On the morning Eileen and Lou Samboceti got ready for the Mountain Democrat’s visit to take their photograph marking the couple’s 65th wedding anniversary, each got dressed separately — then emerged with both wearing light-colored slacks and navy blue shirts.
“That’s what happens after 65 years, everything just seems to come together,” said Lou, 86, laughing at his wife’s reaction to both of them choosing the same outfit.
The charming couple not only celebrated 65 years of matrimony, in May, they also looked forward to Halloween on Thursday, Oct. 31.
They met one another at a Halloween party in 1946, when each was on a blind date with two other people.
“I didn’t like the guy I was with and he didn’t like his date either,” said Eileen, 84. “I was only 16 at the time and was going to an all-girls school, but I had seen Lou playing at sporting events over the years, so I knew who he was.”
“You were so lucky to get me, Eileen,” said Lou, eyes sparkling at his wife’s fresh reaction to his sense of humor.
It’s that sense of humor and apparent all-around symbiosis that provides the cement for a relationship that has seen the joys of the birth of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, along with life’s trials and tribulations.
All the while Eileen and Lou have maintained a closeness and friendship that has carried them through the thousands of days together, both agree.
The secret to a sound, happy marriage is simple, according to Lou: “I always let her win the arguments — I haven’t won one in 65 years,” he said.
“Yes, you have,” Eileen jumped in, as her husband winked over her head.
The second most important thing in keeping a marriage happy is to learn to say, “Yes, dear,” according to Lou.
“But he only says that on things he wants to get away with,” Eileen added.
On a serious note, both agreed that “compromise” is the catchword for any successful union.
“We never went to marriage counseling, because they didn’t have that in our day but I think it’s a good idea for any couple that needs it,” said Eileen.
The Sambocetis, who live in Placerville not far from the city park on Benham Street, walked downtown on Halloween to watch the youngsters in their costumes in a popular parade that draws thousands of local residents.
Their joy in such simple pleasures has helped account for the marriage’s longevity, according to Eileen, who said their 65th anniversary celebration last spring wasn’t full of ostentation.
“For our wedding anniversary, one of our daughters, Kathy, placed a congratulatory banner on the wall and sent flowers, then we went out for dinner,” she said. “We’re just happy to wake up every morning and see what the day brings.”
What the day brings for Eileen is a brisk 2-mile walk through Placerville, where her friendly face is welcomed by locals. Her husband at least three times a week enjoys a round of golf with buddies and is proud of the hole-in-one he shot at age 77.
The couple once played tennis together on a regular basis and Lou described Eileen as “the best tennis partner I could have had.”
The Sambocetis dealt with some tough times when Lou was in his early 40s and asthma set in. With her husband in and out of the hospital at least 15 times, Eileen said she took to heart the part of her vow that states, “in sickness and in health.”
Nowadays, both enjoy a healthy life that includes exercise and proper diet, with a generous dose of affection for one another.
“I razz Lou a little bit but that’s just to make sure he’s still kicking,” said Eileen.
Eileen and Lou Samboceti were married May 16, 1948, at the Immaculate Conception Church in Sacramento. What might have seemed inauspicious at the time, their wedding car was involved in a wreck on the way to the reception and the newlyweds had to borrow another vehicle for their honeymoon trip along the California coast. Time has proved that the bumpy start was not a sign of things to come.
Before moving to El Dorado County, the Sambocetis lived five years in neighboring Amador County, in the town of Sutter Creek.
In Placerville, the couple owned and operated Hangtown Hardware on Broadway from 1962 to 1985. Lou was one of the founders of the Hangtown Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Placerville Rotary Club and Broadway Merchants Association.
After retiring from the hardware business with her husband, Eileen volunteered and was employed by Snowline Hospice for 24 years, where she still dedicates many hours to volunteer work.
The Sambocetis have three children, Mitchell Samboceti of Placerville, Kathy Samboceti Withrow of Placerville and Lorna Samboceti Wren, who lives in Corning. They also enjoy seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.