Inside Librado Bernal's brown wallet is a small photograph of him and his bride, Olivia, when they were married 54 years ago. The wallet has been opened many times for many reasons, but every day it carries the moment they vowed to love and cherish each other till the end.
Librado, a soldier fresh out of the Army in 1962, went to visit a small bakery on the corner of Seabreeze and Cameron Street with his brother that was for sale. He ended up purchasing the business where Olivia worked.
“She weighed 98 pounds, had a Coca-Cola shape, beautiful ponytail she used to have, and she hated me,” he said laughing when he remembered what his bride looked like when he set his eyes upon her. “And than I became her boss.”
The couple laughed as they remembered that Olivia didn’t fall for the soldier turned boss right away.
“I couldn’t stand him...,” Olivia laughed with her husband. “I can’t say there was any one thing that changed my mind about him, but we started dating.”
For their first date they took in a movie at the old Buckhorn Drive-In, a poplar attraction for teenagers and young adults in Alice back in the day.
“We kept it a secret from my parents for a long time, until we were ready to get married,” Olivia said. “I knew that if (my father) knew I had somebody he would’ve taken me out of (the bakery), like he did the moment (Librado) asked for my hand in marriage.”
Librado knew that his future father-in-law was protective of his daughter. Her father never allowed anyone to get near her, but Librado caught a break when Olivia’s sister got married. He showed up to Olivia’s parents house as the photographer.
Time passed and they got married on Jan. 5, 1964, raised five children who blessed them with 12 grandchildren.
“It’s been a beautiful marriage. We’ve had our ups and downs like married couples do,” Olivia said looking to her husband in agreement. “The secret to a long marriage, to me, is yeah get mad, but don’t stay mad forever, forgive and love always.”
When anyone asks Librado what he believes is the secret to a long, happy marriage he tells them, “Right away you say ‘I’m the boss’" and that you’ll have the last word in everything.
Librado and Olivia both agree that Librado does have the last word in everything by saying “Yes, honey.”
In all honesty, Olivia says the secret is love.
“Of course, love has to be there. You have to have it if not you won’t survive,” Olivia said of her first and only boyfriend.
While they enjoy there lives true to the vows they made in front of their family, friends and God, they have had rough patches.
On the Bernal’s 51st wedding anniversary, Librado was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was not a very good day. I was scared,” Olivia said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t know the extent of the disease. After awhile, the doctor said he wasn’t going to die of this illness. He was going to be okay thanks to a new treatment, new medicine.”
Bernal became the Guinea Pig for a medication that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) had just approved two months before his diagnoses in 2015.
He’s been in remission for the last four months enjoying every moment of their lives with each other and their family.
“We’re together 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Olivia said. “More than ever after he was diagnosed with cancer."