This love story began on Halloween night 70 years ago.
Marie Barbieri of Beacon Street was one of the last guests to arrive at a teenage friend’s party and there was nowhere to sit. That’s when she saw 16-year-old Ed Diamond of Williams Street sitting in a chair.
“I had never met him, but Ed says to me, ‘you can sit on my lap if you want for a little while,” recalled Marie. “I was always very, very shy, but I sat on his lap and that was the beginning.”
Seven decades and many happy times later, Marie and Ed Diamond are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary today. Both lifelong Chelsea residents, the Diamonds raised four beautiful children, Edward Diamond, Lisa Diamond Zullo, Donna Diamond Lake, and Gina Diamond Reece.
“I have four wonderful children,” said Marie. “They have given us nothing but happiness.”
The Diamonds also have eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“Two granddaughters and that’s it – the rest are all boys,” said Marie.
One of the grandchildren, Nicholas Zullo, played football at Stonehill College and will be studying at the University of Notre Dame. A former football standout at Tewksbury High School, Nicholas is considering a walk-on tryout for the Fighting Irish who happened to be coached by former Chelsea resident Brian Kelly.
Ed Diamond receives war medals
Ed worked several jobs as a kid, including one as a pin boy at a local bowling establishment. He met several luminaries in his youth, including world champion boxer Tony DeMarco and famed boxing trainer Al Lacey.
Ed was drafted in to the United States Army in 1953 and had a highly decorated career as a sergeant, receiving several medals for his bravery and heroism during the Korean War. He received a special citation from the President of Korea, Syngman Rhee.
Upon his return from the war, the Diamonds continued their relationship. “We were married at the Saint Rose Church on March 5, 1955,” said Marie, who was one of seven children. “My parents loved him.”
The best man was Ed’s brother, George. The maid of honor was George’s wife and Marie’s sister-in-law, Carol Bednarek.
They found an apartment on Cherry Street and then lived on Pembroke Street for 22 years. They have lived in a house on Crescent Avenue since 1979.
“I’ve tried to get them to move, but they really love Chelsea,” said Lisa Zullo.
A close-knit family
Ed and Marie Diamond are never far away or out of touch from their loving family. They celebrate all the holidays together.
“We celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Easter here,” said Ed, who worked at the MBTA for 38 years. “Most of the family cookouts are at Lisa and [son-in-law] Phil’s [Zullo] house.”
Marie said the family was always together when the kids were growing up, helping one another, and having good times. “We took vacations and brought the kids everywhere we could take them,” said Marie. “A lot of our summer vacations were in North Conway, N.H.”
Taking part in Chelsea organizations
For years, Ed and Marie were very active at the Chelsea Knights of Columbus, with Ed serving on the board of directors and attaining Fourth Degree Knight status. They participated in the K of C candlepin bowling league.
“The Knights was a fun place back then,” said Marie, who also served as recording secretary for the Corporal Frank Barbieri Lodge Sons of Italy that was named in honor of her brother.
With her children enrolled at the Shurtleff School, Marie joined the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and helped out at all the bake sales.
Marie and daughter, Lisa, were models in the Shurtleff School PTA fashion show.
“We had a nice group of ladies and we always got along very well,” said Marie, reflecting on her days as a Shurtleff parent.
Marie became president of the St. Rose Women’s Club and today she is active at the Chelsea Senior Center.
The foundations to a happy marriage
But it all goes back to that Halloween night long ago when Marie and Ed first met as teenagers.
Marie said what attracted her to Ed was his height and handsomeness. He is 6 feet, 1 1/2 inch tall.
“I think that’s what made me attracted to him – my family was all short – he looked tall and was strong as a horse,” said Marie. “He also had a great personality.”
Ed said he knew he had found someone special right away. “She was beautiful and had plenty of personality and came from a great family,” said Ed. “I’m surprised her family let me in the house because I was from across the tracks. I was on Williams Street and Broadway separated Beacon Street and Williams Street.”
It was Marie’s mother, who helped advance the relationship with her culinary skills.
“My mother wanted to feed him because he weighed about 100 pounds, so she made sure he always ate Italian food.”
What has been the overriding factor of their 65 years together as husband and wife?
“First of all, Ed and I are friends – he’s my best friend,” said Marie. “You have to talk to one another. We’re just very good friends who agreed on what we had to do.”
Final thoughts from Lisa Diamond Zullo
Those who attended Shurtleff School and Chelsea High School with Lisa Diamond remember a personable, upbeat, friendly, and kind student who would always reach out to help others and could energize a gathering with her warmth and gregariousness. Interestingly, Lisa wrote in her high school yearbook that she wanted to be a successful schoolteacher and that’s exactly what she’s accomplished, rising to a positon of leadership in the teachers’ union as well.
“I learned how to be an excellent parent from my parents because my son makes me proud every day,” said Lisa pridefully. “I learned how to raise my son [Nick] from the example that they gave me. They were always understanding and caring. You knew that there were boundaries and you always knew there would be consequences.
“It was a loving home and we have wonderful memories growing up – and she’s a good cook, too,” said Lisa.
“I’m so proud of my kids,” said Marie Diamond. “They’ve all done so well.”
Ed and Marie Diamond intend to remain as residents of Chelsea in the years to come.
“I was born and brought up here and we love it,” said Ed. And Chelsea should feel honored to have such great role models as Ed and Marie Diamond living here.