First Date: August 1941, the Bronx, N.Y.
Wedding Date: June 6, 1943
Venue: Beth Tfiloh Congregation
Current Residence: Baltimore
Favorite Activities: Traveling
The secret to a successful marriage, according to David Berenson, is to not go to sleep angry.
“You can go to bed angry, but never go to sleep angry,” said David, 89, who celebrated his 70th anniversary with his wife, the former Dixie Alabala, on June 6.
Dixie, 88, added, “You have to keep the conversation going.”
Today, they do more than converse. They always kiss each other hello and goodbye, and they are seen around town holding hands.
They’ve been best friends since their second meeting in the summer of 1941. Although their first meeting — at a party — was uneventful, they crossed paths at a local New York pool. David still remembers 17-year-old Dixie’s black bathing suit.
“She was well built, very pleasant, nice to be around,” said David.
They spent the entire day together. Their first date was to the movies at the Boulevard Theater in East Bronx.
“We were very compatible, we got along,” recalled Dixie. His blond hair and blue eyes didn’t hurt, either.
Within weeks, both knew they had a future. They were together constantly, and they gave up their friends to concentrate on each other.
In November 1942, David bought Dixie a diamond ring, and Dixie bought David a gold band with a center diamond.
The next month, David joined the military; they planned to marry after the war. But in March, they decided otherwise. They married June 6, 1943 while David was on a seven-day furlough. After 100 relatives and friends witnessed the ceremony at a Bronx synagogue, the newlyweds took a bus to Atlantic City, N.J., for a four-day honeymoon. After that, David returned to Fort Knox (Kentucky), and Dixie lived with her mother.
In September, Dixie joined her husband and went with him to Texas. Later, when he was transferred, she returned home.
David served a total of 39 months and returned to the Bronx in 1946. Son Stephen was born in October 1947 in New York. By then, David had joined the retail business as a buyer. They moved to Baltimore in 1950, as David joined the Regal Shop and eventually Lane Bryant, also in Baltimore.
Keith joined the family in January 1951, and Perry came along in December 1958.
At 59, David retired from Lane Bryant after 25 years. David and Dixie returned to Baltimore, after
living in Findlay, Ohio, Philadelphia, Chicago and Houston. It was the first time they paid for a move, and they did so to be near their children.
Today, they kvell over their seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“We’ve been home taking care of each other,” said Dixie with a smile. She’s been an avid bowler for 50 years. David serves Meals on Wheels and B’nai B’rith.
They look forward to their travels, whether cross country or through Europe, their weekly Sunday night dinners with friends and their Saturday movie nights.
“It’s wonderful,” said Dixie. “We’ve had a very good life together from the moment it started.”
Linda L. Esterson is an Owings Mills-based freelance writer. For Beshert, call 410-902-2305 or email [email protected].