Sarah and Harry Shapiro, of St. Louis Park, to celebrate 70 years of marriage
By ERIN ELLIOTT BRYAN /Â Community News Editor
Sarah (Binder) Shapiro had an easy time remembering one of the qualities she noticed about her husband, Harry, when they first met through mutual friends more than 70 years ago.
“I thought he was kind,” she said.
“She didn’t say which kind,” Harry interjected, laughing.
The Shapiros, who live at Menorah Plaza in St. Louis Park, were married on Nov. 8, 1939, in a small ceremony at the home of Sarah’s parents. This year, they will celebrate their 70th anniversary.
When they were dating, Harry — who will turn 94 on Nov. 14 — was active in the Polars, a boys club at the Emmanuel Cohen Center in North Minneapolis. They eventually formed their own dance club with six other couples, which met one evening a week.
“Harry’s friends became my friends and my friends became Harry’s friends,” Sarah, 91, said.
The Shapiros also attended concerts at Lake Harriet every Sunday and liked a variety of winter sports, including skating and tobogganing.
“We were invited to each other’s parents’ homes and got to know the family,” Sarah said.
- Sarah and Harry Shapiro will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Nov. 8. (Photo: Erin Elliott Bryan)
Harry is one of seven children and Sarah is one of five children. They have both lived in the Twin Cities their entire lives.
After dating for a few years, Harry proposed to Sarah, whom he still calls “Gorgeousness.”
“It’s hard to remember, but I would venture a guess that I said to Sarah, ‘I would love to marry you,’” he said. “I even got down on my knee when I proposed to her.”
As newlyweds, Harry worked in the building business with his father. He left that industry in 1964, when there was a drop in real estate, and began working in the insurance business.
In high school, Sarah worked for Irving and Harry Goldstein’s wholesale plumbing supply house on Washington Avenue. She earned enough money to attend night school at the University of Minnesota, where she studied business, and returned to work full-time for the Goldsteins “for many years.”
The Shapiros are members of Beth El Synagogue, where they once belonged to the Mr. and Mrs. Club. Sarah was also a member of the Women’s League.
“Only you belonged there, I didn’t,” Harry said.
“Yeah, I belonged to that, not you,” Sarah said, laughing.
The couple received a subscription to the American Jewish World as a wedding gift from Sarah’s parents and they have been active subscribers for the past 70 years.
They moved from Minneapolis to St. Louis Park in the 1940s and eventually settled in Golden Valley, moving into one of the homes Harry had built. They moved to Menorah Plaza in April.
The Shapiros have two children, Robert and Deborah, and one grandson.
When Harry and Sarah celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1989, they renewed their vows at Beth El, an event that Sarah said was “the wedding we had not had.”
“We were probably the only couple that have ever been remarried without being divorced,” Harry said. “We went through the complete wedding ceremony.”
“We had a renewal of our marriage vows and our same rabbi performed that, and we had all of our families and all of our friends,” Sarah said. “And it was a lovely, lovely party.”
“And our son was the ring-bearer,” Harry added.
After more than 70 years together, the Shapiros still agree on what makes a lasting relationship.
“Patience with one another, and never go to bed without a goodnight kiss,” Sarah said.
“No matter what, we never went to bed without a goodnight kiss and I’m serious about that,” he said. “To me, her kiss was like having dessert. That’s how sweet she tasted to me.”
(American Jewish World, 10.30.09)