SARASOTA (FOX 13) - Jerry and Edith Bernstein's love blossomed at an early age. The two connected in Brooklyn when Jerry was 16 and Edith was 14.
"When I looked at her, I said that's the girl for me," recalled Jerry, now 94 years old.
"He was handsome. Although my mother wasn't too thrilled because the fad then was sideburns and he had very long sideburns," chuckled Edith, now 92. "The war, we were not involved in yet. We were happy in our little world."
Four years later, America entered World War II. Jerry entered the Navy but before he shipped out, he had one more decision to make.
"The reason I decided to pop the question? I knew I was being put on the aircraft carrier and I knew I might not come back," he said.
After saying, "I do," Jerry was sent to the Atlantic.
"It was so rough out there, you couldn't even imagine. If you were in the water, it was so cold. Even if you had a life preserver, it wouldn't have mattered," he said.
At home, Edith waited for any word from her husband.
"It was tough times. I was just out of high school. I had really never been out of Brooklyn," she remembered.
Jerry wrote often to his love, but often the letters were rarely received.
"Half of the letters never got to her. Either the plane was shot down or they were lost," he said.
Years went by. The war finally ended and Jerry came home to his young bride. Since then, they've spent a lifetime together -- decades of ups and downs, but they've never given up.
With two daughters, five grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, they will now celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary next week. They say no matter how hard life gets, they can always count on one another.
"He has a wonderful sense of humor and that's what keeps the marriage going," said Edith.
"You're not going to go through a marriage without having fights, but you can't keep the fight overnight," Jerry added.
And one other key factor? A good love life.
"That's not the most important ingredient, but it certainly is an ingredient," Jerry offered.
"It is, it is," Edith agreed.