NANTICOKE — The “king” and “queen” took their seats Friday at Guardian Elder Care, celebrating Valentine’s Day by lifting a glass of sparkling grape juice in tribute to loved ones then and now.
King Joe Linder and Queen Betty Pittman Novak, selected by a vote of the 104 residents and members of the staff, got a round of applause when their names were announced. A golden crown was placed on each of their heads.
The two paraded down a red carpet to take their seats at the head table adorned with roses, balloons and everything red and pink as everyone enjoyed cupcakes, coffee and memories. The song “Some Enchanted Evening” played in the background as smiles appeared on everyone’s faces.
Novak, 89, grew up in Dallas and later moved to Kingston. When asked her age, Novak said she didn’t know — that her mother lost her birth certificate, concealing her age. However, the center records clearly showed her age.
“Well, I know I’m not 25,” Novak said. “My Valentine, my husband, John, died 20 years ago.”
Linder, 80, is a former resident of Bear Creek Township.
Novak and others remembered past Valentine’s Days, telling tales of dressing up and going out for fancy dinners with friends. “We always had a good time,” Novak said. “It’s good to remember those good times.”
Suzanne Hontz, activities director, and Kristen Polidori, director of admissions and marketing, organized the event that featured a basket raffle, carnation sale and candy gram sale. All proceeds were donated to the American Heart Association.
“We like to have events like this for the residents,” Polidori said. “They get excited and enjoy themselves.”
Ann Markofski Orlofski said she will turn 100 on Feb. 25. Born in Nanticoke, she moved to Philadelphia and married Raymond Orlofski, now deceased.
“We had a wonderful life,” she said. “It’s always good to remember.”
Mary Ann Alapeck of Nanticoke was visiting her boyfriend, George Gladden, and her brother, Steve Alapeck.
“Everybody here is my friend,” she said. “But it’s so sad. Everybody is so lonely. I wish I could take them all home with me.”
The crowd appeared to have a good time. Most of them have lost their true sweethearts, but Friday they were each other’s Valentine.