Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Valentine's Story: "I Knew"

Manny Weinstein—85
Newton Center, Massachusetts

Manny was one of the very first people I met on my Eldercation journey. The morning I visited with him, Manny sat with me in his sunny home located in Newton Center, Massachusetts, and that’s where he told his story about how he met the love of his life, Dolly, who had passed away many years earlier. “She was a preemie,” Manny explained. “And when her brother first saw her, he said, ‘Oh, my! She looks like a little doll.’ So right away, she was Dolly,” Manny said, smiling. “Calm and so easygoing—the sweetest thing you ever saw.”

Here are some excerpts from Manny's story as it appears in "gOLD: The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations" (available in both paperback and eBook formats):

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"Finding the right woman and marrying my wife, Dolly. That’s the thing I’m most proud of. I just ended up with a girl who was so good for me and I never thought I deserved somebody that nice. And I guess—well, the whole thing was unusual, because I got engaged by proxy, by my father.

I was a very shy person, never had a steady girlfriend. Any time I went out, it was on a blind date that somebody made for me. So a bunch of us, friends, we used to go to a camp in Annisquam, outside Gloucester, run by a guy named Abe. It was a great place to have fun. And I remember I went into the rec hall there one day and I saw this young girl, dancing—she was doing the Lindy, which is an old dance from years ago. She was very spry and she was just . . . Harry, I was just taken with her right away. And then I think one of our trips to Gloucester at night was to get on one of these big sailing boats and take a ride. And I’m a romantic person, so, you know, the spray of the ocean, the breeze, the silence; you could feel the strength of the wind pulling the boat. And then, of course, having Dolly sitting beside me was nice, too. (Smiles.)

So, anyway, when girls went home at the end of the week, they had cars or taxis to take them to Boston, to the train, and so on. And when the girls got to the station, everybody grabbed their bags to help them get into the car, and then the guys wrote down the girls’ numbers in their little black books, “So we’ll write to each other”—you know how it goes. So I took down Dolly’s name and address and that was that.

Now it was two years later, I went into the service and I took my little black book; there must’ve been a hundred names in it. I bought a hundred penny postcards and wrote to every girl and thought, “Whoever answers me I’ll correspond with.” And Dolly answered me. Please understand: I hadn’t seen or talked with her or anything since the camp. But she answered me.

So we corresponded a little bit; she wrote me very nice letters. Never “Hello, how are ya? What’s doing?” Never anything shallow like that. Every letter was interesting, and different. So I invited her to come to Boston to spend my second furlough with me—this was just before I was heading overseas—and she accepted.

I met her upstairs at one of those balcony things there at the train station. I remember exactly what she had on: a leopard coat—imitation, of course—and one of these brown pillbox hats. And she gave me a hug. I don’t even know if I kissed her. . . . Anyhow, I asked for a furlough extension, got it, and we became engaged. It was the last day there, I looked at her and said, “I guess this is it.” She says, “Yeah.”

I knew."

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To read more about what Manny has to say (as well as hear stories from many other lively seniors, please feel free to purchase a copy of "gOLD: The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations" for a friend or loved one. It really
is a tremendous (and important) investment.

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