Bakersfield couple celebrating 70th wedding anniversary receive dozens of congratulation letters

A Bakersfield couple celebrating 70 years of marriage got a huge surprise in the mail -- card after card from all their favorite celebrities and even one from the Vatican.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KFSN) -- Richard and Mary Arambula just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, and everybody from Bill Clinton to Billy Crystal, too many to name, including all the living presidents, sent them letters of congratulations.

"Starting with Obama, President Bush, Clinton and even Carter; that's your favorite," Mary said.

Carter may have been one of Richard's favorite presidents, but his most prized response was from the Vatican.

"I treasure that one quite a bit. I know possibly they sent many of those out, but the way it's worded means a lot to me," Richard said.

It began when their granddaughter Belinda Banister, who is living in Germany, decided to make it happen.

"First we wrote the Vatican, and then we got a response, and then we started thinking who else? If we can get this, we got the president, we have the pope, who else can we get? And it just went from there," Banister said.

It took Banister over a year to coordinate this undertaking that she says was a labor of love to honor her grandparents.

"We thought we would have maybe 10. We thought we would have a lot of agents saying 'we don't do that.' We had some of those, but we never dreamed...150 responses; it's insanity," said Banister.

Mary, who is a baseball fan, says it's difficult to find her favorite, but is leaning toward the signed baseball card she received from Steve Garvey.

Banister also reached out to Joan Rivers' people, who said she will respond when she finishes on tour, but unfortunately Rivers passed away before she was able to respond. However, Rivers' publicist sent a broach and a shawl in her behalf.

"I couldn't believe it that she would pay that much to send it to me. I'm just nobody from Bakersfield," Mary said.

Additionally, Banister reached out to local individuals and groups via social media and a few local celebrities responded as well.

"They love Bakersfield and they love the community, so I wanted the community to love them too," Mary said.

Spending decades together, you could say the Arambulas are seasoned at love, sharing their keys to a successful marriage.

"We have had to learn to be tolerant one with each other, condone, forgive and forget, and move on," Richard said.
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