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Love in the Olden Days

When we visited my ninety-seven-year old Aunt Ruth in Buffalo two weeks ago, I asked her to talk about the olden days. She told us some great stories about life then, but the one about how she met my Uncle Milton is my favorite.

Aunt Ruth was born in Denver, Colorado in 1912. Her parents had moved there from Connecticut because her older brother had tuberculosis and his doctor recommended Denver air for his health. So how did Aunt Ruth end up in Buffalo?

It seems she was working in an entry-level job at the May Company, a venerable chain of department stores, where she developed a love of fashion. Sent on a buying trip to New York City when the regular buyer became ill, she heard about an opening for a buyer at a Buffalo department store that would more than double her salary (from $35 to $75 per week). Aunt Ruth applied for the job, got it, checked with her parents who said why not, and, at age twenty-five, moved to Buffalo.

When she arrived in Buffalo, she called the only contact she had, the cousin of a friend, who graciously invited her to dinner. The cousin suggested that she join the Business and Professional Women's Group of Buffalo, and arranged for her to be picked up to attend the next meeting.

At the meeting, Aunt Ruth met two of my mother's sisters who told her that they had three single brothers. When asked, Uncle Herman, allegedly the most handsome, wasn't interested. Uncle Sidney didn't like blind dates. Uncle Milton said, "What can I lose?"

Uncle Milton was a newly-minted gynecologist/obstetrician, and for reasons I don't know, brought along a urologist friend when he took Aunt Ruth to dinner. Coincidentally, both men got called for emergencies (they had left the phone numbers of the restaurant with their hospital -- no cell phones then). They left Aunt Ruth with the bill and no way to get home. That was on January 27, 1938.

Four months later, on May 30, 1938, Aunt Ruth and Uncle Milton were married. They lived together happily for 49 years until Uncle Milton died. She is still meeting people he brought into the world in his long and successful obstetrics practice.


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