Highland Park Community Art Wall features local couples’ love stories
The love story of Adelle and Bernard Becker, married 66 years, is among those featured for Valentines Day on the Ruth Fell Wander Community Art Wall at the First Bank of HIghland Park. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 12, 2013 8:15AM
There was no online dating or computer-aided matchmaking when Adelle Becker met her husband-to-be. But somehow she just knew she’d found “the one.”
Adelle was all of 15 in 1938, when she ran into her Albany Park apartment one day after school and declared to her mother, “I found the boy I’m going to marry.” She was speaking of fellow Roosevelt High School student Bernie Becker, her husband of 66 years.
“Adelle was actually not my type,” said Bernie Becker, in an interview for a Valentine-themed display at the First Bank of Highland Park. “I liked girls with meat on their bones and she was so thin. But we had a deeper connection. I loved her character on the inside. We would go on walks together and did not need to say anything, yet knew what the other was thinking.” The couple resides at Gidwitz Place in Deerfield.
Myrna and Marvin Kuznitsky were brought together by alphabetical seating their freshman year at Von Steuben High School, also in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago.
“Little did I know he was telling all of his friends that he met the girl he was going to marry,” said Myrna Kuznitsky, a resident of Wilmette.
The couples’ love stories are among those featured this month on the Ruth Fell Wander Community Art Wall at the First Bank of Highland Park.
Marla Schachtel is grateful she heeded her grandmother’s advice when she attended a party in 1974 with a date. “She always said that going out with someone, even if he didn’t seem like ‘the one,’ was a good idea because you never knew who you might meet while you were out,” recalled Schachtel of Highland Park.
Sure enough, she struck up a conversation with Wayne Schachtel as the two reached for pretzels at the same time. He asked for her phone number; she replied, “I’m in the book”.
When Wayne called to ask her out, she had to turn him down because of a planned family trip to Milwaukee — an early rejection that could have doomed the relationship. Though Wayne thought it a lame excuse used to avoid him, he gave her a second chance to go out on a date.
“We talked for hours that first night together, and I knew right away that something was different about this guy,” said Schachtel. The couple married the next year.
The stories speak to the power of love to conquer obstacles, large and small.
In the Beckers’ case, Bernie’s father and Adelle’s mother fought over wedding plans after he returned from the war. “They went from playing poker together and being friends to not speaking,” recalled Adelle. The couple ended up getting married in their rabbi’s home.
“Of course, once we had children our parents started speaking again and even playing poker because the focus was now on the grandchildren,” said Bernie. When the couple renewed their vows for a 50th wedding anniversary, their children threw them the wedding they never had. “We still kiss each other every day,” said Adelle.
In the Kuznitskys’ case, love even transcended divorce.
Myrna and Marvin were both 21 when they first married on Nov. 7, 1953, and within eight years they were completely occupied raising four daughters. “We kind of lost our way with each other,” said Myrna, of their separation and divorce after 28 years of marriage.
Still, they stayed in touch as parents and grandparents.
“We found we were together celebrating weddings, anniversaries and birthdays and, guess what? We remarried,” said Myrna. In fact, they held their second wedding in 1989, 36 years to the day after their first.
Their wedding invitation read: “For those of you who missed the 1953 production, we are doing a remake with the same cast.”
This time, though, two of their grandchildren were in attendance and their 4-year-old grandson gave the bride away.