Web site encourages infidelity, builds business around extra-marital affairs

It’s easier than ever these days for husbands or wives with wandering eyes to cheat on their spouses, thanks to a Toronto-based Web site, AshleyMadison.com, which has been around since 2002 and claims 7.45 million members.

Its shameless motto: Life is short. Have an affair.

AshleyMadison has built its popularity in part through an effective media campaign, as well as through high profile advertising, including TV ads during the Super Bowl.

I am trying to line up an interview with the CEO of AshleyMadison, Noel Biderman, who is himself reportedly married. Stay tuned.

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Have your say – An instant poll on what matters most in relationships

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A tale of two marriages: Widowed after 51 years, Sam Snipes tied knot for second time at 85

Listen to Sam Snipes: 

Listen to Marion Snipes:

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When it comes to marriage, Sam Snipes is a bit of a thoroughbred.

Snipes, a 91-year-old Quaker who all his life has lived on the family farm in Morrisville, Pa., where he grew up, was happily married to his first wife, Barbara Snipes, for 51 years before she died of cancer in his arms while in hospice care in June 2001.

He grieved for her but recognized that life had to go on. And it did, with the support and help of his family, friends and community.

Four years later, at age 85, Sam Snipes married again. His second wife, Marion Snipes, had been the best of friends with his late wife, Barbara.

Sam Snipes has been active all his life and he still shows up at his law office every day, primarily doing estate law these days on a part-time basis.

Although he is a great-grandfather of three, he still starts off most mornings with a horseback ride and is a prominent leader in the Quaker community of the Philadelphia region.

He was 85 the last time he went downhill skiing, 82 the last time he went figure skating and 75 the last time he went jogging.

He is a graduate of Haverford College, where he and his son Jonathan Snipes serve on the governing corporation, and Temple University Law School.

With the blessing of Sam and Barbara’s children, Sam tied the knot with Marion five years ago. It was her second marriage also.

Her first husband, Mike Smith, to whom she had been married for 35 years (17 of which they spent separated), died in 2002. In the last years of Smith’s life, they got back together but her role was essentially to be his caregiver.

Marion, who got her bachelor’s degree in social work from Temple University, is a retired geriatric social worker.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I rent an apartment at the Snipes Farm in Morrisville.

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A small world of instant love and a touch of genius

Here are some interesting discoveries I’ve made while putting together this blog for the past month or so.

One, it’s a small world full of peculiar coincidences.

Two, some people really don’t need any time to get to know each other before concluding that they are meant for each other.

Three, there is a high school in the United States that is a virtual genius factory.

It’s a small world

Most recently, while interviewing the parents-in-law of my good friend, Beth Fand Incollingo, and her husband, Jim Incollingo, we got to talking about where I live, Morrisville, Pa.

When they heard me mention Morrisville, they said that their oldest granddaughter, Stephanie Covaleski, just recently moved onto a farm in Morrisville with her boyfriend.

Well, knowing that there aren’t many farms in Morrisville, and the fact that a young couple just moved into an apartment on the farm where I live, Snipes, I put two and two together and concluded that their granddaughter and I are almost certainly neighbors.

Sure enough, when I introduced myself to my new neighbors the other night and told Stephanie of my interview with her grandparents — and my friendship with her Uncle Jim and Aunt Beth — she was as perplexed and amazed as any of us.

What a small world.

Love really at first sight

There is a couple in West Windsor, N.J., who have been married for 61 years. They celebrated their most recent anniversary on Sept. 20.

Unfortunately, the wife was uneasy about having their names and stories on the Internet, so they backed out of participating in this project after she realized this was going to be published online.

Still, there was something remarkable about their story that’s worth telling even without their names and a more complete look at their marriage.

They got engaged just a couple hours after first meeting one night in New York City. And neither has regretted that decision one second since.

She said she has one bit of wisdom for young people contemplating marriage.

“Don’t marry anyone who wants to change you and don’t marry anyone you think you’re going to change because, over time, you each change in ways you may not realize,” she said.

Genius factory

Bronx High School of Science in New York City is a school of remarkable pedigree.

It isn’t a school in which I would have taken any particular interest, except for the fact that Edith Marlin, one of the people I interviewed recently for this blog, had told me that she used to teach there.

Well, as it turns out, Bronx High School of Science claims seven Nobel Prize-winning physicists among its alumni, more than any other high school in the United States, according to The New York Times.

I wouldn’t have read The New York Times piece about the high school’s Nobel connection if not for my interview with Edith Marlin. And it’s a public high school to boot.

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Sicklerville, N.J., couple keep marriage together Seinfeld-style for 53-plus years

Listen to Shirley and Bob Incollingo on their marriage

Shirley and Bob Incollingo met in the summer of 1955 while they were both working for General Motors Acceptance Corporation.

She was 18, the youngest of five children born to a Catholic family of Irish-English descent. He was 22, the middle of five Italian-American children, also Catholic.

They started dating soon after and got married in February 1957 at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Camden, N.J. They raised five children, including Jim Incollingo, a friend of mine married to my former colleague, Beth Fand Incollingo, and have 15 grandchildren.

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They live in Sicklerville, N.J., with their 12-year-old dog, Beau, and many joyful memories. They like to joke around with each other, rarely missing an opportunity at good-natured ribbing.

During our interview, each of them shed some tears and chuckles as they looked back on their marriage, which will mark its 54th anniversary on Feb. 9, 2011.

