It’s been more than 50 years since Elmer and Fran Armstrong first met at a Missouri Steak ‘n Shake in 1962. Now, as they gear up to celebrate 55 years of marriage, the love birds decided to go back to where the magic began.
Courtney Stepp, the couple’s 24-year-old granddaughter, says she came up with the idea to photograph her grandparents, both 76, as they recreated their first date at the local eatery. She says she had heard the story of their sweet meet-cute several times as a kid, and wanted to give the “remarkable” couple a chance to do it all again — this time, on camera.
“I wanted to do something special for them because they’re celebrating their 55th anniversary this year and I thought this would be super unique,” Stepp tells PEOPLE.
“They just loved the idea. I said, ‘Let’s do a photo shoot like your first date!’ They were up for it.”
In March 1962, Elmer and Fran pulled up to a St. Louis Steak ‘n Shake separately with friends, according to Stepp. Because it was raining, Fran sat in her car with the windshield wipers at high speed, prompting Elmer to approach her and say, “Excuse me, miss. Your windshield wipers are squeaking.”
A young Fran replied jokingly: “Yea, no kidding.”
The two groups merged inside, having hamburgers and strawberry milkshakes, according to ABC News. Elmer and Fran wed a year later, on June 22, 1963.
Although the original Steak ‘n Shake is long gone, Stepp took her grandparents to one of its other locations in St. Louis. There, the couple enjoyed hamburgers and strawberry milkshakes once again.
“It was really cool to just watch them relive their first date. They have such strong love for each other and that true love can truly last,” Stepp tells PEOPLE. “They were giggling and laughing the entire time. They were literally cracking up.”
Photos from the shoot showed the Armstrongs sharing a milkshake and holding hands at the table. When Stepp unveiled the shots to the couple, “they thought they were really sweet,” she says.
Now, Stepp says she hopes to present the photos to her grandparents in an official album on their 55th wedding anniversary. For now, she says, Elmer and Fran are enjoying life as Internet sensations thanks to the photos.
“I had no idea it was gonna get this popular,” Stepp tells PEOPLE of the photos. “These are my grandparents that social media is blowing up about. These are people that truly deserve the attention. They’re just truly remarkable people and truly care about everyone they encounter.”