L.A. grandparents married for 73 years make waves on the Web

 

 

"Barbara and Harry Cooper" "The OGs" "Cutie and PopPop"

 

Barbara "Cutie" Cooper and her husband, Harry "PopPop" Cooper. Photo courtesy of the Cooper family

Barbara and Harry Cooper have been happily married for 73 years.

Both in their 90s, they are an unlikely pair of Internet celebrities who are the stars of their own Web site  – www.the-ogs.com, which has drawn the attention of the Los Angeles Times, NBC’s Today Show and a fan base of more than 6,000 on Facebook.

The Web site, which is short for “original grandparents,” launched about two years ago with the help of two of the Coopers’ seven grandchildren – Kim and Chinta Cooper, who are half-sisters with a 21-year age gap between them.

Barbara Cooper, 93, who goes by the nickname “Cutie” on the website, is chattier than her husband, who is known as “PopPop,” and is five years her senior.

She does the talking for both of them for this interview because he wasn’t feeling up to participating.

“I’m more articulate than he is and he was never a great talker,” Barbara Cooper said in a telephone interview from her granddaughters’ Los Angeles home. “He’s not a storyteller.”

That’s never bothered her, though, because it is his character, love and compassion that she cherishes.

They met on a tennis court in Los Angeles in 1937 and, five months after they started dating, they got married on Sept. 18, 1937.

She knew his sister and the two were introduced.

“He was friendly, polite, and he was not a ‘Mr. Know-It-All,’ which makes me happy,” Barbara Cooper said.

They were both Jewish – he the middle of three children from Philadelphia, she the Egyptian-born oldest of three siblings.

“He was a tennis bum when I met him. He would rather play tennis than work,” she said.

Although she intended to play tennis the afternoon they met, they instead got busy talking and acquainted with one another.

“I was such a tennis player that I wore high heels and red shorts,” she recalled. “He was much better than me at tennis.”

Over the years, they’ve stayed together longer than many people even live because they’ve always gotten along.

“He is a very nice and gentle man and he is not a critical person, which helps in all relationships,” Barbara Cooper said. “We have a nice marriage because we love each other and, I guess, the word is respect.”

"Harry and Barbara Cooper" "The OGs"

Harry Cooper and Barbara Cooper on their wedding day, Sept. 18, 1937. Photo courtesy of the Cooper family

During World War II, he worked in ship construction.

She was busy raising their children for much of their childhood, but after a number of years they opened a shoe store, The Beverly Bootery, in Los Angeles, at Beverly Boulevard and Fuller Avenue, which they operated for about 30 years.

Their marriage was fun most off the time, although she said she is sure they were annoyed at each other from time to time.

“If we argue, I don’t remember that it carries over to the next morning,” she said.

They had two children, both of whom they have outlived, and seven grandchildren.

“We’re not the perfect couple,” Barbara Cooper said. “But he lets me do whatever I want to and I like it that way.”

They shared the same bed as recently as last year, when he broke his hip. Since then, he has lived in a skilled nursing facility and she has lived on her own in the same retirement community, Hollenbeck Palms, in Los Angeles.

But they still spend lots of time together, often cuddling with each other.

Barbara Cooper said it’s fairly simple to keep a marriage strong year after year, decade after decade.

“If you love each other, that’s all,” she said. “Don’t rehash anything that makes you unhappy. Don’t look back at what has not been. Be happy today. That’s all I can tell you. And treasure each day.”

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