Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Seven Decades on, Love's Going Strong

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Seven Decades on, Love's Going Strong

Article excerpt

SARASOTA

Her name was Hilda, and she was a local girl living on rationed food during wartime in England. She had brown hair and blue eyes and when she sashayed into the officer's club dance that night Paul Kovitz became prophetically smitten.

"I pointed my finger at her and said, 'I'm going to marry that girl,'" Paul says. "And sure enough I did. She was beautiful."

They were married Dec. 6, 1944 and the unbreakable union has lasted an incredible 70 years. The only time she has taken off her wedding ring was for surgery and the hospital made her. Meanwhile, he buys her fresh flowers each week, something he's done for seven decades now.

After she receives the flowers she always gives him a hug, but that's hardly unusual. They are always hugging. Sometimes, he says, he even gives her a "pat on the butt."

Hilda Kovitz just turned 90. Paul will be 93 next month. Think they weren't meant to be? They have lived in Sarasota since 1978, and the numerical address of their residence is 2225. That's also their birth years. He was born in 1922. She was born in 1925.

"Can you believe it?" Paul says. "They said it wouldn't last, so we made fools out of them all."

He was an American in the Air Force during World War II when he first saw her in England, and she already had a boyfriend who was a pilot.

They didn't talk at first. It took time. When her boyfriend was out of the country on a mission, she showed up at a dance one night only to find Paul waiting for her at the door. He knew she'd be there. He asked if he could be her escort. She agreed and they discovered there was an undeniable spark.

"While her boyfriend was on a mission I honed in and got friendly with his girlfriend," Paul says proudly.

The relationship grew serious, but there were obstacles in the way of any possible marriage. Because he was Catholic and she was Protestant they had to get special permission from the church, and it was a difficult process.

"While we were dancing one night he said, 'If I ask you to marry me would you?'" Hilda says. "I said, 'Why don't we finish this dance first? You know, it will be a terrible job getting married. …

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