My folks had their 50th anniversary celebration recently. I recognize how fortunate they and I are for them to reach this milestone. We put on a nice dinner at their favorite pre-Symphony restaurant and had friends and family together to kvell. Here is my toast and some photos from the 50 years, including a sweet one of me from the 70s.
I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be here on such a happy and momentous occasion. Many different forces have conspired together to allow Alice and Larry to arrive at this time still together, still in love, enjoying good health and the company of family and friends, and able to look out on more happy years together. I think we all know how rare it is for a couple to get here and tonight is a celebration of that milestone.
What is it in my parents’ characters, both individually and as a couple, that have allowed them to get to this moment in their lives together? I think in addition to the qualities and values that Amy mentioned, I want to highlight a couple of things through stories from our lives together.
One thing I really admire about both my mom and dad is how they have both worked really hard to define a path for themselves, as a couple and family and also in their careers. Apart from being happy and successful, I don’t think either one of them is exactly where their parents might have guessed, but instead have gone way beyond what anyone might have thought achievable.
And I’m grateful that my folks recognized that they had carved their own path, but rather than imposing their new sense of what was successful on me and Aaron, they passed along this sense that hard work can create new possibilities. As an example of this, when I was 17 and up with my dad in Boston looking at colleges—having already put aside MIT, because I didn’t want the Bachelor’s of Science in Literature they offered—I was guardedly expressing to my dad that I probably wanted to major in English or something equally squishy. And he said, basically, that one generation becomes engineers or businessmen so that the next can become poets.
And I took that I think in the proper sense, which was my folks being grateful that they had created a wonderful environment from which I could feel free to choose a path that didn’t actually involve making a living. Of course, long story short, I now work at the MIT Sloan School of Management, so it’s a good thing I have that English major and can define irony.
The other thing that I admire so much in my folks is how they have expressed their love for each other, for me and Aaron, and for so many other friends and family. The generosity of this love made our house growing up a gathering place, for example in an annual Rosh Hashonah party that brought a hundred-odd people to Leigh Mill Road in Great Falls–not a great center of Jewish life–for ten years.
The steadfastness of this love is what got us all through the loss of Aaron, and enabled us to keep finding joy in life together. And the strength of this love is what is behind the work my mom and dad both have put into making their local library a real beacon for the community, and has created a wonderful environment for me, Amy and our girls, who are so fortunate to live down the street from each other.
I’d like us all to celebrate the love my mom and dad have created in their lives together, and which I hope we will all share in for many years to come.