When I graduated from Brooklyn College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1960, a Jewish philanthropist named Sam Melton in Columbus, Ohio invited me to teach at his new school there. I would teach children and adults for one school year.
There was a man in my Hebrew Level 2 class whose sister’s children were also my students. They spoke lovingly of their Uncle Marvin.
As the class was winding up in April 1961, Marvin Bonowitz called me on a Sunday evening to invite me to a concert the next night. The Philadelphia Symphony was in town and Columbus rarely had such events back then, so I quickly accepted. The concert was great and afterward we went out for a drink.
Tuesday, Marv invited me to a movie the next night, and then a show on Thursday. He sent over a huge bouquet of flowers. After the show, as we sat in his car in front of my apartment building, I told him I was leaving Columbus in a few weeks to teach in another city.
He took my hand and said, “Don’t go. I want us to get married.”
In shock, I agreed to marry him. He asked me to not tell anyone until Saturday night because he had a date with another woman on Friday and it wouldn’t be nice to break it at the last minute.
On Saturday night, we told his family. Monday, we flew to New York to introduce him to my family. When my mother met Marv, she took me aside and asked how I could marry a bald man who was ten years older than me? I told her I loved him and knew what I was doing. We married a few weeks later in Brooklyn. I was 23.
Marv and I had so much in common! We loved to travel. We loved theater. We loved classical music and show tunes.
We raised four wonderful children and traveled all over the U.S, Europe and Israel. Together, we worked summers at our kids’ Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Marv, who was the first male registered nurse in Columbus, was camp nurse at Ramah; I was head teacher. He also played piano for camp musicals.
As a nurse back home, he did private duty work; at the time, hospitals wouldn’t let a male nurse work with female patients. He also worked in his father’s menswear store, owning it when his father retired. Eventually, Marv went back to nursing, this time in local hospitals until he retired in 1993.
Marv was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012. My daughter moved in with us to help care for him. By 2018, after years of nursing others, now a visiting hospice nurse came once a week to see him. No longer able to read music, Marv played show tunes on the piano by ear until three weeks before he died.
Marvin Bonowitz and I were together for 57 wonderful years until his death from Alzheimer’s in August 2018. I had never planned to spend my life in Columbus until I met my beshert.
Anne Bonowitz lives in Columbus, Ohio, where she is a member of Congregation Tifereth Israel. A retired teacher of Hebrew and Jewish Studies and Torah reader at her synagogue, she is the mother of four adult children and three grandsons. She is currently a docent at the Columbus Museum of Art. She and her husband, Marvin, of blessed memory, especially liked the George Gershwin classic, “Our Love is Here To Stay.”
Top photo: Anne and Marv Bonowitz, 2010, Columbus, Ohio. They were married in Brooklyn, New York from June 25, 1961 until Marv’s death in 2018.