Harry and Marjorie “Marge” Grossman met nearly 77 years ago. They happened to be at a cafe in Union Pier, Mich., where they were each vacationing with friends. He looked across the room, saw Marge and decided he’d like to get to know her. Two years later, on Oct. 17, 1942, they got married.
They dated for 16 months and at one point when Marge was boarding a train in Chicago to visit Harry, who was stationed in New Jersey, Harry’s mother told Marge, “Don't get married.” It has been a family joke since: “Who listens to their mother-in-law,” Marge, 96, said.
A sense of humor is one of the things the couple shares. When asked what attracted her to Harry, Marge said, “He asked me.” And what attracted Harry? “She said yes.”
Marge said one of her favorite traits in Harry is, “He’s nice, thoughtful, and says ‘yes’ when I ask him for money.” Harry, 99, said, “She's a great dresser and has some beautiful jewelry...that I bought.”
Their secret to a long marriage: “Tolerance,” Harry said. “You have to be fond of the person you're with,” Marge said.
After serving in the Army during World War II, Harry worked for the Chicago Herald American newspapers collecting marketing statistics on how certain products, such as liquor, were selling.
He went on to other jobs, started an outdoor billboard company and eventually became an international wholesale art dealer based in Chicago, where the couple lived.
The couple traveled extensively to Europe and China to buy art, including to Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands. The trips were in contrast to their early travels when they took their two children, Eric and Judy, on road trips with a baby mattress in the back of the car and a swamp cooler on the window.
The Grossmans moved to Solana Beach five years ago and now live independently at Seacrest Village in Encinitas. Marge plays mahjong twice a week and Harry had been playing golf (shooting less than his age) up until a few months ago. He still works out a couple of times a week.
Their anniversary celebration at Cucina Enoteca in the Del Mar area drew 60 guests from across the country, including their two grandchildren, Todd and Warren.
“The best part of my life is any time the whole family is together,” Harry said.