Sid and Doris Weingus have been married for 65 years, but to see them interact with each other, one would think they were newlyweds. They still flirt, they smile at each other often and they seem to truly enjoy each other's company. In many ways, it's almost as if time has stood still for the Cranford couple.
Without a doubt, however, the world around them has changed dramatically since they said their "I do's" in 1947. The year they were married, a loaf of bread cost 13 cents; a gallon of gas, 15 cents, a postage stamp was 3 cents and a new home could be purchased for about $6,600. But there is one thing that - for Sid and Doris, anyway - has remained the same. Sixty-five years ago the going rate for a luxurious night at the famed Waldorf Astoria in New York - where the couple spent their wedding night - was just $14.70, including sales tax. That's the same rate they paid to stay at the hotel last month when they celebrated their wedding anniversary.
While guests today drop hundreds of dollars a night to stay at the lush, Park Avenue hotel, Sid and Doris were able to stay there for the same price they paid on June 15, 1947, thanks to the Waldorf's "honeymoon rate" program, which gives couples celebrating significant anniversaries an opportunity to spend the night at the hotel and pay the same price they did when they were married, provided they have an original receipt.
The Cranford couple learned about the special rate after seeing a story about another couple who stayed at the Waldorf for the same price they paid when they were married 60 years ago. The Weingus' daughter, Linda Rosen, contacted the hotel and the staff agreed to turn back the clock and charge them the same fee they paid in 1947.
Following their wedding reception at Chateau D'Or in Brooklyn, Sid and Doris took a cab from the reception to the Waldorf, where they checked into the hotel at 3 a.m., following a long day of celebrating with family and friends.
"It was a class hotel," the 90-year-old Sid recalls, adding that their original room at the Waldorf was somewhat small and more simply decorated than the lavish accomodations they enjoyed on their 65th anniversary.
The couple remembers being treated like royalty when they arrived - both times.
"When we checked in, the first thing they said to us was, 'we've been waiting for you.' It was like we were the only people there," Sid added.
The wedding itself was a celebration the couple will never forget. Looking through photo albums, Doris smiled as she pointed to pictures of the groomsmen in tops hats and tails and the bridesmaids in long, flowing gowns. Doris - a Woodhaven, Queens native whose father owned a curtain store and Sid - a Brooklyn boy who served in the Army during World War II - even went so far as to invite former President Harry Truman and his wife to their wedding. The president and first lady didn't attend the affair, but sent a hand-written letter to the couple thanking them for the invitation.
"People are still talking about our wedding," said Doris, who, at 84 years old, still dresses to the nines each day, right down to her stylish shoes and accessories.
During the lavish wedding, Sid's sister, Molly Knight, an opera singer, performed the song "My Hero." Guests dined on a menu featuring stuffed squab, dill pickles, olives, salad, soup, whitefish and dessert.
Doris and Sid met just after World War II ended. Sid was one of the first troops to come home.
"There were no fellas to date at the time, because they were all still overseas," said Doris, a former real estate agent for Weichert.
So the "fancy girl from Queens," in an effort to mingle and meet some "fellas," went to a dance at the YMCA in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sid, who had been discharged from the Army in November of 1945, just happened to be there.
"I got the pick of the litter," Sid exclaimed with a mischievous smile, as he glanced at his bride of 65 years.
The feeling is apparently mutual. Turning around to a shelf where several framed, family photographs are displayed, Doris picks up a photo of Sid, circa 1945, dressed in his Army uniform.
"That's what I fell in love with," she says, beaming at the picture.
About 15 years after they were married, the couple moved to New Jersey. They purchased a home on Lenhome Drive, which their daughter and son-in-law now own. Almost three years ago, Sid and Doris moved to a senior citizen apartment building on Lincoln Avenue. They now spend their time participating in activities in the senior community and enjoying their four grandchildren and great-grandson - and one more great-grandchild on the way. The close-knit family even vacations together whenever possible.
As they get ready to leave their apartment and watch a movie with other residents in their building, Sid and Doris look around their home and smile at each other. A lot has changed, but for the Cranford couple, the things that matter most have stayed exactly the same.