On this Valentine’s Day, Mattos Newspapers is featuring several West Side couples. Rural Newman residents David and Patsy Freitas are among those sharing their stories. They have been married nearly 59 years after meeting as teens in a Northern California lumber town. An additional story, featuring Newman residents Ed and Patty Brooks, can be found on page A2.

NEWMAN - A ride to high school, a shared faith and family connections helped bring David and Patsy Freitas together as teens in Northern California.

They have since embarked on a journey together of nearly six decades, with bonds that have grown only stronger over time.

Today the couple resides on a rural Newman ranch which they have called home for more than 40 years.

Their path together, which has included stops in a number of communities, started in the lumber company town of Scotia, where Patsy was born.....and where David moved at age 19 to take a job, after coming to the United States from his native Azores in 1953 at 18 years of age.

Patsy was still in high school at the time, which as it turned out played a role in crossing paths with David.

His family followed him from the Azores, and when the time came for his sisters to enroll in high school in Fortuna, the principal arranged for Patsy, who was the daughter of an immigrant from the Azores and spoke Portuguese, to help them with the process.

“I took Patsy with my sisters to high school. As soon as I took her to high school the first time, I liked her,” he told Mattos Newspapers. “After that, I would see her at mass. I would look at her and she would turn red.”

“You don’t know how hard I tried not to,” Patsy interjected, “but there was nothing I could do about it.”

“That is how the whole thing started,” David added.

David and Patsy had family connections as well.

“I learned a lot about him through my grandmother, because she worked with his mother in a laundry,” Patsy pointed out. “He learned about me through his mother.”

They were not a couple for some time, though, as Patsy was five years younger and not yet allowed to date.

David was her prom date when Patsy was a junior, but was still not allowed to formally date.

“We talked on the telephone, and he could come over to the house and talk, but I couldn’t go out,” she recalled.

They started dating in earnest in 1959, and were married the following May.

Their lives together have been filled with good friends, cherished family, a love of travel and and shared faith and culture.

“We both had a very good family upbringing, and I always thought I would marry a Catholic, someone of our faith. Our faith always plays a part in (our lives),” Patsy related. “It is very important.”

“That was basically the start, when I saw her in church,” David agreed.

The couple has one son and numerous nieces and nephews. They have also been God-parents to 50 children.

“A lot of them come to us for advice,” Patsy said.

They have also made friends from around the world - including foreign pilots who stayed at the apartment complex the couple managed near Mather Air Force Base for a time.

“We have done a lot of traveling through the world,” the Freitases said. “We have also traveled across the country three times, each time on a different route. We were lucky that we could do a lot of traveling.”

They also love entertaining their many friends.

A common theme for the couple: What they do, they do together.

“Very seldom do we go somewhere alone. We are always together,” Patsy said.

“We depend on one another,” David added.

The success of their marriage, they shared, is always being there for one another - and being willing to work things out when disagreements arise.

“You have to respect one another. Things don’t go well all the time,” David remarked. “You just have to go through the bad times to have the good times.”

“It is always a two-way street,” Patsy added. “When there are differences, you always manage to work it out.”

Their life together has been enriching and fulfilling.

“I would do it again,” David concluded.

“With the same wife, I hope,” countered Patsy, laughing.