Morgan Feigal-Stickles for StoryCorps
The year was 1971. George Ju was running a Chinese restaurant in Miami when a young woman named Angela Rivas walked in.
George, 35 at the time, was cooking for a engagement party event, where 29-year-old Rivas was a guest. He was immediately smitten — and began a campaign to win her heart.
Nearly 50 years later, husband and wife George and Angela Ju remembered those early days, during a StoryCorps conversation in 2018.
Soon after they met, George dropped by Angela’s house, where she was living with her mother and grandfather.
“My mom says, ‘There was a man that came to see you and he brought this rose and he left you this card.’ And she says, ‘Don’t tell me you’re gonna go out with him,’ ” Angela recalled.
“But I saw that you were thoughtful, you were not bad looking and you made me laugh.”
Just over a week after they first met, they got married. George moved in with Angela and her family until they could afford their own place. After living with him, both Angela’s mother and grandfather came to love George.
Before she met George, Angela had two sons from a previous relationship. She thought that the fact that she was a mother might be a deal-breaker for George.
“I remember saying to you, ‘Uh, you know I have two boys?’ and you said, ‘So? That doesn’t matter.’ I said, ‘Are you sure?’ and you said, ‘Yes.’ “
When George met Angela, she had been working at an envelope company. She would get off work at 11:30 at night, then walk home. George told her he’d pick her up after his shift at the restaurant to walk her home.
“I remember, every night I come pick you up from work,” he said. “Till finally on the ninth day we got married.”
Because her mom had been opposed to her marriage to George at the time, Angela told her sister about her plans.
“I said, ‘Esther, I’m gonna marry George today so get dressed,’ ” Angela said. “My sister says, ‘Today?’ I says, ‘Yeah.’ And my sister says, ‘OK, this is what you want? I’ll go with you.’ “
“We’ve been together ever since,” she said. “We mesh together like one. When we’re in the kitchen, we’re like poetry in motion. We know which way to go ’cause we’re working together as a team.”
They went on to have two daughters together.
After all these years, of course, the two have their fair share of playful bickering.
“Sometimes you get up in a grumpy mood,” Angela told her husband.
George denied the charge. And as long as they’re trading frustrations, he told his wife that when it comes to food, she’s the “pickiest woman I’ve known.”
“Finally, I got it out of you,” Angela said. “But you have to remember, who made me this way?”
“I guess me,” George said. “I spoil you.”
This November will be their 50th anniversary.
“I’m just happy to have a person in my life that I love very, very much,” Angela told her husband.
“OK, what are we eating tonight?” George asked her.
Angela, laughing, told him, “I just said ‘I love you’ and you ask me what I want to eat?”
“Well, don’t you love to eat?” he said.
“You’re bad, George.”
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jey Born and Mia Warren. NPR’s Emma Bowman adapted it for the Web.
StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.