The story of Judith Goldman and Mannie Corman proves that some people are meant to be together and age is just a number. When they met in 1999, they never would have guessed that they’d be celebrating Mannie’s 100th birthday as a couple, let alone doing anything more. This sweet love story will touch your heart.
Meeting Your Future Love
Judith Goldman, a special needs teacher at a Bronx high school, met Mannie Corman, a retired garment manufacturer, in 1999. At the time, she was getting married – for the second time – to Rabbi Phil Goldman, one of Mannie’s best friends.
“I liked Mannie instantly. He was clever, and he knew about the sewing industry, just like my father did,” she said. Through her late husband, the two become close friends.
United Through a Tragedy
When Judith’s husband died in December 2010, Mannie was injured and in rehab as a result of a car accident, so was unable to attend the funeral. When he returned home, he contacted Judith and asked to see her.
The pair went for dinner in Brooklyn once. Then twice. Then three times. Soon, it became a regular occurrence, although it never crossed the boundary of friendship. It was merely two people finding comfort in each other after the death of a loved one.
The Turn in the Parking Lot
A few months later, Judith decided to donate some belongings to her late husband’s synagogue, and Mannie accompanied her. This was the day their relationship changed forever.
“In the parking lot, he grabbed my hand, and it was like a bolt of lightning went through me. Then he kissed me. My whole body melted,” she said. “I couldn’t believe this was happening. It felt good. We held hands in the car and looked at each other.”
Loving Each Other Without Boundaries
After their relationship took a romantic turn, they saw each other on and off for the next year. Judith included Mannie in family holidays; Mannie invited Judith to temple functions. They even went on month-long jaunts to Florida together.
Their relationship was not without its struggles – aside from the 24-year age gap, they lived an hour apart and had their own families. But nothing was going to get in the way of this couple’s love, and in 2014, Mannie proposed.
A Proposal of Marriage
“We were sitting in my home having breakfast, and Mannie said, ‘It would be wonderful for you to marry me. But you’d have to live in Brooklyn,’” Judith recalls. “I couldn’t do that.”
“I have a life here. I babysit for my grandchildren. I have a lot of energy. Moving in with Mannie and leaving my home would be like cutting off part of my life. I told him, ‘I’ll change as a person, and you won’t want me. I’ll be very different.’”
Trying to Forge a Compromise
It wasn’t the answer Mannie was hoping for, but he accepted it nonetheless. Over the next year, he repeatedly announced in front of family and friends: “I want to marry her, but she won’t live in Brooklyn.”
The couple forged a compromise in 2015, however, when they brought home together in Florida. Soon after, Mannie gave Judith an engagement ring made of a diamond from her mother’s own engagement ring with two additional diamonds either side.
Happily Ever After Draws Closer
A final step toward happily ever after happened during Mannie’s 100th birthday party-planning process, which started in 2017. He suggested getting married a few months after the celebration, but Judith couldn’t face planning another big event so soon after.
Plus, there was still the issue of Judith’s freedom. “After talking it out,” she says, “He finally said we could live like we do now.” And so, it was decided that the couple’s wedding would be part of the birthday celebration.
Vintage 1918: Aged to Perfection
On the day of his 100th birthday brunch, Mannie wore a black shirt that read “Vintage 1918: Aged to perfection,” and a matching hat with the number “100” printed in white. There were more than 160 guests in total.
Everything was going perfectly. But strangely, as the guests were seated for brunch, neither Mr. Corman or his girlfriend were anywhere to be found. Could it be possible that they’d tired of the party already and left?
The Curtains Open and the Plan Is Revealed
Suddenly, a curtain opened to reveal a flower girl and a ring bearer. Mannie and Judith appeared behind them, now dressed in a black tuxedo and a white veil respectively, with “Young at Heart” playing in the background.
A few trusted family members that had been informed of the plan proudly appeared beside them, and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik began the ceremony. “I’ve known Mannie for more than 50 years, I never dreamed he would be having a wedding,” a friend said. “It’s fabulous. It’s an inspiration for us. It’s never too late.”
A Happy Ending at Last
It was a happy ending for the lovely couple. “When you go with a girl like Judy, you’re supposed to marry her. That’s the way it works,” Mannie says. “I’m good with the arrangement. I want her to be happy. I was ready to marry. So it can go on like this.”
Judith feels precisely the same way. “We’re at the stage of our relationship to make a stronger and deeper commitment,” she says. “I want to make his life the best for him.”