From blind dates to being set up by mutual friends, Longboat Key couples tell us how they met and how they've succeeded in their relationships.
Some met in high school, others met in Sarasota, some find separate bathrooms are the key to success.
Each relationship is different, so five Longboat Key couples share what makes their relationships work in honor of Valentine’s Day.
Helen and Len Glaser
Helen and Len Glaser met on March 10, 1958, and were married on Oct. 12 that same year.
The two were set up by a mutual friend and went to see “Windjammer” at Radio City Music Hall, followed by dessert at Newark Airport for their first date.
“It was the most boring evening ever, but I thought he was so adorable,” Helen Glaser said.
The couple follows a mantra of “if you want to keep young, keep going.”
The Glasers find a shared passion in giving back to their communities. From the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and Compeer to the Sarasota Orchestra and the Jewish National Fund, the couple has found the area gives them the chance to be as busy as they please while giving back to organizations they care about.
Their secret to success is simple.
“Him saying ‘Yes, dear’ from day one,” Helen Glaser jokes.
In all seriousness, they have found working at their relationship and listening to each other to be important.
The Glasers split their time between Longboat and New Jersey. While on a cruise 18 years ago, they became friends with another couple who later invited them to visit Longboat Key.
“The culture is wonderful,” Helen Glaser said. “We’ve made wonderful friends down here.”
Pat and Ed Zunz
Valentine’s Day doesn’t really constitute a date night for Pat and Ed Zunz. It’s a family affair.
“Valentine’s Day was my father’s birthday, so all my life growing up, Valentine’s Day was a birthday celebration, and then when Ed and I got married, even before we had children, we always celebrated my father’s birthday,” Pat Zunz said. “When the kids came along, Valentine’s Day was grandpa’s birthday, and to this day, we still celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family.”
They aren’t sure there is one secret to their success. Common interests, such as art, traveling and community involvement keep their conversations lively. Pat Zunz is a former town commissioner and previously served on the Planning and Zoning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment. Ed Zunz is the District 5 commissioner and vice mayor.
The two were introduced by a mutual friend. They were engaged in August 1961 and married that November.
“We really work together on so many things,” Ed Zunz said. “We’ve been both very much involved in our communities all the time, so that’s something we had in common besides work.”
Cash and Snookie Register
Snookie Register’s cousin married Cash Register’s best friend.
Then, Snookie and Cash Register were blind dates at a party after Cash’s return from the war in Korea.
“He partied too much,” Snookie Register said. “But, of course, he was so glad to be home from the service, so when he apologized I accepted.”
The two will be married 58 years in November.
Today, Cash Register is the quieter of the two, Snookie Register said. That’s one of their secrets to success: they’re opposites.
“I like to be around people all the time and kids, and Cash is more … he keeps me kind of calmed down sometimes,” Snookie Register said.
The Registers started visiting Longboat Key 30 years ago and became residents two years later. Cash enjoys spending time in the garden. Snookie enjoys entertaining, especially at her annual luncheon.
“That’s one thing we do have in common,” Snookie Register said. “We both want to be doing something at all times.”
Despite their somewhat contrasting personalities, the two pledged to help each other reach their life goals.
A few years ago, the Registers were driving from Longboat Key to their home in North Dakota and stopped at a Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
“We both came out with flying colors,” Cash Register said. “[I said] ‘OK, here’s the deal. I want you to make out your bucket list. As long as we’re healthy, if we can afford it, let’s try and do it.’”
Snookie’s list was to go to professional tennis’ four grand slam tournaments in Australia, France, England and New York, which she has completed. Cash’s list was composed of visiting almost 20 different countries. Snookie isn’t much of a traveler, but their four children are, for which Cash is thankful.
Larry Greenspon and Mary Gratehouse
Five years ago, Mary Gratehouse was having a party at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Club on Lido Key for the Fourth of July.
A friend of a friend told her she should meet her best friend, and Gratehouse agreed, thinking nothing would come of it.
A day and a half later, she was having dinner with Larry Greenspon at The Shore restaurant.
Coincidentally, they ran into five of Gratehouse’s friends on their date. To this day, Greenspon is convinced Gratehouse told her friends to spy on them.
Now, the two are engaged, but wedding plans aren’t being rushed.
“[We’re] just enjoying life,” Gratehouse said.
Their life is one that revolves around community service and tennis, especially for Greenspon.
“If he ever passes away, I’m certain it’ll be on the tennis court,” Gratehouse said.
Whether it be the Israel Tennis Centers or Easter Seals, both find ways to give back, which they say helps their relationship. Well, that and some other things.
“Separate bathrooms are the key to a good relationship,” Gratehouse said.
Gratehouse, who was previously married, said Greenspon offsets her loudness.
The two were engaged in 2013 in Israel. Both are permanent residents of Longboat Key but had ties to the area beforehand. One of Gratehouse’s sons attended IMG Academy, so she had a second home nearby. Greenspon has visited Longboat since the 1970s.
Ed and Ann Marie Krepela
As a sophomore in high school, Ed Krepela knew he wanted to ask out the freshman cheerleader.
“After a basketball game, he asked me to go to the local soda place for a Coke, but first he had to talk to my father,” Ann Marie Krepela said.
Ann Marie’s father was a stern-looking man, especially to young men, Ed Krepela said.
But, he gathered up the courage and succeeded in his mission, one an older senior classmate couldn’t find the courage to do.
Ed and Ann Marie Krepela were engaged when he was 19 and she was 18. For their Valentine’s Day, Ed Krepela gave Ann Marie a mink coat, of sorts.
“It would have been a little tight on a Barbie,” Ed Krepela jokes.
Krepela’s father was a furrier and showed Ed Krepela how to make patterns out of scraps, thus resulting in a tiny mink coat. He notes that he also gave her candy for that Valentine’s Day.
Ed Krepela was still in the Army when they were married, so Ann Marie and their oldest child stayed with her parents until Ed returned home.
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