04 Feb Senior in Action – Ed and Linda Mimiaga
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
Senior in Action – Ed and Linda Mimiaga
By Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
During February, we introduce you to a couple who will celebrate 46 years of marriage on May 17, 2021. Linda, age 68, and Ed Mimiaga, age 74, shared smiles as they said, “A church fiesta brought us together, and church kept us together, in more ways than one.”
Question: Where did you grow up?
Ed: “I was born and raised in southern California. Most of my youth was spent in Compton, then moved to Downey. I attended college, but was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Vietnam in 1968 during the Tet Offensive. I was one of the lucky GIs who came home in one piece. I was a draftsman and worked in aerospace. It was easy to find an aeronautics job in southern California, but I was eventually laid off. I decided to go back to school. I worked in State Government as a peace officer for 29 years. I still work part-time.”
Linda: “I was born in Boston. People sometimes catch my accent. They’ll laugh and say, “You said ‘cah’ instead of car.” My mother and stepdad moved the family to California when I was 13. We lived in Upland, Rialto, and Chino. I met Ed at his sister’s church in Chino at the fundraising fiesta. We hit it off right away.”
Ed: “My sister begged me to work her church’s fiesta in August 1974. She claims it was not planned, but I found myself assigned to a booth with 3 single women. Linda and I clicked naturally, and started dating. I gave her a ring at Christmas when I was 28. Our priest told me ‘You can slow down a little,’ but I was ready to settle down. “
Linda: “I’m six years younger than Ed but we discussed marriage before our engagement in December 1974, got married in May 1975, moved to Downey, and were expecting a baby by the first anniversary of that fateful fiesta. All three of our children were born in the month of March: Christina in March 1976, Elizabeth in March 1977, and Stephen in March 1979.”
Question: Please tell NBY readers about your volunteer activities.
Linda: “Our children attended St. John of God Catholic School, and I wanted to be involved in their classrooms. Before I knew it, my phone number was on speed dial at the church, and I spent more time helping. After our kids graduated, I chaired the Environment committee. I was trained by the Archdiocese to decorate the church in a manner that complemented the liturgy. Now, we worship outside under social distancing guidelines, and I record the collection monies after Mass.”
Ed: “I served as Chair of the Fiesta fundraising committee for too many years to count. I finally retired in 2019, just in time for the next year’s committee to be saved by the COVID-19 pandemic from doing any work! Fiesta was cancelled in 2020.”
Question: Do you like to exercise, garden, or travel?
Linda: “Certainly not exercise, except for occasional walks. Our exercise used to be running around with our grandkids Renee and Evan before the pandemic. Coronavirus has caused us to hunker down. When our kids were young, we took camping trips in a small tent trailer, exploring California and Oregon. After Ed retired, we bought a 5th wheel and traveled across the USA to 38 different states.”
Ed: “We also visited Ireland where we saw every shade of green imaginable. We found the Irish people very friendly and helpful. A favorite trip was a group tour to Israel and Jordan to visit the Holy Land”
Question: Will you share your secrets for a long and happy marriage?
Ed: “I say YES as often as I can.”
Linda: “Communication, communication, communication! The bond between us was strong enough to last through the best times and the tough times. My mom was married four times and I was determined when I met Ed that our marriage would be rock solid.”
Ed: “We spent our 13th wedding anniversary at a MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER weekend sponsored by the Catholic Church. That seminar enlightened me with tools to make our relationship stronger. It was an exhausting weekend, but we use those strategies constantly to keep our marriage strong.”