A Love Fueled by Happiness

Rheta & Bernard “Bunny” Rosen

First Date: June 1958, dinner and mini-golf

Wedding Date: June 14, 1959

Venue: Rogers Avenue Shul and bride’s parents’ house

Residence: Owings Mills

Favorite Activity: Spending time together and with family

Bernard “Bunny” Rosen’s friend Mel told him: “I have somebody for you to meet. She’s big-boned, but she’s really nice.”

Despite Mel’s questionable salesmanship skills, Bunny agreed to the blind date. So did “big-boned” Rheta Kaufman, a petite, energetic woman who laughs about their mutual friend’s description.

The pair clicked right away, and the West Baltimore natives have been married 57 years, with two daughters, Amy and Donna, and two grandchildren.

A lot has changed in Baltimore in 57 years. Rheta remembers her old neighborhood, Forest Park, where everybody gathered outside their rowhouses, nobody ever drove to synagogue on high holidays and “you could take the streetcar to go dancing on Cathedral Street, and take the bus back, without your mother having to worry about you.”

But in his relationship with Rheta, Bunny says: “Nothing has changed. I love her just as much as I did the first time I met her.”

They could have met at Forest Park High School, where they had one overlapping year, but they somehow didn’t. “I actually dated five or six girls from Rheta’s class,” Bunny says. “But I never met her.” And even though Bunny was captain of the baseball team, Rheta couldn’t recall meeting Bunny in high school either.

Bunny confirms he “knew right away” that he’d marry Rheta after he finally met her, even though she was also dating a mutual friend at the time of their blind date. (“I’m still friends with that guy,” Bunny says. Rheta says: “They walk together at the JCC.”) Rheta had a good feeling from the beginning too. “You make a choice, and you know the choice is right. … He was so nice, and caring. You could tell: He was a good guy.” They married in June, almost exactly a year after their first date. Rheta was 21 years old; Bunny was 24.

Rheta and Bunny agree about the best part of marriage: “Togetherness,” says Rheta. Bunny concurs: “Companionship. … When I was sick, she was always there for me, always near me. We’re never apart. We’ve never been apart.”

Do they ever fight? “No,” says Bunny. “Well, we have spats,” he hedges. “But never fights.” Rheta says: “It’s like your mother always tells you: Never go to bed angry.” It also helps, she says, that “we’re just happy to be with each other.”

Erica Rimlinger is a local freelance writer. For “Beshert,” call 410-902-2305 or email erica@ericarimlinger.com.

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