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Iowa couple celebrates 75 years of marriage during pandemic



CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Leon and Vera Mehring met more than 75 years ago in England.

KCRG reports he was a gunner in the Air Force during World War II, and she was an evacuee from London.

“I saw this big banner that said Prentiss Legion tea dance this afternoon. And so I crashed the tea dance. And out of all the girls at that tea dance, I picked out my wife, Vera,” Leon said.

It only took a few months for them to decide they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

“And six months later I was able to get a 10-day leave, and I came back to England and we got married,” Leon said.

“We’re happy the way things turned out,” Vera said.

And after 75 years, they had to celebrate their milestone anniversary differently this year. Instead of a big party, their kids put together a drive-by parade.

“Well, we’re so fortunate to have our parents, at their age, and for them to be as sharp as they are. So just to show love and affection and to honor them,” Dave Mehring, one of their sons, said.

“It was an act of love. We’ve done really big parties for our parents for their 60th, 65th and 70th, but with COVID we couldn’t do it. So we were trying to think of something we could do to make it a really special day for them,” Denise Vandersanden, their daughter, said.

Vera said they haven’t been able to see many people since the pandemic started.

The drive-by celebration gave them a chance to say hello to family and friends as they leaned out of car windows, waving and honking their horns, and their children surprised Leon and Vera with a renewal of their vows.

Leon’s advice to younger couples? Never go to sleep mad at each other.

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