60 Years of Moonlit Serenades

Enjoying 60 years of wedded bliss is not something many couples get to experience. So when we run across a joyful 60-year celebration with roots to Northeast PA, we want to share it with our readers!

Veronica (“Ronnie”) Lubniewski and Elmer Rolla met at Migsy’s, the “famous” hamburger and candy store, in Dunmore, where all the teenagers met. They were from the “Sport Hill” section of Dunmore (the end of the Drinker Street Line) and attended Dunmore High School. Ronnie asked Elmer to her senior prom. Later, Elmer joined the Marines. When he was home on leave, their dates included going to the movies or taking long walks.

When asked how they knew each other was “the one” Elmer responded, “Being in the Marines, I had limited time with Ronnie, and I missed her a lot, so I knew it was more than friendship. Ronnie agreed. “I missed him so much that when we were together, I knew we had something special.”

Ronnie knew Elmer was going give her a ring, so she sent along her best girlfriend, Joanne, to help him pick it out. “I gave her special instructions– it had to be white gold, which was popular at that time,” explained Ronnie.

Ronnie (age 20) and Elmer (age 21) married on December 29, 1956 at St. Michael’s Byzantine Church in Dunmore. They were attended by Joanne Minner (Ronnie’s best friend) and Bob Rolla (Elmer’s brother) both of whom are now deceased. They had a reception dinner at Donini’s Restaurant in Dunmore. Billy Fells, Ronnie’s nephew, played the accordion. The couple spent their honeymoon in New York City, where they celebrated New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Their first son was born exactly one year later on December 29, 1957.

Both Ronnie and Elmer lost their fathers when they were quite young, so each learned to work hard to help support their family. After serving in the Marines, Elmer worked at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Haddon Craftsmen Inc. and as a custodian in the Scranton School District. Ronnie also worked at Tobyhanna and at King’s Department Store.

The couple considers the births of their five children, Gary, Kimberly, John, Daniel and Bonnie to be some of their happiest moments as a couple. The couple recounts many happy family memories such as fishing and family vacations to places such as Hawaii, Ireland and Disney World. But their life was also touched by tragedy– none more difficult than the loss of their then 16-year-old daughter, Kimberly in an automobile accident. They say their faith in God, and many prayers and support of family and friends got them through together.

Ronnie and Elmer’s family has grown to include 17 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. 14 years ago they moved from Scranton to Harrisburg to be closer to their children. They recently celebrated their 60th anniversary with their entire family during a dinner party at the Colonial Country Club in Harrisburg, complete with a video of their lives from childhood to present. The couple also celebrated with a special mass and a vow renewal ceremony at St. Margaret Mary Church.

The couple’s prom song, “Moonlight Serenade” by Glenn Miller, still holds a special place in their hearts. They say their secret to a long and healthy marriage is, “We always remember our younger days together and how much in love we were; we face each day united together; and we thank God every day for everything He has given to us.”