On Sunday, Boyce and Kay Freitag will head to Sandy's, the longtime fast-food joint on Barton Springs Road, for what they call the best burgers in town, a treat they've shared every Aug. 19 for a half-century.
The world was different in 1957, when Boyce and Kay had their first date. It was the time of Eisenhower and Elvis, the civil rights movement and $1 drive-in movies.
Boyce and Kay Freitag found more than burgers at Sandy's on Aug. 19, 1957. They found love, too. The couple mark Aug. 19 each year to celebrate that first date, when he was 18 and she was 15.
But Sandy's is still the same, and so are the stars in the couple's eyes.
"We still get a little stirred up every time we go," said Kay.
On the day he met his future wife, 18-year-old Boyce Freitag, who grew up in Dripping Springs, was back in Austin on leave from the Army Reserve in Fort Chafee, Ark. He ran into an old buddy, Gene Hudson, who offered to fix him up on a date that night.
Boyce didn't quite trust his buddy's recommendation and hesitated to call 15-year-old Kay Menem. Finally, he put a dime in the pay phone and dialed her number. "A sweet-sounding voice answered," he said.
They talked for 30 minutes, and then Boyce asked for a date. Kay's mom, Elnora, said no but suggested the boy come for a visit.
When Kay opened the door for him at 1609 E. Sixth St., just east of where Cisco's Bakery is now, he couldn't speak.
"Is something wrong?" she asked.
"I just wasn't expecting to see such a beautiful girl," he said.
Kay was struck by "those big, blue eyes."
"And he had a little bit of chest hair sticking out of his shirt," she said.
They sat on the porch and talked. By design, her brothers, Si and Jimmy, and younger sister, Darlene, kept interrupting. Elnora eventually gave Kay and Boyce permission to go to Sandy's for a Coke but sent Darlene, then 8, to tag along.
Sandy's was a hopping place in 1957, looking much like it does today. The hamburger-fries-drink combo was but 65 cents then.
Boyce and Kay drank 10-cent Cokes. They bought Darlene a custard, and the child made a mess. "We talked about the swimming hole at Camp Ben McCullough," Boyce said. "She loved St. Mary's because it was an all-girls school. Her best friend was Patsy Porfirio, who ended up marrying her cousin Johnny."
The romance was on. After Boyce's return to the Army, they wrote letters every day; Boyce called often, sometimes playing Bobby Vinton's "You Are My Special Angel" on a jukebox nearby.
Boyce returned to Austin for good that December and went to work for a painting contractor. He bought a used 1953 white Ford convertible with gold leather interior for $500. Kay, a sophomore at St. Mary's Academy, was the envy of friends when he picked her up after school.
Fast forward to a cold February day in 1959. Out on a drive, Boyce stopped at Marshall Ford Dam on Lake Travis, where his father worked. Boyce offered to give Kay a tour. In the elevator, he stopped between floors and turned off the lights. Kay screamed.
He held her and said, "What are you doing for the rest of your life? I would like for you to spend it with me." She kissed him. It was a yes.
They married on June 11, 1959, Kay's 17th birthday, before a justice of the peace. That Aug. 19, as they had the year before, they marked the anniversary of their first date at Sandy's.
They have never missed the date.
"When Boyce orders onions, I have to get them, too," said Kay. "We still kiss a lot."
Through the years, their two children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren have accompanied them on their date anniversary. These days, sister Darlene, who married Boyce's younger brother, Brent, double-dates with the couple to Sandy's.
The couple is quick to offer their secret to a long marriage
. "You have to have more love and respect for your mate than you do for yourself," Boyce said. "You have to find out what she wants and then work like hell to get it. Finally, you have to sleep naked."
A few feet away in a chair in their condominium off Riverside Drive, Kay adds: "Don't marry someone you need. Marry someone you love."
And if there's one thing for sure they love after all these years, it's a burger from Sandy's. With onions.