I love to challenge convention about what we should expect from our lives. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to "never act your age" by a dear friend who was 92 at the time and was still working out and playing golf several times a week. When I heard of the story of Gertrude Mokotoff and Alvin Mann I knew I needed to pass it along. This amazing couple were recently married after meeting at the gym several years before. Nothing unusual you may be thinking, especially if they were in their 30's or 40's. What I found amazing and inspiring was the bride was 98 and Alvin was 94 when they married. But, this only scratches the surface of their amazing lives.
Both Gertrude and Alvin had lived what we would consider fulfilled lives. Both lost their spouses in 2002 and 2007. Gertrude lived in Middletown, N.Y. outside of Manhattan and Alvin lived in the woods in quiet nearby Cuddebackville. She had been a college professor of biology and medical technology in Middletown before she 'retired' and became a fixture in Middletown politics, serving two terms as mayor. Alvin, a retired business man, had gone back to college after his wife's death and for two and a half years commuted 80 miles each way, twice a week, to Mount St. Mary's College in Newtown, N.Y. He became their oldest graduate at age 93.
Alvin was quoted as saying "age doesn't mean a damn thing to me or Gert. We don't see it as a barrier. We still do what we want to in life." And do they! During their years of courtship they drove into Manhattan regularly to attend the opera at the Met. Alvin still fells trees, cuts wood and does his own chores around their home. Neighbors are also amazed to see Alvin and Gert acting like high school sweethearts, holding hands and kissing.
They still have plans and dreams of what they intend to accomplish in life. This was some- thing that attracted them to one another. They also remain positive and live worry free lives. They do not let things over which they have no control bother them. Alvin observed there is a difference between being old and feeling old (or acting old, I would add.)
The full story may be found in an article in the August 11, 2017 edition of the New York Times by Vincent M. Mallozzi. I recommend you read it for more details about them both. A good friend of ours told Pam we needed to read this article and she was right! Her sister is married to Gertrude's son. Thank you Paulette!