Despite playing the lottery every week, and occasionally playing the slot machines at casinos, Angie Tomasello claims to be unlucky. But some may say she has beat the odds in both love and life.
Angie lives with her husband, Fred, on the eighth floor of the 15-story Bayshore Presbyterian Apartments, which offers independent living for its 214 residents, mostly seniors. Twenty-one are members of "The Fabulous 90's Club," a group of residents ages 90 and up. But only two are married - Fred and Angie Tomasello.
On July 4, their children will again tease the couple that it's the day they each lost their independence. They were married July 4, 1943.
The couple met when they were in their 20s. Angelina Langiotti, born in Tampa Aug. 21, 1922, was working at the Grants Lunch Counter in downtown Tampa when she met Fred Tomasello, born Sept. 28, 1922, in Ottawa, Ill. He had joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Drew Field. Their first date was at the USO on the corner of Madison and Morgan streets in May of 1943.
They were first generation Americans, children of Sicilian immigrants. Fred sent Angie to Illinois to live with his parents when he went off to World War II. She still has the letters he wrote to her. He was away in the South Pacific when their first baby, Fred Tomasello Jr., was born in 1944; father met son a year later. In 1948 daughter Norma Jean came along, followed by twins Nancy Dee and Angie Lea in 1954, and baby Joseph in 1957.
With only a GED and barber training in the Army, Fred Sr. built a successful career as a small businessman, employed first as a beautician at the old Maas Brothers Beauty Salon, and then owning his own Madison Hair Stylists, near the corner where he and Angie first met. Like many women of her generation, Angie quit school at a young age to help her family by getting a job. But after marriage, she was a stay-at-home mom, working hard at thier home on Nassau Street, which Fred designed and built himself. Sometimes Fred Sr. worked three jobs to make ends meet.
Today, she still does her own laundry, house-cleaning and cooks him two meals a day. He still keeps track of their finances.
The couple still bicker, and they often disagree about how they met and fell in love. Yet each admits that one would not be able to live without the other. And that in love and life, they have luckily beat the odds.