BROOKLYN BUZZ: Ridge couples are Valentines for keeps

Almost every day for the past 70 years, Martin Spencer haswritten a letter to his girlfriend, fiancé and, now, wife Ruth,letting her know what he’s been up to, that he took a few dollarsfrom the kitchen counter, that he hopes she has a good day, thathe’ll call her on his way home and, most of all, that he lovesher.

It’s the simple things that give her a boost and so give me aboost, so the day starts on the right foot, said Spencer, 91, whogrew up playing baseball and basketball in Bensonhurst.

On February 13, Spencer and his teammate-for-life Ruth, 90, willattend the annual Brooklyn Sweethearts Dance, hosted for the lastdecade by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and wifeJamie, for local couples who have been married 50 years ormore.

The Spencers will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary onOctober 25, having married in 1942 after Martin graduated collegeand got a job as a chemical engineer making $28 a week.

Two sons and eight grandchildren later, Ruth and Martin remainhappily ensconced in Bay Ridge. Ruth, a Midwood native, occupiesher time keeping in touch with family and friends on her new iPad,while Martin continues to commute to his job in Manhattan. Bothlove to travel the world and stay active in the community, whetherthat means planting trees at Dyker Beach Golf Course, tutoringkids, founding a branch of the Gil Hodges Little League or playinggolf at the Shore View Golf Club.

Also attending the upcoming Sweethearts Dance will be Vinnie andMary Bocchino, Ridge community leaders who celebrated their 50thwedding anniversary last September 23.

I knew a guy who played baseball. I went along and he wasthere, recalled Mary, a trustee for the Kassenbrock BrothersMemorial Scholarship Fund and hospitality co-chair with herhusband, of the Bay Ridge Community Council, of how they met in1957.

I had just gotten permission to drive my father’s 1950 Pontiac,so we would go to drive-in movies, said Vinnie, who asked Mary togo steady a few months later, then asked her to marry him in1960.

On what has kept their relationship going strong all this time,Mary noted, He’s romantic. He gives me a card every year on theanniversary of our first date. He’s very thoughtful. [Also,] youhave to talk to each other, and listen.

I never dreamed we’d reach 50 years, but now that our sons aremarried, it’s like our honeymoon, said Vinnie, noting that theynow get to travel. Now, we just wish ourselves good health and agood life, enjoying our company. She’s my right arm.

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