“For every pot, there’s a cover.” That’s what my grandmother of blessed memory always said, never giving up her hope for me. But I was pushing 40. Restless, with no possible prospects, I moved to Norfolk, Virginia for a new hotel job. As I did with every new move, I first went to the local synagogue. This one happened to be hosting a singles Shabbat that night. Hooray, a “two in one!” When my parents next asked, as they always did, if I had attended services and gone to a singles party to meet someone, I could honestly say, “Yes.”
Ron was approaching 50 and wanted to get married. He was on the board of the Norfolk Jewish Community Center and volunteered to establish a singles program where he might meet someone who shared his interests—and he was determined to succeed.
We met at that first singles Shabbat evening in February and by coincidence saw each other again the following night at a ballet performance. He bid a hasty goodbye to his date (luckily, they’d come in separate cars) and took me out for coffee. He asked why I had moved and I told him it was due to my mid-life crisis. Bingo! I was eager and he was hooked.
We had dated for a few weeks when he threw a surprise 40th birthday party for me. It was most definitely a surprise since I didn’t know anyone he had invited!
Then, when I announced that I’d be traveling to my hometown, Beaufort, South Carolina, for my nephew’s bar mitzvah. Ron called the next day to say he’d be arriving via Eastern Airlines to join me, even though he was not invited. I knew he was serious when Eastern went bankrupt the next day and he had to buy another ticket.
The family bar mitzvah was fun although he didn’t understand the regional Lowcountry Geechie accents or the combination of lox and grits at the Sunday brunch. Family and friends nearly blinded us with camera flashes all weekend, because finally seeing Gerrie with a man was more interesting than a 13-year old’s coming of age.
We got engaged in May and married on September 3, 1989 at my home synagogue in Beaufort. My parents actually drove us to get our marriage license, clearly not taking any chances that Ron would get away. As an added benefit to meeting each other when we did, we went on our honeymoon using Ron’s AARP card.
It will be 31 years in a few months but it still seems like only weeks. Ron is my sweetheart and the most thoughtful and loving man. We make each other laugh every day. I know that it was beshert that we found one another.
Gerrie and Ron Sturman have had multiple careers; Ron in media, at Boston’s WCVB-TV and Norfolk’s public broadcasting stations and as community relations manager for a Washington, D.C. area newspaper. Now retired, he still plans Jewish events for their temple, Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia. Gerrie has taught English, written radio advertising copy and worked in hotel sales for over 20 years. She is currently a literary agent. Gerrie is a second-generation Beaufortonian. Ron is a New York native but he likes grits now.