Tod and Naomi Groman of Port Washington found that mother knew best when it came to true love. Tod explains.
In 1970, I was in a predental program at Brooklyn College. After getting a gratuitous “D” grade in organic chemistry, I decided to change my major to psychology. The following year, while I was preparing for the graduate school exam, my friend Artie mentioned that he was taking the LSAT, the entrance exam for law school. “Why not take that test, too?” I thought. It would take the same three years of postgraduate work to earn a law degree as it would a Ph.D. in psychology. So I did, and on to St. John’s University Law School I went.
Years later, in 1980, after working in the district attorney’s office in Brooklyn, I tried my first civil accident case in Manhattan. While interviewing potential jurors, I learned that one woman, Sonia Zlotnick, was a Holocaust survivor who had lost her parents and other family members.
She was selected for the jury and during the trial, which happened to fall during Passover, the opposing attorney wished Mrs. Zlotnick a happy Passover as she was leaving the courtroom. An associate of mine told me to do the same. I replied that in my training as an assistant DA, I was instructed never to talk to jurors, but he insisted, saying, “He wished her a happy Passover, you do it!” So I called out, in Yiddish, “Mrs. Zlotnick, a Zessin Pesach.” She just nodded and continued to leave. She had been instructed by the judge not to speak to the attorneys.
After the case was settled, I again interviewed the jurors to get their feedback. Mrs. Zlotnick, being her usual friendly self, said, “I didn’t know you were Jewish.” I said, “With a Zessin Pesach, I’m not Jewish?” “Are you married?” she asked. I told her I was single.
In her hand I noticed a photo she was proudly showing the other jurors. It was a professional headshot of one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. I asked who the woman was and she said it was her daughter, Naomi. She was a model and an actress and was also single. I immediately asked for her telephone number.
Naomi and I went to dinner at Malaga in Manhattan on our first date. She was 23 and lived with her parents in Manhattan. I was 29 and living in Brooklyn. Naomi graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in film and television. A couple of weeks later I took her to see a revival of “West Side Story” on Broadway. Three months after that I proposed.
On July 12, 1981, we exchanged vows at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens. We moved to Long Island in 1993. We have two daughters.
Naomi is a bridal consultant in Manhasset and is a licensed real estate agent. I am a trial attorney at the Law Offices of Neil Moldovan, P.C. in Garden City. We will soon celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary and plan to renew our vows during a ceremony at Temple Judea in Manhasset.
I was lucky to move on to a career that, purely by coincidence, put me in a position to meet a mother whose daughter I would spend the rest of my life with. Naomi and I daily still say three important words that her mother urged us to share: “I love you.”— With Virginia Dunleavy