- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) - Jim and Maxine O’Kane are kids in love.

Black-and-white photos of decades spent together line the walls of the O’Kanes’ room at Lincolnshire Place Assisted Living. Fifty-eight years have passed since Maxine O’Kane posed straight-faced for the wedding photo by the door, but the two have only grown more smitten with each passing day.

“I keep telling her she’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and she always says she’s the only thing,” he said.

At 86 years old, Jim O’Kane has the hearty belly laugh of a teenager and the same light-hearted sense of humor his wife fell in love with. Despite raising four children, the two say they’ve never had a fight. This Valentine’s Day, Jim and Maxine O’Kane plan to ballroom dance to music they fell in love listening to. They said they hope today’s younger couples might find the same unfaltering and effortless happiness they have.

“I don’t know if there’s any secret,” Jim O’Kane said. “Just don’t take things too seriously. Whatever happens, happens.”

He knows times have changed, however. He suspects it might be harder for single, young people to foster genuine relationships in a hyper-technological and increasingly risqué age.

A few too many bad experiences on dating websites throughout the years left Sycamore Singles Coordinator Jen Low ready to surrender her love life.

“It was a lot of misrepresentation,” Low said. “The pictures didn’t match. They weren’t the same people. A couple of people were married, I found out later. It’s the Internet, you know?”

But the moment she declared herself single and proud was the moment she met her boyfriend.

“He was one of those shy guys who was not very outgoing,” she said. “We’ve been together for a year now.”

The O’Kanes weren’t looking for love when it happened for them either.

“We were working at the same company,” Jim O’Kane said. “She was the best looking girl there, so I got up the nerve one day and asked her if she’d go out to dinner with me.”

The Sycamore Singles group has amassed more than 200 people who regularly meet up in a large group-date setting. This Valentine’s Day the bunch will celebrate together, even if means just being thankful for their new group of friends.

“Sycamore Singles is more local to the city; a lot of people already know each other,” Low said. “What we try to provide is a safe environment for people to go out and have fun. There’s no expectations with it. We’re all out to have a good time and be out with other singles.”

Meanwhile, as Jim and Maxine O’Kane fox trot and jitterbug down memory lane, they have just one piece of advice for couples everywhere.

“Don’t argue about anything. It isn’t worth it,” Maxine O’Kane said. “Just be kind and polite to each other as much as you were while you were going together.”


Source: The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle, https://bit.ly/1StEXTA


Information from: The Daily Chronicle, https://www.daily-chronicle.com

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