This love will last forever

Zurich couple still lovebirds after 60 years

Lloyd and Leona Steinberg of Zurich celebrated 60 years in January 10. The Strip wanted to know their secret.

As told to Casey Lessard
Photo by Sandra Regier

Leona Steinberg: It was 1947, and I had graduated as a registered nurse from St. Mary’s hospital in Kitchener. I had broken up with my boyfriend because he was going to give me a diamond ring and I didn’t want a diamond ring. I didn’t feel that way about him. His sister was in my class and she ended up telling me that he was going to give me this ring, so I told him goodbye. All of a sudden, I realized that our grad dance was coming up and I didn’t have a date. My girlfriend said, “Don’t worry about it – I’ll get you one.” Her cousin was taking her to the dance, and she said she’d get Harry to bring one of his pals. The boy was very nice and quiet. He drove a car and wanted to know the colour of my gown so he could buy me a corsage to match. And he did. He was a good dancer; he could polka like nobody’s business, and I enjoy polkaing. We had a good time – he never talked much. We said goodnight at the door. That was Wednesday.
Saturday night, Mary said to me, Kitchener’s playing in Waterloo, and we’re going to the ball game. I said, “Who’s going?” She said, “You and I.” I said, “No, I’m not. I haven’t got any money.” She said, “You’ve got your grad money.” Finally I gave in. We had to take the trolley to Waterloo. Lloyd was there with the boy who had taken me to the grad dance, Benny. He was noisy, yelling at a player in the field. I wished he would keep quiet because he was spoiling the whole thing.
We had to be in at 11:30 at night, and if you had to ring the bell, you lost your half-day. I said to Mary, “Look at the time. We’ve got to get home.” She never worried about time. Benny heard me saying this to her and said, we’ll drive you home. She said we could stay to the end of the game.
I told her to sit in the back seat with me, “I am not taking a chance on sitting with that one.” We got into the car and who crawls into the back seat with me, but Lloyd.
On the way home, he asked if he could take me out. I didn’t know how I was going to say no. Monday night we had religion class. Tuesday night we had doctors come and teach us. Anyway, I got to Thursday and I had no excuses left.
We walked down to Victoria Park. He told me all about himself and my estimation of him got better. We started to go out and seven and a half months later we were married.
Lloyd Steinberg: I guess she thought I was all right; here we are 60 years later.

A decent proposal
Leona: We were, again, in the backseat of Benny’s car coming home from a ball game. Mary was in the front – she started going with Benny then. I had just gotten my grad ring, and I was playing with it. It was new and special. I was taking it up and down my finger, and he took my other hand and he said, “Someday, I’m going to put another ring on that finger.” And I thought, “Oh. Okay.”
We were married January 10, 1948 on my parents’ 37th wedding anniversary. It was very quiet. We were married in Dublin. And we were happy. I just said to him the other day, “You know, in 60 years, we haven’t even had a decent fight.”
Lloyd: No sense arguing.
Leona: I’d win anyway.

Making a house a home
Leona: You’re always short of money. The kids are always part of something. But you don’t spend money foolishly. We didn’t have a car until 1955. We didn’t feel we could afford it. We bought a lot and papa (Lloyd) dug the foundation with a shovel and a wheelbarrow.
Lloyd: How would you like to do that?
Leona: He did most of the construction. Didn’t know what he was doing. We took the plans for the house to Beaver Lumber.
I was seven months pregnant and shingling. My father-in-law came home – they lived next door – and I leaned over the edge and said, “Hi there, pop.” He said, “What are you doing up there, woman? Don’t you know you’re pregnant?”
Lloyd: That house cost us $4400 to build ourselves.
Leona: Our oldest was born in November 1948; Susan was born October 1949; Debbie was born October 1950; Patti was born May 1952; Paul was born September 1954; and Cathy was born December 1960.

Making it last
Leona: Every time that man leaves the house, he always comes and kisses me goodbye. Only a couple of weeks ago, he didn’t. And I got right upset about it. I said, “Did you know you didn’t kiss me goodbye?” He said, “I didn’t.” I said, “No, you didn’t, and don’t ever do that again.”
One time in 1959, he was taking three of our girls and two leaders to a Girl Guide camping trip in Elmira. I was on duty at St. Mary’s Hospital on the children’s floor. There was a car accident in Elmira, and the girl downstairs said, “Leona, you’re getting three kids in. We don’t know who they are, but they say the mother works here at St. Mary’s, and Dr. Friday’s the doctor.” I said, “Helen, that’s my family.”
I almost went crazy until they started wheeling them in by ambulance. But the one thing that kept me going was that I had kissed them all goodbye.
Debbie had a fractured leg. Susan had platelets in her eyes and couldn’t see. Patti had bitten her tongue. I was afraid to ask where their dad was. I can’t live without him. Lloyd didn’t come in until much later because he was helping at the scene.

He’s a keeper
Leona: There isn’t a day that goes by that my husband doesn’t tell me at least 40 times a day, “I love you, mom.” That means a lot.
One woman told me a while ago that her husband has only said it once since they were married, and that was before he went in for heart surgery. When she heard my husband saying that to me, she said, “He’s a keeper.”