Couple celebrates 72 years of marriage

People have been known to go to monasteries high in the Himalayas in search of answers to cosmic questions. But if you want to know what it takes to stay married to the same person for 72 years, you only have to visit the Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Jamaica.

That’s where Al and Pauline Blum recently celebrated their 72nd anniversary in front of family and their friends, including other residents and staffers.

“How could you let an event like this go by without a celebration,” remarked Linda Spiegel, Director of Public Affairs for the center, a member of the Beth Abraham Family of Health Services, located at 164-11 Chapin Parkway.

Al and Pauline met at a social club on Broadway in the lower East Side. It was in 1936 when he was 18 and she was only 16 years old.

The fact that they had the same birthday – March 16 – was an icebreaker, and they started talking, according to daughters Donna Blum and Francine Glickfeld and son-in-law Bob Prasker, who have apparently been telling the story for so long they can finish each others’ sentences.

“I was sitting between two girls having a good time when she came down the stairs,” Al recalled. “She looked at me and said ‘Wow, there’s the guy I’m going to marry,’” he continued. Two years later, on June 6, 1938, they tied the knot.

From their first apartment at “291 Madison Street,” the children agreed unanimously, the couple eventually moved to Rego Park and then settled in at Tietz when additional care was required.

Though the years have taken their toll on the Blums (Al needs a walker and Pauline is in a wheelchair), he could still blow out the candles on the cake – and still surprise the family.

When asked about song they first danced to at the wedding – on a Monday, Al offered – he revealed that it was Irving Berlin’s “I Found a Million-Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)."

The daughters exclaimed simultaneously that Pauline worked at a Woolworth’s (the original “5 & 10”) when they met. Seventy-four years later, they’re still together.

So, what’s the answer to the great question?

In the words of Al Blum: “Unselfish love and devotion – and two televisions.”