BROOMALL–It was a love story straight out of Hollywood. But it didn't start off like that. June met her husband Melvin Robbins during her teen years when she was attending Olney High School in Northeast Philadelphia. The first time she met him, "He didn't catch my eye," admitted June.
"My girlfriend was in love with him and he learned to escape her," she explained.
But fate soon brought them together. June's girlfriend believed that she wasn't meant to be with Melvin but perhaps June was. June found herself on the phone one day with Melvin after her girlfriend passed the phone to her. "I was terribly embarrassed," recalled June.
One thing led to another and Melvin started to come around to her parents' apartment more often–tuning up her old bicycle one week and fixing it another week. Pretty soon Melvin was asking June out to the movies. And, so, the love story began.
June fell in love with Melvin and his "blonde wavy hair and pompadour hairstyle, blue eyes and cute lips." But, most of all, he was an overall "sweet guy" who made her laugh.
June, an only child, didn't grow up with much money and her parents divorced when she was 15. But Melvin came from a large family and was generous with his love. And "with his common sense he held me together," she said.
A particular memory that stood out to June during that time:
"I wore glasses back then and the side broke. But I couldn't afford a new pair of glasses we were so poor. I remember he said to me, 'You need to wear your glasses so you can see me like I see you.'"
And then World War II began and Melvin was enlisted to serve with the U.S. Navy for six years. And their love stood the test of time. June and Melvin continued their relationship through letters. After the war, Melvin realized he still had a couple of years left in the navy and tried to break up with June when he was on leave. He thought it was unfair to her, to keep her from having fun and dating while he was gone but June refused to let him break up. Fate came once again–shortly after, the service let many of the GIs go home early and the Robbins married in 1947.
Melvin went to Temple University for dentistry but found his passion in retail and switched gears. He began to build his career owning several variety stores in Philadelphia. At the time, the Robbins lived in a rowhouse in the Logan section of the city with four children. And as their family expanded, the Robbins began searching for a larger home in the suburbs. The Philadelphians found a four-bedroom home in their price range in Broomall.
"I thought it was the boondocks back then," laughed June about settling down in Broomall. "Our first night here we didn't have any screens and the grass was so high that my little kids got lost in the grass. We didn't know how to maintain it."
But they got the hang of it and the Robbins raised seven children in Broomall who all attended Marple Newtown High School. Melvin, now 88, and June, now 86, are sharing their great love story for generations to come. The Robbins have 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The secret to their successful marriage? "You need a sense of humor," said June. "If you don't have that, you're doomed." Melvin continues to support June in all her endeavors, including her role as a professional clown. Coming from a marriage filled with love and laughter, it only came naturally. June founded the Humor Cart program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, sharing what she knows best: laughter. She picked up clowning 16 years ago through the RSVP program and is in Spiffy's Gang clown troop.
This year, the Robbins celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary and are still very much in love–enjoying each other's sense of humor.
Editor's note: Although the Robbins did not win Patch's Cutest Couple Contest, the Robbins won the hearts of local residents in Marple Newtown Patch's Cutest Couple Contest. In recognition of Valentine's Day, we wanted to highlight this couple and their love story with Marple Newtown Patch readers.