FRIDAY, JULY 20: Two honeymooning couples that met in Bermuda more than half a century ago have returned to the island to relive their happy memories.
Ralph and Anita Brancaccio and Alan and Joan Ades were young newlyweds when they travelled to Bermuda in 1958.
They met over a champagne breakfast at Elbow Beach and have remained best of friends ever since.
This week the quartet returned to the island on board the Veendam cruise ship and enjoyed a champagne lunch at the same hotel where they first met all those years ago.
Mrs Ades told the Bermuda Sun: “We just got on so well right from the moment we first met. I remember we were all bleary-eyed because they did an early morning breakfast.
“But we had great fun together. We loved to laugh and really enjoyed each other’s company.”
Mrs Brancaccio said: “We did everything together on the honeymoon.
“We hired out scooters, swam with turtles and went waterskiing. We had a fabulous time together.”
Her husband added: “I remember Alan and I did the limbo at the hotel too. If I remember rightly he beat me but almost broke his back!”
The two couples first came to Bermuda at the beginning of September in 1958, just days after they tied the knot in the US.
The Brancaccios flew into Bermuda on Pan-Am, while the Ades took the Queen of Bermuda across the Atlantic.
They had never met each other before when their paths crossed over breakfast at Elbow Beach.
Mrs Ades said: “When we returned from Bermuda we tried to see each other as much as possible but it was difficult as we lived a long way apart. We also made the effort to send cards for birthdays and anniversaries and that kind of thing.
“We would also visit each other when we could.”
Mrs Brancaccio added: “It is a great friendship that has endured many years.
“We have been through thick and thin together and always kept in touch. We really cherish the friendship and simply love spending time together.”
The Brancaccios have spent the last five decades in Connecticut where they have brought up a family that now includes four daughters, one son and 12 grandchildren. Anita Mainini Brancaccio is the daughter of the late Nino Mainini a prominent restauranteur.
The Ades still live in their beloved Manhattan looking out over Central Park; they have two daughters and five grandchildren. The Ades are celebrated philanthropists, supporting the arts in New York City including the Metropolitan Opera
The two couples arrived in Bermuda on Tuesday and have returned to some of their favourite sights from when they were first here in 1958 including Elbow Beach and St George’s.
They leave the island today and head back to the US.
Mrs Brancaccio said: “The water is still as beautiful as it was in my memories and the people are just as friendly. Elbow Beach has changed a bit since we were last here but it has been amazing to retrace our footsteps from more than 50 years ago and reminisce about those days together.”
Mrs Ades added: “It’s been a wonderful experience coming back to Bermuda.
“I am so happy to be back here and to be here with Ralph and Anita. Some things have not changed though; like the beauty of the island and the great friendship we have with them.”