Celebrating 80 years of marriage

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Celebrating 80 years of marriage

Before the Berlin Wall, rock ‘n’ roll and color television, there were Herman and Bertie Solomon.

The centenarian couple celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary at the Atria Great Neck retirement home Monday afternoon, where they have lived since 2006. 

Flanked by friends, family and sets of green and white helium balloons tied to the backs of their chairs, the Solomons ate cake and reflected on their decades of matrimony. 

“We hope that this can show the way of the future to all of you,” said Herman, as he held his wife’s hand, her wrist covered in a corsage of yellow flowers.

About 30 people gathered in the Atria’s second-story common room to celebrate the anniversary, as friends and family delivered tribute to the Solomons’ long-lived union.

“This is a very, very special day for all of here at Atria,” said Atria staffer Babs Mohel. “We are so glad and happy that we can be a part of this.”

Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender praised the Solomons as the “nicest couple” and read an official village proclamation congratulating them on their anniversary.

“You really exemplify what it means to be married and be a loving couple,” Celender said.

Bertie Solomon, sitting feet behind a framed black-and-white photograph of her and her husband as a fresh-faced young couple, expressed gratitude to those attending the celebration.

“We want to thank you all for the lovely courtesy you’ve put on for our anniversary,” Bertie said.

The Solomons lived in the same Forest Hills, Queens apartment for 52 years.

And before that, their relationship started as a set up that a 17-year-old and commitment-shy Herman was reluctant to pursue.

“I worked for her brother and he introduced me to her, I think about a year or a year and a half before I had a date with her for the first time,” said Herman. “I didn’t want to do it at first. I was too young, I didn’t want to get involved.”

But Herman’s cold feet weren’t to last. That first date turned into another, and that into one more, and in 1933 the two were wed.

“Little by little we started dating, and from then on it was history,” he said.

As to their longevity and lucid spirit on display at the celebration, family member Sheila Cohen offered one possible explanation as she described the qualities of their relationship.

“Together they are much stronger than they are alone,” Cohen said.

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