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78 years of marriage, and counting

Herman and Bertha Solomon celebrated their 78th anniversary

Herman and Bertha Solomon celebrated their 78th anniversary Friday. The residents and staff at Atria Assisted Living in Great Neck threw them a party. (June 3, 2011) Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Herman and Bertha Solomon’s courtship spanned the Great Depression.

Their marriage has been anything but.

The couple tied the knot in 1933, and they celebrated their 78th wedding anniversary Friday at Atria Senior Living in Great Neck, with friends and family offering love and affection while piano music filled the room.

Herman, 100, met his lovely "Birtie," 99, thanks to Birtie’s brother, who was Herman’s boss at a Brooklyn hardware store.

All these years later, neither has forgotten that he didn’t call her for weeks after the first date.

“I wasn’t interested in a steady date,” he said. “I was only 17 years old. I wasn't interested in any girls then.”

But four years after Herman took Birtie to see a movie for the first time, the two were married. He went on to become a business partner in an independent construction supply shop that provided materials for the construction of major Manhattan projects like the World Trade Center. They moved to Atria in Great Neck six years ago from Queens.

During the party the couple’s granddaughter, Hillary Gauthier, 44, professed her love to them along with their great-granddaughter, Sophie, 5.

“It’s [being married for so many years] hard to put into words,” Gautheir said. “My grandfather has been through so many things that I think it's hard for our generation to understand.”

Gautheir and her daughter will be moving to Singapore soon to be reunited with her husband, who works as an animation teacher. She said the separation has been bearable because her grandparents have inspired her.

“My grandfather tends to be [the connection] for a lot of the family members,” Gauthier said when asked if her grandparents’ ability sustain their love has helped her long-distance relationship. “In a way his ability to keep people connected has been really strong in our balance.”

Birtie’s turns 100 in July, yet another milestone Herman just can’t wait for.

“I never thought I'd live to see the day where we could celebrate each and every year together,” he said.

Photo: Herman, 100, and Bertha, 99, Solomon of Great Neck celebrated their 78th anniversary Friday.

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