It was 25 years ago yesterday, June 30, when Paul and Charlene DiPlatzi exchanged wedding vows – a journey that started when Charlene opened the Revere Journal at the old August Moon Restaurant – her nervous boyfriend Paul DiPlatzi by her side – and saw a huge advertisement from Paul proclaiming his love for Charlene and asking her in print to marry him.
It was a bold move.
But it paid off, and now 25 years later the couple has meandered through life’s seasons – being married without children, having young children, having older children and now transitioning into their kids being nearly fully-grown.
“I really didn’t think much of what he was doing and wondered why he was so insistent on making me read the paper when we were out to dinner,” she said last week. “He had to point it out to me. I saw it and I was in shock. But there was no doubt, I said ‘yes.’ And he’s my one and only love.”
Added Paul, “Her jaw dropped and she started tearing up. I still hear it to this day. People mention that ad all the time. The guys in the private clubs and people I see around Revere still remember that. It was big for us. That ad and the paper checking in on us at our milestones has really meant a lot to us. It’s been part of what’s bound us together and kept us going.”
The Journal has kept tabs on the DiPlatzi’s over the years due to their connection to the paper – that storied proposal – and saw them in the midst of having young children five years into marriage, renewing their vows at 10 years, getting kids into high school and college at 20 years, and now making a transition to having more time for themselves.
“In all honesty, it really is a transition now,” said Charlene, 47. “Once the kids get older, it’s like starting over again. You get married and are in love and then the kids come. The stresses of life take over and you’re raising kids. Then they grow up and start becoming their own little people and you fall in love again. It’s amazing how that circle has come around.”
Paul, 51, said they’re life has been centered around their kids, but things are changing. One of their children has graduated college, the other is a junior in college and the third will be a freshman in college this fall. Their fourth child is going into 8th grade this fall as well.
“We had a simple life and it’s all been centered around our kids,” said Paul. “Now, however, we can do things without the kids and without worrying and that’s a new thing for us. We can because we can. We’re excited about that. It’s been a good 25 years – really good – and it’s only getting better. The first few years, you get through that, and then it’s very good.”
While family ties are still strong in their household – they still have a huge July 4th block party and they make a habit of having a family meal once a week – the DiPlatzi’s have lots of memories to remember.
Charlene said they first met when she would sneak out with her older sister.
Paul, who was a bit older, would be hanging out on the corner with his friends, and he once told her that “if anyone bothered her, to let him know. He would be like her older brother.”
And that’s how it stayed a long time.
“One day, though, several years later, I was driving up Broadway with my friend and I saw Charlene and commented about how much I liked her,” he said. “My friend pulled over and made me ask her out. He really put me on the spot. She said she would think about it, but did say ‘yes’ and we saw ‘Splash’ at the Revere Cinema.”
Said Charlene, “I still have the movie ticket stubs.”
Charlene said Paul would always ask her father for permission before taking her out.
And he always brought her back on time.
“He even asked permission from my father if he could marry me,” said Charlene.
“Of course I did; I’m very traditional,” said Paul, who has worked as a mailman in Revere for several years.
Nowadays, the couple still spends as much time as they can with their kids, and center their lives around them. However, they now have date nights that are immovable from the calendar as well. To celebrate their anniversary, they’ll head off to Vermont, they said – just the two of them.