A New York couple married six decades were reunited this week for the first time since the start of the pandemic nearly one year ago, just ahead of Valentine's Day.
Harriet and Jerry Shenkman spent time in person together on Wednesday at The Bristal Assisted Living facility in White Plains, where Jerry is living as he battles Alzheimer's, WABC reported.
"It's been quite an experience, and not something I'd ever imagine in my lifetime," Harriet told the outlet of living through the pandemic without her husband by her side.
Jerry, 80, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's three years ago, though his wife of 58 years said he has not forgotten her.
Though the pandemic has kept them apart over the last 11 months, Harriet visited her husband each day, standing outside his window to say hello from the comfort of a heated patio the Bristal arranged just for her.
"Seeing him and how he lights up, and how happy he is when he sees her. And to see what happens today, he can physically be closer to her, we are excited about that," Bristal Regional Director Winsome Brent told WABC.
During their sweet reunion this week, Jerry gave Harriet a bouquet of flowers as they sat several feet apart with a table full of photographs between them, according to video broadcast by CW affiliate WPIX.
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The couple — who have three children and two granddaughters — reportedly first met on a double blind date at the Manhattan jazz club Half Note.
Harriet told WABC she was initially not sold on Jerry, as he paid more attention to the music than to her, and even asked her friend why she'd even bothered setting them up.
But they fell in love when Harriet gave him a second chance, and married in 1963, living for a while in North Carolina for school (law for him and graduate for her) before moving back to New York.
"My husband is a very kind, lovely person. So I give a lot of credit to him. Just a good person, and I was very lucky," Harriet, a longtime CUNY professor, told WCBS.
Their reunion was initially scheduled for Valentine's Day on Sunday, but was reportedly bumped up so that Harriet had the day free to get her COVID vaccine.
"Love is strong and it endures," Bent told WCBS.