Love at first sight 68 years later

Nadine and Greydon Martin dance at the Valentine’s Day production at Long Beach Queen Mary. Courtesy photos

They say love makes you do crazy things but perhaps this is a first. Apparently, it was Greydon Martin’s quick thinking to pull out his driver’s license all those years ago that led to a real-life fairytale romance.

Flashing his driver’s license was not because he was driving over the speed limit, but perhaps because his heart was racing, and he did not know what else to do.

A Seal Beach couple who lovingly renewed their wedding vows at a Valentine’s Day event revealed just how beautifully awkward true love can sometimes be.

Nonprofit producer Chad Berlinghieri, of Cathedral Productions, had a packed house for his Valentine’s Day “Love Story” production aboard the Queen Mary.

As entertainment for the evening, Berlinghieri brought together some of the area’s top opera singers for a night of enchantment. Profits from the evening are being used to set up a fund for retired religious clergy to be announced at a later date.

With love in the air, however, a Seal Beach couple stepped forward to renew their vows. Although they have been married for a while, their love obviously hasn’t aged a day.

Greydon and Nadine (Roth) Martin from St. Anne’s Church in Seal Beach were ready to renew the vows of marriage after six decades and five years. “

According to Berlinghieri, St. Anne’s Church Pastor Emeritus Father Robert Vidal sat in front of them as the couple sat like giddy teenagers, as excited now as they were when the first met.

They met when they were 16 and 18 respectively. Nadine is now 86 and Greydon is 84.

Although they have enjoyed many memories in their 65-year marriage, most telling was their first encounter that, without quick thinking, would have perhaps ended much differently.

In his statement, Greydon Martin says Nadine Roth was then a cashier at the Alan Theatre in Southgate, California, when they first met. In 1949, Greydon said “I walked her home.”

As they walked, as teenagers do, Nadine nonchalantly told Greydon that her birthday happened to be Sept. 2.

“I said mine too,” replied Greydon.

He remembers that, at that point, Nadine “just stopped walking.” Dead stop. Slow turn. She looks up.

So “I had to turn around to see her,” remembers Greydon.

Nadine looks squarely at Greydon that fateful day and says, “what a corny line!”

Apparently not sure how to respond, the befuddled Greydon had the presence of mind to quickly reach into his wallet, pull out his driver’s license (to prove they had the same birthday) and suddenly blurts out “we should get married.”

Well, they didn’t get married right away but they “went together” in high school and eventually, on November 22, 1952, at St. Helen’s Church in Southgate, they were married, had five children and now eight grandchildren.

In all those years, “Nadine has worked hard to train me and hasn’t given up yet,” he says. In 65 years of marriage, Greydon has not lost his sense of humor.

As Father Vidal officiated the impromptu Queen Mary ceremony, the couple solemnly said “I do” all over again.

This time, Greydon’s words to Nadine were a bit more serious. “Nadine, I want to thank you for these last 65 years. I couldn’t imagine having gone through my life without you. Will you please marry me again?”

She said yes. And smiled, said Berlinghieri and the happy couple danced the whole night through.

Love apparently can make one do crazy things. Sixty-eight years ago, Greydon reached into his pocket and pulled out a lifetime of love with Nadine.

Not so crazy after all.