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My Turn: Celebrating a wedding 'corona-versary' on Long Island

George Borsuk surprised his wife, Betty, by setting

George Borsuk surprised his wife, Betty, by setting a festive table for their anniversary dinner in isolation. Credit: George Borsuk

There is an expression in Hebrew that translates literally as: “Man plans and God laughs.” Betty and I had planned to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on March 22, but because of the coronavirus crisis, we had to cancel our original plans.

My daughter, Jill, had been planning a family-and-friends brunch get-together at her home in Melville, where the celebration would have included her husband, Larry, and their 14-year-old twins, Alec and Isaac, and other relatives and friends. My son, Seth, and daughter-in-law, Lisa, were coming in from New Jersey with their sons, Joey, 5, and Tyler, 3. We were to have a dinner on Saturday night at a restaurant in Bay Shore.

Since this coronavirus crisis began, I have tried to be creative and make every day productive. On March 21, I turned lemons into lemonade. I was going to celebrate my 50th anniversary with Betty in unique ways that would make this a one-of-a-kind, fantastic celebration.

My first idea was to make an anniversary card. On my refrigerator was a picture of Betty and me at the twins’ bar mitzvah last year. We were wearing neon party rings around our necks. I took the picture and taped vertical prison bars across it. On the inside of the card I wrote “Spending my 50th anniversary in jail!” When I handed Betty the card upon awakening March 22, she said, “Ya can’t even buy me a card?” I tersely answered, “How the %$#! can I?”

Then I took out our wedding album. Friends were calling all day to congratulate us. Those who called who had been at the wedding got their photos from that day emailed to them. Great comments!

“I don’t remember having long hair.”

“Who are these people?!”

“Don’t remember being there?”

“I’m gonna blow up the picture and put it near the fireplace.”

“We look so young!”

“Where did all those years go?”

I gave my friends and family a taste of nostalgia in a dark and threatening time for our nation.

Jill called — she lives in Melville, like we do — and said she would drive over with her husband and my grandsons.

Rules applied. We were to stay in the house and look at them through the glass door. No compromising. We had a few good laughs and felt lucky just to be able to see them.

Through the miracle of FaceTime, we were also able to see my other two grandsons and son and daughter-in-law.

Now it was almost dinnertime. Our community has a restaurant that was delivering food, so Betty and I decided to order something special. I got rack of lamb and Betty got sea bass oreganata delivered to our door.

I told Betty to go into the bedroom so I could prepare a surprise. I brought up a bridge table and set it up with a candelabra that my grandfather had given my parents for their 25th anniversary. I lit the candles, and we proceeded to have our anniversary meal with a glass of wine. We FaceTimed my daughter’s family, and together we toasted the day!

Then we had a whipped-cream cupcake that we put a candle in. We FaceTimed my son’s family, and before we could light the candle, the cupcake fell on the floor, leaving quite a mess! We all had a laugh, and his family sang “Happy Anniversary” to us.

Betty and I feel so fortunate to have also celebrated both our parents’ 50th anniversaries many years ago. And, I guess, the apples didn’t fall far from the trees!

It was a beautiful way to spend a virtual anniversary with the people who mean the most to us.

Be safe everyone, and remember: Socially distanced, spiritually connected!

George Borsuk,


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