They always support each other


In the early hours of a summer night in 1991, Don’s encounter with friends and strangers at Memories Margate brought him to the bar stool next to Marcia’s.

Don was a 35-year-old writer and assistant professor of writing and creative writing at Oxford Circle who had returned to Philadelphia after seven frustrating years of screenwriting in Los Angeles. He had spent the Shore season flirting on the beach and crushing on his parents. ‘ condominium.

Marcia was a 40-year-old office manager for a small downtown architectural firm, born in Brooklyn and raised from the age of 7 in West Philadelphia and Overbrook Park. She spent her summer in a shared house in Ventnor.

“He offered me a drink and we started talking,” Marcia recalled.

“She was such a happy girl,” Don said. “That was the sexy thing about her: she was so optimistic.”

“We got on great, and then he said he could take me home,” Marcia said. Several of her friends were with her that night, and one of them had met Don a few years earlier when his sister was part of a group of people renting a Shore house with him. “I was like, ‘He’s kinda cute, so why not?’ And since one of my roommates knew him, I figured he wasn’t a serial killer.

After their two-mile drive to Ventnor, Don and Marcia walked the boardwalk. “It was a 20 minute first kiss,” Don said. “I almost ran out of air.”

“I don’t remember you complaining,” Marcia said wryly.

They had fun for the rest of that waning summer. Then, surprising them both, their relationship blossomed across the Delaware River.

Don had dated a lot, but he wasn’t going to settle down unless he could have something as strong as his parents’ relationship, and the right person had eluded him before.

“The night I met Marcia, I had invited four different girls to meet me at Memories. Two weeks later, I just wanted to see Marcia,” Don said. I’ve ever seen.”

Marcia hadn’t been out much before Don. The men she met didn’t really interest her, so she never saw the point. “I didn’t have to go on a date to have someone buy me dinner because I could buy my own dinner,” she said.

With Don, Marcia saw the point. “He’s probably the nicest man I’ve ever met,” she said. “He’s very sensitive – sweet, loving and generous. He’s fun. And he would never say anything mean. He just gets mad when I’m funnier than him, which happens quite often.

In May 1994, Marcia moved in with Don in the Northeast. They loved to travel together – to Saratoga with friends, to California and, every summer, to Ventnor. Professionally, Marcia, now 71, became an office manager at Israel Bonds – a position she held for nearly two decades before retiring. Don, now 67, has taught English and creative writing at several local colleges and universities. He continues to write – including a growing collection of poetry for Marcia, some of which is included in his book How to Write Poems for Your Loved Ones and Save a Ton of Money on Gifts. His other books include A Writer’s First Aid Kit and 3 cousinsa collection of non-fiction short stories about his family that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum accepted into its collection in 2018.

In August 2000, the couple were walking on Ventnor Promenade when Don asked Marcia to sit on a bench near where they had first kissed nine years earlier. He knelt down in front of her.

“Do you want…” he said before losing his words.

“Am I what?” Marcia teased.

“You know what I mean,” Don said.

She did it. And she said yes.

On December 10 of that year, they were married at Kesher Israel in Philadelphia. Marcia’s father, Morris, had died when she was 14, so her uncle Irving came over from California to walk her down the aisle. After the ceremony, 52 people joined the couple for a reception at an Italian restaurant, including Marcia’s mother, Frances, her uncle Irving and aunt Iris, and Don’s parents, Bernard and Bernice.

“Because we had two free nights at a hotel-casino, for our big honeymoon, we went to Atlantic City,” Marcia said. Every year since, the two have celebrated their anniversary by traveling to destinations such as Jamaica, Aruba, Key West and several cities in California.

After their honeymoon, the couple moved to an apartment in Bensalem.

In March 2016, Marcia’s abdomen was strangely swollen. A scan showed a suspicious mass and she was given an oncology appointment for the next morning. “It’s not good,” she told Don. Anticipating an immediate hospital stay, she took a packed bag with her.

Don said his prayers were more of a pleading negotiation. “Look, we both know I’ve had some weird bad luck in my career,” he told God. “Fame and fortune hung before me, but always snatched away, sometimes excruciatingly. It’s because I kept all my luck for the moment. Please save Marcia, save our love here on Earth.

Marcia couldn’t bear the thought of Don’s grief. She addressed her words to her doctors: “Put me in the hospital and get me out of this thing,” she said. “I have one life to live.” This Friday, April Fool’s Day, she underwent four-hour surgery. Don was eating a pear in the waiting room when the surgeon told him they were able to remove the entire mass. Since then, April Fool’s Day has been the couple’s lucky day, and the heart of the lucky pear remains frozen in their freezer.

“Now we say, ‘If it’s not a health issue, it’s not a problem,'” Don said.

Marcia remains cancer-free.

The couple plans to take another trip to Florida this year. They enjoy regular visits with the mother of Marcia, who will soon be 102 years old. But most of the time, they enjoy each other’s company at home.

Don, who learned to cook after receiving a wok as a consolation prize on The dating game in 1978, cooks dinner. Marcia does the prep work.

When they watch Philly sports or a movie, he sits on the floor in front of her lounge chair so she can rub her shoulders and back with her feet.

The keys to their happiness: always consider the other and, if necessary, take over.

“We put each other first,” Marcia said.

“When tax season comes around, I don’t have to think about it,” Don said. “When we go to Florida, she won’t have to drive.”

Love isn’t just about marriage, and love stories don’t stop at marriage: we’re looking for stories about all kinds of love from parents and children, best friends, siblings, newlyweds and brides-to-be, and experienced couples. To be featured in a Love column, please email [email protected] with your names, a few sentences about your story, and the best way to reach you. Please include your email address.


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