CS PHOTOS BY KELLY SEEGERS
Nicola and Iolanda Fresco, who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in September, sit on a couch in their home in Annapolis. Nicola is retired after working for many years at the University of Maryland, where his job included maintenance on the air conditioning systems there.
CS PHOTOS BY KELLY SEEGERS Nicola and Iolanda Fresco, who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in September, sit on a couch in their home in Annapolis. Nicola is retired after working for many years at the University of Maryland, where his job included maintenance on the air conditioning systems there.
Three months after meeting one another, Nicola and Iolanda Fresco got married on Sept. 21, 1967. They will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year, and recently renewed their vows at the Jubilarian Mass celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl on June 25 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

The Frescos are both originally from Italy, and the two of them met when Nicola, who had moved to the United States, returned to the country to visit his aunt. She introduced him to Iolanda’s family, and the rest is history. Six months after they were married, which was just nine months after meeting, Iolanda left her family in Italy to move to the United States to start a life with her new husband.

The couple said the greatest joy of their marriage has been their family, which includes their two sons, Angelo and Sergio, who are both adults now.

“It was some of the best days of our lives when we had our kids (at home),” said Nicola. “Now they left, but they never really leave. … Even though one of them is kind of far away, he always comes back home. They know that mamma’s cookies are always here.”

In addition to the cookies, Iolanda makes homemade pasta and pizza, to bring a taste of Italy to her home. The two of them work together on the garden they have in their backyard, but this year Iolanda has had to do it herself, because Nicola had surgery on his leg and has been unable to put weight on it for about three months. For the time being, he relies on Iolanda to help him navigate their home with a walker.

Nicola pointed out that this is the third time Iolanda has taken care of him, following a shoulder injury and a heart issue. But, he told his wife, “Everything is taken care of between God helping us, and with your help, we’re still here.”

Iolanda said sometimes people ask them how they could stay married for so many years, but the couple said although marriage sometimes takes a lot of work, in the end, it is worth it.

“If I had to do it all over again I’d do it, because I don’t think I could find another one like her,” said Nicola.

The only complaint that Iolanda had, she said, was, ““I like to dance. He doesn’t like to dance. Otherwise we are okay.”

One of the secrets to a long lasting marriage, they said, is the ability to sacrifice for each other.

“Once you really understand each other you understand my fault and I understand yours, it is easier to compromise. But if you are not willing to give or take, that can become a problem really quick,” said Nicola.

And the main thing they fall back on when times get tough, they added, is their faith, and the importance of always going back to church. They are parishioners at St. John Neumann in Annapolis.

“I ask God to help me, give me strength and be happy and keep going in life,” said Iolanda.

When asked what advice they would give to couples who are just beginning their marriage, Nicola said, “You have to have faith in that other person…you have to believe that you are going to take care of each other until the last day of your lives. There is really not much more you can bet on…you have to believe in each other.”