StoryCorps at SHC: Betty Cohen & TC Cowles

I think he was phenomenal. I think he is phenomenal.

Betty Cohen (BC): We met in a youth orchestra that met every Sunday and played all day from morning until late afternoon. Albert, my husband, sat in the first violins and I was tucked in the seconds and there would be one major break in intermission and we would go for walks. And I always say, thank God for intermissions, because that's how I met him. And I remember when he was trying to ask me out for our first date, he was having a very difficult time of it, so I invited him to come to my parents' place to play, which he did. And we started out playing duets. It was a disaster. He very quickly put his violin down, packed it, came to me, took mine out, put it down, and said, let's go out. But instead of being insulted, I thought to myself, this is an honest person. And I greatly respect honesty. It was a huge plus for him. And we never played duets once again. I learned my lesson. I was not of his caliber, so be it.

TC Cowles (TC): Did you know he was the one when you first met him?

BC: I was very much taken by him. So much so that we found out that we had the same violin teacher. And I found out when his private violin lesson occurred, I had mine changed so that I could follow his and smile at him sweetly as he walked out and I walked in. I did not admit that to him until many, many years later. Now I don't think he would remember.

TC: Tell me what's been going on with him current day.

BC: Well, he has Parkinson's disease. Albert was very active both intellectually and physically. And now he's sort of on a rather steep decline lately. Particularly cognition and memories, which I find very painful. I think the thing that gets me through is going to the dance classes. I live for Wednesday afternoons, Argentinian Tango set up for Parkinson's. And in the class it's a small class, we have people with early stage Parkinson's or spouses. And I'm so grateful that spouses can take these classes because sometimes when I go in, I feel, how am I going to see another day through? I go in feeling down and I come out on a high and it keeps me going. I come out saying to myself, I can do it. I can do it. I can help him. I can be by his side. I can be a support. I can do it. I can do it. And I'll never forget all that he gave of himself. And I think he was phenomenal. I think he is phenomenal and I'm very proud about it. I really am.

Sound Editor: Carolina Correa

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