof that it's never too late to find love.
After losing their spouses from long marriages, neither imagined finding someone to settle down with -- again.
But Genevieve's "gorgeous smile," her easygoing way, or the fact that "I needed a cook; I hate to cook," as C.W. puts it, prompted him to pop the question at the age of 82, on his knees in front of friends on a cruise ship.
He hasn't regretted it. C.W.'s now 89 going on 90.
Though it's not their anniversary, Valentine's Day is special because "it's a day for lovers, and that's what we are," said Genevieve, 87.
"I'm going to be 90. I can't think how I possibly would have done without having someone like this gal," he said.
They met at an Elks Club dance while dating others. A year later, they found each other single and fell "wildly in love," she said.
"I needed an escort to dance with," Genevieve recalled. "He was nice and tall, a nice dancer and a gentleman to the nth degree. At my age, it's very difficult to find a healthy, good-looking, virile, financially stable, secure man."
"I needed someone to take care of me," he said.
"And I need someone to take care of," she rejoined.
They live at the Kahala Nui retirement home, and each keeps a bedroom because "we like to give each other space. We sleep well, but still do a lot of cuddling," Genevieve said, adding, "you'll notice the rug is worn out between the two bedrooms."
TO KEEP the sparks alive, Genevieve said, it is important to "keep yourself looking attractive enough to attract."
They both swim daily, take walks and still go dancing.
"Nothing is better than the Golden Rule. We treat each other the way we want to be treated -- that's it. We still bump heads because we're both leaders, so we're going to have some confrontation," Genevieve said. "But we both take marriage very seriously."
A mild stroke three years ago left C.W. with short-term memory loss, slowed reactions and the subsequent loss of his driver's license. That dealt a severe blow to his sense of independence, and he lapsed into depression. Then "she came to the hospital and dragged me home," he said.
"A great deal of extra TLC (tender loving care)," including a daily regimen of a dozen vitamins and the healing passage of time, put him to right, she said.
"We just feel very blessed to be this age and this independent. ... Today is a gift. We're over the lifetime expectancy, and we make the most out of every day we can," she said.
Tonight they will celebrate with their favorite meat loaf and mashed potatoes in the retirement home cafeteria -- and later, perhaps, candlelight and chocolates.