Ben and Bernice Finn at StoryCorps in New York City. When they met, Bernice was a bookkeeper and Ben had been back from World War II for eight months.
Ben and Bernice Finn at StoryCorps in New York City. When they met, Bernice was a bookkeeper and Ben had been back from World War II for eight months. StoryCorps
They've been together for over a half-century — but Ben and Bernice Finn met on a blind date. It was eight months after the end of World War II, and Ben had recently returned home to Brooklyn, N.Y., after serving in the Army.
"My two best friends were Hank and Eddie," Ben said. And unlike Ben, they both had girlfriends. So, the two asked Ben if he'd like to go out with them — and a blind date.
"In those days, you wore a suit and a tie when you went on a date," Ben said.
"I didn't have a suit to my name. So, I bought a suit to match the tie that I had."
That sparked a memory from Bernice: "Did it have apples on it?"
"It had apples on it, yes."
"I was very nervous," Ben said. "She was so pretty."
"I remember that day very well," Bernice said. "And no, you weren't pretty."
But when the couples all went out that night, there was a chill in the air.
"And I took your arm," Bernice said.
"I was thrilled by that," Ben said.
"And the reason I took your arm is, you seemed nervous. And I wanted to make you more comfortable."
The group went to a coffee shop, where they all started ordering hamburgers and drinks — everyone, that is, except for Ben. He didn't order anything.
"And I say to myself, 'Oh my God, I bet he doesn't have any money,' " Bernice remembered.
"And there I am, starving," she said. "And I ordered black coffee. Because I was afraid my date didn't have any money. So, you owe me a hamburger," she told Ben.
"I have no memory of that," Ben said. "Maybe it was I didn't have any money. Maybe I was just cheap. I don't know."
"Okay," Bernice said. "I'll buy that second explanation."
The couple dated for two years before getting married. Ben eventually got a master's degree in education and taught elementary school. The Finns have two children, Gail and Steven, and three grandchildren.
Their 60th wedding anniversary will be this Christmas, Dec. 25.
Produced for Morning Edition by Nadia Reiman. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.