Vintage residents have a deep history. For many, that deep history includes memories of being an active part of the war. Each Vintage community honors these residents by putting their pictures on a “Veteran Wall.” Learn about Wallace, a veteran and his wife, Marilyn.
This story began in the city of Pasadena. Wallace and Marilyn met when they were four years old. They attended the same church and their mothers were friends. Wallace lived in Montebello and Marilyn in Pasadena. They grew up knowing each other and spending Sundays together. They attended different schools but were friendly throughout their childhood and adolescent years.
In 1943, Wallace joined the marines and was sent to Iwo Jima with the 5th Marines. He had just become engaged to a high school sweetheart right before departing for battle. But after enlisting and being sent off, he reconsidered and broke the engagement, thinking it would be unfair to have his fiancé wait for him. The next six weeks of war were very challenging ones for Wallace. The battle was treacherous and difficult to fathom. But Wallace persevered.
Wallace acknowledged it was a horrible war. When the flag was raised at Mount Suribachi, he shared that a roar could be heard from all the Americans. The point was so high, Americans could easily spot the American Flag. “It sends a chill in me to think of it” Wallace would say. “The flag stands for something. It stood for a lot that day.”
Wallace was discharged in 1946.
When Wallace returned in 1946, he once again became engaged to his high school sweetheart. Marilyn was invited to the wedding. But two weeks before, the wedding was once again called off, this time by the soon to be bride. It was for the best as Wallace did not feel as bad as he thought he would. It simply was not meant to be and this opened the possibility of a romance with Marilyn.
Marilyn and Wallace continued to be friends throughout this time. In fact, Wallace’s father would encourage Wallace to ask Marilyn out as he was fond of her. Finally, after week s of prompting, Wallace did ask Marilyn out after church one Sunday. Their first date was going to see “I’ve Always Loved You”, a war movie. Their courtship was quick and they become inseparable thereafter. Their relationship continued to strengthen and their romance was alive and well!
They were married in 1947 at the Church of Roses in Pasadena (which is still there). Marilyn was studying English literature and they moved into her mother’s home in Pasadena. Wallace found a job in the van and storage business and Marilyn found herself pregnant. They have resided in Alhambra for 57 years with 3 children.
For 65 years, Wallace and Marilyn have been together. They had a happy marriage, she shares, with many good times. Wallace was firm but never got angry and never raised his voice.
They both moved to Massie Hall at California Mission Inn in July of 2011. Marilyn shared she knew it was the right place when she visited and discovered the building was built in 1926, the same year as she was born, and was originally a home for missionaries. Her faith has always been strong.
“We love being here, it’s home” she says. “The staff is wonderful to us, from the food servers to the caregivers. They are all kind, considerate, ready to do the next step and so good at anticipating our needs. I am so happy here!”
In March of this year, 2012, Wallace moved to Recollections. Marilyn stayed in her apartment. Fortunately, they are on the same floor so she can visit him frequently. “Separating from Wallace was the hardest thing I have ever done. But I’ve gone the road as far as I can go with Wallace and we are in the best environment now.” They still dine together as well as spend quality time together, watching Dancing with the Stars, a favorite activity.
Marilyn concludes, “We have three wonderfully supportive children and three wonderfully supportive grandchildren. We could wish for nothing more. And here, we are surrounded by wonderful people. We are lucky!”
For more information on how Vintage has honored our veterans, visit our YouTube channel.