Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Secret to Long, Happy Marriage? Love, like, Respect

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Secret to Long, Happy Marriage? Love, like, Respect

Article excerpt

Anita and Jules Lasner still hold hands after almost 71 years of marriage.

"We used to walk holding hands," said Jules Lasner, 94, but not anymore because they both need their hands to hold on to their walkers.

They like to hold hands as much as possible because they still really like each other, said Anita, 91. Married since Feb. 23, 1946, she said liking each other is as important as loving each other.

Sitting in the lobby of the Village Square building at the Cedar Crest Retirement Community in Pequannock, the couple reminisced about their first meeting, their children, their joys and their heartbreaks.

They did not want to linger over the heartbreak of losing their 2- week-old firstborn, but they happily talked of their two children, their five grandchildren and the beginning of their love story.

They met in Brooklyn in 1938 when Jules was 16 and Anita 13. Their first date was a day at Coney Island and although both said there was chemistry there right away, World War II temporarily separated them.

In 1943, at the age of 21, Jules joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and shipped out.

"He told me not to wait for him," Anita, who was 18, recalled. "He said he might not be coming back."

The two shared many letters while apart.

"He kept on writing love letters," Anita said. She saved them all and has them tucked away in a trunk stored in her daughter's house.

Jules remembered writing the letters when he had time between the 27 missions he flew with the 8th Air Force, in England. (His experiences as a navigator were captured in a book: "One of Thousands: A Navigator in the European Air War," written by Frederick Fooy.)

Jules returned home in 1945 after two years of service.

When he and Anita reconnected, they had some initial hurdles to overcome before they could resume where they left off.

"He comes homes and it seems there was a girl in England he was attracted to," Anita recalls. "He came home to buy her a ring."

Jules did not go back. He sent a letter to the girl in England that he would not be returning.

He began to seriously "court" Anita and after several weeks managed to win her back.

The two went on a special date to Tavern on the Green in Central Park, where Jules proposed and Anita said yes. They wed on Feb. 23, 1946. They didn't give too much thought to the future or how long they would be together.

Money was tight in the beginning. Jules worked as salesman before opening his own company and Anita was a housewife. The two made do with $15 a week.

"You have to have a budget," Anita says. "It's really important to save."

Jules nodded his head in agreement. He said they both grew up during the Great Depression and saving money was very important.

The couple were joined by their first child early in their marriage. Just two weeks later, the baby died. …

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