FOR Park Drive couple Isabel Kaplan and Aaron Florence, who celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary this year, marriage is all about give and take.
“We met at a party I wasn’t even invited to. I was 19 and she was 17 when I took a fancy to her – and she wasn’t my first girlfriend,” Aaron said.
To which she retorted, “I had plenty of boyfriends too” and continued with their story.
“The party was in Mount Croix and was hosted by a mutual friend, Norman Meyer. I can’t really remember dates – all I remember are the memories, but that’s how it’s like when you get older.”
Isabel was born and lived in New Brighton until the age of seven and is proud she was delivered by the famous nurse after whom the hospital is named, Dora Nginza, herself.
She reminisced on the things the couple used to do: “We went to places like the Embassy Bioscope, drive-ins and window shopping in Main Street – those were the good old days. It was a lovely free time then. Definitely different to the life we live today.
“Aaron is a wonderful and loving person with good values.”
They married on June 11 1950 (when she was 19 and he 21) at the Raleigh Street Synagogue – now the Jewish Pioneers’ Memorial Museum.
“All I remember is that I had to carry this huge bunch of flowers as my bridal bouquet. It was heavy!”
Electrician Aaron and nursery school teacher Isabel then took over the Florence family business selling clothing and fabric.
“The House of Florence was a shop in North End and we ran it for 35 years. A couple needs to work hard – together.”
The couple, who live in a Park Drive retirement village, have five children – Jennifer, Cheryl, Glenda, Tessa and Malcolm; 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Isabel, now 82, takes care of Aaron, a diabetic.
“He has a problem with his feet, heart and chest.
“I don’t know when it will stop but I continue to have faith. I can’t expect my children to help because they have their own families and have to live their own lives. I want to provide him with care for as long as I can.”
She speaks fondly about their children: “My happiness came from my children mostly. I’d have had 10 if I could but stopped when I had my son.
“Glenda and Tessa live in Australia, Malcolm and Cheryl are in Cape Town, and Jennifer lives in Seaview. It’s hard that we are all separated. I miss them terribly.”
How has it worked all these years?
“She gives and I take,” Aaron joked.
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