Mira and Bob Graves are madly in love. They hold hands everywhere they go and kiss in public. They whisper in each other’s ears and refuse to be on opposing teams when playing games with friends. They even share sandwiches and nibble off of each other’s plates.  

But these two lovebirds aren’t newlyweds; the couple has been married for 73 years, and this Valentine’s Day, the couple is renewing their vows in a special ceremony. 

Mira Graves, the bride, is 90, and Bob, the groom, is 94. The pair already tied the knot in a civil ceremony with a judge nearly three-quarters of a century ago, but they never had a formal religious ceremony. Mira never had a wedding dress, and the couple doesn’t own a single photo from their special day.

Today, the couple lives in the Quail Lodge Retirement Community in Antioch where the wedding will take place on Friday. Jennifer Noble, the Quail Lodge activities director, has been the couple’s quasi-wedding planner. “They are such an endearing couple,” Noble said.  

When Noble reached out to local businesses to see if they could donate anything for the wedding, she was shocked at the immediate amount of support. His and Hers Formal Wear in Brentwood donated a tux for Bob and a beautiful custom fit wedding gown for Mira, as well as flowers. They also contacted Discovery Bay Studios, which is donating photography services.  

Mira, who had never stepped foot into a bridal boutique, much less tried on a wedding gown, was touched by the warmth and generosity. “They made us feel so special,” she said. “It was a remarkable experience that we wouldn’t even dream of.” 

Bob, who has never worn a tuxedo, was fitted in a stylish modern tuxedo fit for a king. “It’s amazing that they’d do that for us,” he said.  

“When Mira tried on a dress and came out of the dressing room to show Bob, it was a beautiful moment,” said Annette Beckstrand, co-owner of His and Hers Formal Wear.  “Before she even looked in the mirror, she walked straight to Bob and kissed him.” Susanne Larson, co-owner of His and Hers, said many tears were shed that day as they were all so touched and honored to be part of the moment. 

“I know we are in love,” Mira said. “It’s hard to explain, but the love is so real and always has been.”

“As soon as I saw her, I knew she was the one,” Bob said. 

The couple met in 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president of the United States and although World War II was underway, Pearl Harbor had not yet changed the face of the war. Mira was attending college and worked as a waitress in a boarding house, and Bob worked for Western Electric Company and would eat lunch at the boarding house where she worked.

Three weeks after meeting, Bob took Mira out on their first date and asked her to marry him. She said yes, then no. “I said no because I knew my parents wouldn’t approve (because we’d just met),” said Mira.

A few weeks later, the couple drove to Reno in a 1939 Plymouth Convertible with their friends who were eloping. At the last minute Bob and Mira decided to elope as well and Bob bought a $10 ring, which Mira still proudly wears today.

“I never look back and wish things were different,” said Mira. Within three months of their marriage, Pearl Harbor was attacked, and Bob enlisted in the army. Mira was pregnant with their first son when Bob was shipped overseas for nearly four years. 

The couple wrote lots of love letters, which were their only form of communication. The letters were censored by the military and anything that might convey where Bob was or what he was doing, was crossed out with a black marker. Bob traveled to England, France, Germany, Luxemburg and Holland during the war while Mira moved in with her parents in Martinez.

Bob and Mira have two sons, ages 70 and 63. They also have three grandsons, five great-grandsons and one great-great grandson.  

“We have lived a long time and have been very lucky,” said Bob. “We have had a very good life together.”

The couple, who is still in excellent health, is expecting many more happy years ahead.