Couples who met at Town ‘N’ Country Senior Center celebrate Valentine’s Day

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Love and music were in the air at the Town ‘N’ Country Senior Center on Thursday as the folks there got an early start to Valentine’s Day.

A band played Latin music and pizza and goodies were served as the seniors boogied the afternoon away.

Some of the couples celebrating the holiday with their friends actually met at the center.

Jorge Zambarana met his wife Laura at the senior center’s gym. The couple is 96 and 94 years old.

“First time I saw her. We started talking and I asked her where she was from and she asked me. And that’s the way it started. About three months later…we were married!” he exclaimed.

“Since I saw him, I went to my house and said to my children…I told them that I met a man [who’s] very important for me,” Laura laughed.

She told 8 On Your Side Jorge would come sit beside her at the center’s programs every Thursday after that.

“He comes and sits close to me. And we’d talk about the country, his country – Puerto Rico – and my country – that is Colombia – nothing important!” she said.

Laura said her husband invited her on a cruise during the first three months of their relationship.

She told him yes, she would go, when she was married.

“You know who has the key to the cruise? The priest!” Laura said she told Jorge.

The couple went to Walmart and bought their rings, went on the cruise and haven’t looked back since.

Maria Fernandez and Nic Russell also met at the center. They have been together almost four years.

“I wanted to expand on becoming more conversationally proficient, I already understood Spanish, but I wanted to improve it, so I showed up here and lessons were being offered and Maria became my teacher and everything got started because of the Spanish lessons,” Russell explained.

Fernandez had an accident and couldn’t drive during these lessons. Russell began to visit her, even taking her to doctor appointments.

The couple said they are incredibly compatible and enjoy karaoke together.

Russell said they have “mental telepathy,” as they’ve noticed he’ll be thinking of something and she’ll begin talking about the same thing.

“It just has to be that sixth sense that we don’t understand,” he said.

“He is a very intelligent man. He is very intellectual. I like that. For the first time I could be with somebody and talk and talk,” Fernandez said. “If you are lucky enough that this can happen to you, it’s like a miracle for me. It’s something that is like the Lord giving you a new life before you.”

“That you will miss if you don’t live this long because a lot of people don’t. It’s just a privilege to get to this age and not thinking that all you have to do is sit on a chair and wait for death or something like that.”

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