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Coronavirus keeps Florida couple apart on 70th anniversary

Posted at 12:16 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 14:52:53-04

LARGO, Fla. -- For 69 years, Don and Joan Carroll spent every single wedding anniversary together. But they had to settle for FaceTime to celebrate 70 years.

“Because of the lockdown, we can’t get together,” Joan Carroll said. “But, I’m thankful for the connection we do have.”

Don has dementia and lives in the Oak Manor Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Largo. Joan lives in an assisted living facility miles away. She used to visit him twice a week.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, she can no longer see her husband.

“I know this might be our last anniversary, so it makes it a little difficult for me,” Joan said.

Still, she tries to remain upbeat.

The teams at both of their facilities have made sure the epic lovebirds will be able to celebrate their big day.

Joan Carroll asked for two things to mark the occasion. One was a wedding-cake topper. She’s been collecting them ever since their “$7 wedding.”

“The $7 wedding, at least that’s what I called it,” she said. “I bought blue satin for my wedding dress for $4, and paid a lady $3 to make it! One of the ladies who worked with me, her husband was a baker and baked our wedding cake for, you guessed it, $7. And my wedding band cost $7!”

She also asked for a picture to be made: Don and Joan, side by side, together again. She got that wish, too.

“Those things mean a lot to me, especially with where he is,” she said.

This story was originally published by Sean Daly on WFTS in Tampa, Florida.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering