Couple’s enduring Bermuda love affair
Ernestine and Andrew “Sandy” Iovino fell in love with the Island while honeymooning here in 1965.
It's no surprise then that the Virginia couple chose Bermuda as the destination for their upcoming 50th anniversary celebration this weekend.
“We love Bermuda. We feel like this is our home away from home and really haven't felt the need to go anywhere else,” Mrs Iovino said.
“We went to Italy five or six years ago and went on a Viking River Boat Cruise that was part of our 50th anniversary present to ourselves in May, but other than that we've just looked forward to coming here.”
The Island's beautiful scenery and laid-back atmosphere were the first things to catch their attention; it was the warm welcome from locals that ultimately sealed the deal.
“I couldn't believe the people here would say ‘Hello', ‘How are you?', ‘Where are you from?',” Mr Iovino said.
“We were riding scooters one day and my wife jumped the curb and lost control. She ended up hitting the side of the road pretty badly and there were three or four people who came to help.
“They were all talking really loudly and discussing who should be the one to take her to the hospital. They all wanted to help.
“One said ‘Well this route is the shortest'; another said ‘I live over this way'. It overwhelmed me the care of the locals that they would want to do something like that. In the US they'd probably run you over. Ever since then we said whenever we could afford it we would come back here.”
They typically spend their time relaxing or checking out the sights in Dockyard, Hamilton or St George's. For the past 20 years, the Iovinos have stayed at St George's Club. The former Carlton Beach and Sonesta Hotel were among the other hotels they visited.
The pair met through mutual friends on Long Island back in 1963.
“I met him when he got out of the service, the army, in 1963. We got engaged on November 14, 1964 and got married the next year,” she said.
Her husband had to travel an hour each way to visit her in Brooklyn during their courtship.
She was won over by his “beautiful green eyes” and personality. “He is very caring and always thinking of me,” she said. “He takes very good care of me and my daughter and was always there for us.
“He was an excellent father. Whenever he did something around the house he always had her helping him. If he was doing a construction project she would have a wheelbarrow and would have some hand in helping him.”
Mrs Iovino found it took “lots of work” and understanding to make their marriage last.
“Give and take — that's what a marriage is about,” she said. “There are times when I'm a very strong-minded person and it has to be my way or no way, but I can't stay married if I always have to be right all the time.”
Mr Iovino said he was first attracted to her looks and skills in the kitchen.
“She's a great cook and makes sure I stay on top of my health,” he said. “If it wasn't for her I'd be a lot worse off. Last year I went through a knee replacement — she was the one who encouraged me to go to the doctor right away. She's provided me with a fantastic life. I don't think I could have had such a great life with anyone else.”
To couple plan to mark their golden anniversary with a special dinner at Griffin's Bistro in St George's on Saturday.