Herb And Nona Sitting In A Tree … A 60-year Wait For Love

First loves Herbert Decambra Mercado and Winona Kaahanui Limpahan will marry Friday on Kailua Beach after 60 years apart. Photo from Angela Angel.

It’s happened again: True love endures and has its reward in the end.

Herbert Decambra Mercado and Winona Kaahanui Limpahan are getting married on Kailua beach at 11 a.m. Friday – 60 years after they first met and fell in love. According to family friend Angela Angel, Mercado and Limpahan grew up together in Kailua, but when they were teenagers, a family emergency called Limpahan away to the Big Island and they went their separate ways.

“They literally vanished from each other’s lives,” said Angel, who also lives in Kailua. “Although heart-broken, they both had to move on.” Mercado faught in the Korean War, married and established a successful business in North Carolina. Limpahan returned to Oahu and also married.

A few years ago, as a widow, she attended a family funeral and later a birthday party, and Mercado was there. After yet another period of time, Angel recalled, “They had a quiet heart-to-heart, and now in their golden years, they have a second chance at first love for a lifetime.”

Mundo Juillerat, who calls “Auntie Nona” his second mother, will accompany his cousin Darrilyn Crisostomos Friday when she sings the Hawaiian Wedding Song at the ceremony. (He’s flying in from Las Vegas, where he performs at the Wynn and with The Hot Club.)

“She’s a treasure trove of Hawaiian stories and musical adventures,” Juillerat said. “She’s literally bigger than life to me.

“I was one of the first people she started confiding to about Herbert. After all these years, I was giving my Aunty love advice! I’m so happy she’s found Herbert!”