Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Baskin of Brooklyn. New York celebrated their seventy-fifth anniversary in 1949. Mr. Baskin was quite forceful, in his support of marriage, after all these years: “there is no question that there should not be any bachelors or old maids. After seventy-five years of marriage, I think I am qualified to recommend it.” Mrs. Baskin added that: “marriage should take place while the people are young. The earlier, the better. I was married at the age of 13. The companionship of marriage is what makes life worthwhile.” Both Mr. and Mrs. Baskin agreed that to be happy in wedded life: “you have to make the best of things, good and bad.” The Baskins were second cousins who were married in 1874 in their native village of Stolin, Russia. Mrs. Baskin came to the United States in 1908. Mr. Baskin remained in Stolin to dispose of property, then emigrated to America in 1909. Mr. Baskin was a mason in the east side of New York. At the age of 94 he still got up at six o’clock in the morning to attend religious services.

Mr. and Mrs. William Cook of Santa Rosa California give us some advice upon celebrating their 75th anniversary. Mrs. Cook suggests that wives “learn to cook a good meal and you’ll keep your husband.” Mr. Cook likewise had some advice. He urges husbands to “learn to eat the cooking and not complain and you’ll keep out of trouble.” We don’t hear from the Cooks after this year (1953), but trust that their cooking (and conflict avoidance) arrangements held up for at least a few more years. We also know of one couple from Hornell New York (Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cadogan) and one from New York City (A. H. and Maria Ames) who celebrated seventy-five years of marriage. Very few couples are heard from after this “watershed” seventy fifth anniversary. The attention given to this anniversary may encourage them to assume a lower profile in future years.

Beyond the seventy fifth year of marriage, we find Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Blumenthal of Atlantic City, New Jersey (formerly of Pomeroy, Ohio) who celebrated their seventy sixth anniversary in 1935. They were both born in Germany and identified the secret to long term relationships as “friendship and understanding and not taking life too seriously.” Like many of the couples we interviewed a sense of humor seems to have contributed to their longevity, along with some interpersonal skills. A letter from President Roosevelt capped off their day of celebration.


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About the Author

William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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