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Docents at Largo Cultural Center celebrating 65th wedding anniversary

Evelyn and George Wolf, who work as docents weekly at the Largo Cultural Center, celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary Thursday.

PIPER CASTILLO | Times

Evelyn and George Wolf, who work as docents weekly at the Largo Cultural Center, celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary Thursday.

When George Wolf and Evelyn Bernstein fell in love, he was on leave from the Army, and she had just moved to Brooklyn from Georgia.

"I suppose it was love at first sight. I mean, I've been with her ever since,'' joked George, 93.

It was Armistice Day, he recalled. "We met Nov. 11, 1945.''

They went dancing at a nightclub with two other couples. "We both have always loved to dance,'' said Evelyn, 87.

They were engaged by January and married in June. "Just as soon as George had his official discharge papers — June 2, 1946,'' Evelyn said.

On Thursday, George and Evelyn Wolf will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. If you ask the happy couple what the secret is to a successful marriage, their answer is simple. "Just be together.''

And that's how you will find them on most Tuesday afternoons at the Largo Cultural Center, where they've served as docents for 15 years.

For their weekly shift they don vests and greet the public in the lobby. They offer directions to the playground as well as the different buildings along Central Park Drive. They hand out schedules and brochures for upcoming shows at Eight O'Clock Theatre.

"A lot of our job is helping people who are lost,'' Evelyn said.

"Half of the people are looking for the library across the street,'' George interjected.

Evelyn and George frequently add on to each other's sentences.

"After this long, I'd say we probably start each other's sentences, too,'' she joked.

• • •

Before they retired to Florida, they lived life as consummate New Yorkers.

"We lived for 46 years in the same home in Brooklyn, and we took the train to the city every chance we got,'' Evelyn said.

"Whatever you want to do, you can do it in New York,'' George added.

Their wedding was held in the rabbi's study at Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue and 65th Street in Manhattan, with their immediate family by their side. George wore a dark blue suit. Evelyn also wore blue. "It was silk. A lot of women were married that way in those days, simply. There was no money for big weddings.''

Fast-forward through the years. On George's salary as a federal court reporter, they raised two sons. There's Alan, a salesman in Houston. There's Joel, an accountant in New York who, along with his wife, Patricia, have the Wolfs' granddaughter, Caroline, 17.

In 1979, they bought a condo in Imperial Point, but it wasn't until 1992 that the couple moved once and for all to Largo.

"At first, you couldn't even call us snowbirds. We were more like snowflakes only coming down for a week at a time,'' Evelyn said.

But in 1992, they relocated permanently. "And I don't miss the snow,'' George said.

• • •

Over the years, they saw countless shows on Broadway — Fiddler on the Roof, Chicago and A Few Good Men.

"George would get tickets by doing things like going down to Duffy Square and getting two-fers,'' Evelyn said.

And in Brooklyn, the couple did their share of cutting the rug. "Ballroom, foxtrot, cha-cha,'' George said.

"In the '70s, we even danced at the Phillips Dance Studio. You remember it from Saturday Night Fever? We took disco lessons there,'' Evelyn said.

If there were one thing Evelyn wishes she could bring down from New York to Largo, it would be the excitement of Manhattan.

"But, of course, there's no way to completely duplicate that feeling anywhere else,'' she said.

But the Largo Cultural Center, from the beginning, has helped quench the couple's thirst for live theater.

"The first show we saw here was Camelot,'' Evelyn recalled. "Now, we're really looking forward to Funny Girl.''

"We like the musicals,'' George said. "And we've been able to see them all here.''

When she remembers the early days of the Largo Cultural Center, Evelyn is amazed at how far it has come. "It was primitive in the beginning, but now, Eight O'Clock Theatre has people who come from Tampa, St. Petersburg, it just amazes me the distance they come,'' she said.

Although the winter season brings an added energy, a treat during the summer is the children's camps, Evelyn said. "It's a real joy to see how the kids learn so much about the stage in just three weeks. It's almost like a miracle.''

And, although some Florida theater-goers, with their shorts and sandals, are a little too casual compared to what he's used to, George believes his fellow New Yorkers would appreciate the Cultural Center's less-expensive offerings.

"It costs you $100 a ticket to go to a show in New York City these days, and the economy has been so hard on people,'' he said.

"But when you come to the theater here, it's still affordable. You don't even have to pay for parking. You can't get that in New York.''

Piper Castillo is reachable at pcastillo@sptimes.com.

Docents at Largo Cultural Center celebrating 65th wedding anniversary 05/31/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 4:45pm]
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