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Some people will never believe in love at first sight.
But ask Meyer Markowitz when he first knew he had found his bride and he'll tell you: the moment he laid eyes on her, nearly 70 years ago.
"She had those big, black eyes," he said on Valentine's Day.
With a marriage that has lasted 68 years, Meyer and Nellie Markowitz were the winning couple this week in a contest sponsored by the Atria-Kew Gardens assisted living center to find the longest married couple in Queens.
"I met her at a Sweet Sixteen," said the proud husband, 89.
"He never changed," added his wife, 86. "He was always good to me."
They were married in 1932 during the Depression and settled in the Bronx. They both went to work trying to make ends meet, she in a bank, he as a salesman.
They had their share of "trials and tribulations," but he never doubted their marriage would last.
"Those were very hard times, but we made it," Nellie Markowitz said with a laugh.
Most of their friends have died, she added, making it sad to look back on their youth. "But every morning we wake up and we're together," she said. "I'm thankful."
Of all the things they have shared as a couple, she said the biggest joy has been raising their two daughters, Laura and Estelle, and seeing their family grow to include six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
"My oldest grandchild is 40," she said with a laugh. "How's that for a child?"
Of the dozen or so couples seated in the candlelit dining room at Atria-Kew Gardens, most boasted marriages of 50 years or longer.
It took a bit of chance for Anne and Max Glenn of Little Neck, who have been married 58 years, to meet and get together.
She was on her way to his house to meet his brother, a medical student. But because he wasn't home, she was introduced to Max Glenn, who married her two weeks later.
Anne Glenn looked at her husband incredulously as he told the story of how they met. "You remember that?" she asked, then broke out laughing.
"It was a gamble," she admitted. "You never know. But in those days, you got married and that was it. Not like today, when you can be married for six months and it's over."
"The only way to be married is to be married a long time," added her husband. "It takes a lifetime to really know a person's soul."
Holocaust survivors Samuel Linder, 92, and Fanny Linder, 91, had an arranged marriage in Romania that has lasted almost 65 years.
In spite of "bitter memories" from their three years in a concentration camp, Fanny Linder said "we had a good life together."
©2000 Community Newspaper Group
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