9 Tales of Young Love and Old Memories

Nine residents of Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing share stories of love from the past and present.

BY Daniel Reynolds

August 29 2013 5:00 AM ET

Having first broken ground in 2006, Triangle Square, operated by Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing, is one of the nation's few affordable housing facilities specifically tailored to LGBT seniors. The Advocate visited the Los Angeles-based community in order to speak with some of its residents and ask them for tales of "first love." Here are stories both sweet and sad from the seniors we met.

Alice Herman, 77

Alice Herman, a former teacher, came out after falling for a coworker at the school where she worked in her native New York. She was 22 and married at the time.

"I left my husband to be with her, and then she left to go get married to a guy," she recounts, but adds their breakup was a blessing in disguise. "The best thing in the world was that she broke up with me, because a year later I met the person I would spend the next 45 years with."

That person, Sylvia, "a Lucille Ball redhead," says Herman, initially refused to meet her for a blind date. (The date was being facilitated by a mutual friend who cautioned that they they might not like one another because they were "completely different people.") Regardless, Herman called Sylvia three times before the latter finally relented and agreed to meet her.

"I said, 'It's OK if you meet me and you don't like me, but I can't understand how you don't like me when you don't know me,'" Herman remembers telling Sylvia. "She liked that," Herman adds.

When Herman arrived to meet Sylvia at her apartment, the 4 foot 11 "and a half" redhead ran into her life, and it was "love at first look."

"We were night and day for the next 45 years," says Herman, whose partner died four years ago. "Two completely different people. She was everything I’m not. She was gregarious. She knew Greenwich Village like the back of her hand. I was the 42nd Street librarian. ... I wanted to be in bed at 10 o’clock at night, and she was just ready to go out at 10 o’clock at night. But everything that she was opened a world to me that I never would have known.

"She used to say that I made all her dreams come true. I would tell her she made my life worth living."

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