Bob Incollingo, who received his MBA from Washington University in St. Louis and retired from the finance industry 12 years ago, worked for numerous firms, including ITT Financial as a vice president.

Shirley Incollingo was a stay-at-home mom and grandmother much of her life.

Their children tell them that the way they shout at each other from time to time and make up with laughter reminds them of George Costanza’s parents on “Seinfeld.”

Their relationship hasn’t been perfect, but laughter and doting on one another have kept them together through the good times and the more difficult moments, they said.

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Love not quite at first sight: Old Bridge, N.J., couple together for almost 52 years

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It’s a good thing for Myra and Stanley Ostroff that first impressions don’t always stick.

Although they are approaching their 52nd wedding anniversary on Dec. 14, they couldn’t stand each other when they first met in the summer of 1958.

It mostly had to do with her initial opinion of him – he was a wise guy who liked to make offhanded remarks, and that just didn’t sit well with her.

They met at a singles social on a Pennsylvania farm where she was doing fundraising for cystic fibrosis and he was out with a buddy looking to meet young women and have a good time.

As luck had it, his friend became interested in one of her friends at the event and asked that Stanley Ostroff drive them home.

Myra came along for the ride too, sitting in the front with Stanley while the other couple sat in the back.

During that ride, Myra and Stanley warmed to each other, quickly getting past their earlier negative initial impressions.

“We just clicked,” he said. “It just seemed right.”

He invited her out on a date for the July 4th weekend, which they spent together – but sleeping in separate lodgings in Atlantic City, N.J. – and their romance blossomed in the ensuing weeks.

They got engaged the following month and married by the end of that year in a synagogue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, the city where they both grew up.

“I was very comfortable with him,” said Myra Ostroff, 77. “He was attentive and caring.”

He, too, liked the easy manner in which they got along.

“We were comfortable,” he said. “She was a nice lady. She was bright, interesting and kind of pretty.”

It didn’t much matter that he was a dancer and she wasn’t or that she has never been a good singer.

“Other than that, she does everything extremely well,” he said.

He boasts about her cooking, and especially her baking, which is so fabulous that people who know of it practically fight to get a taste, he said.

Money is no object

They joke that each thought the other came from money when they first got together.

“I thought her father had money,” Stanley Ostroff quipped. Actually, her father spent 16 years as a Philadelphia police officer before moving on to a series of other unrelated jobs.

“I thought you had money,” she fired back teasingly.

Regardless of wealth, they didn’t hesitate about getting engaged and married less than half a year after first meeting.

“My philosophy was, as I said to my friends, ‘When you go swimming, you don’t stick a toe at a time in the water. You jump in,’” said Stanley Ostroff, now 82.

For Stanley and Myra Ostroff, it didn’t matter that their interests didn’t always converge. Over time, she became very active in the Reform movement of Judaism, at one time serving as president of a regional board of the movement and as national vice chairwoman and member of the national board.

She also was president of the former synagogue they belonged to in Aberdeen, N.J., Temple Shalom. These days, they are members of the Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, N.J.

“Myra is my contribution to Reform Judaism,” her husband said.

They have a 9-year-old dog, Rocky, that’s his baby because he is the dog lover in the household.

If it were up to her, they wouldn’t have a dog at all, but marriage is at times about compromise. The compromise in this case is that they could have a dog, but not a big one.

Rocky is a small, white Coton de Tulear, that barks tough but tends to scurry away from strangers.

Myra Ostroff, who attended Temple University for one year and a medical technician training program at St. Luke’s Hospital in Philadelphia for 18 months, gave up her young career as a medical lab technician one year after they got married and moved to New York City. Her husband was already working as a women’s shoes manufacturer’s representative in the city.

They lived for six and a half years in New York before moving into a ranch house in a quiet neighborhood in Old Bridge, N.J., where they still live almost 45 years later.

She was a stay-at-home mom for their two sons, Michael Ostroff, who is now 49, and Charles Ostroff, 46.

Myra Ostroff and a dear friend, Addie Bogdonoff, ran their own craft store in Colts Neck, N.J., Crafty Women, for nine years in the 1970s, selling needlepoint canvasses, yarn and crewel work.

Stanley, an Army veteran of the Korean War who briefly attended the University of Pennsylvania, always helped with raising the boys and chores around the house.

She said she always appreciated him for that, especially since he was the breadwinner over the years, representing various shoe companies, including Nine West and Christian Dior, where he was a vice president for its shoe division.

He retired about six years ago and has been involved as a volunteer advocate for abused, neglected and foster children through the nonprofit children’s welfare organization CASA.

They are both avid readers and mystery fans. They enjoy going to restaurants and stage shows together, and spending time with their five grandchildren. She prefers dramas, while he is more inclined to see musicals, however.

A witch’s brew

He said he and others who know Myra well are convinced that she’s a witch who can cast spells on people – a good witch, of course.

For example, one winter when the two of them were traveling to Washington, D.C., and had stopped in Maryland, a car drove by them at high speed, splashing snow debris onto her. She gave them the evil eye and, surprise, surprise, two miles down the road they noticed that car stopped with a flat tire, Stanley Ostroff said.

They have had fights from time to time but nothing that ever lasted too long.

“We have a motto: You could go to bed mad but you wake up the next day and it’s all over,” he said. “You don’t carry it to the next day.”

He said he loves her because there’s not anything not to love.

“I really like everything about her,” he said. “I’m very comfortable with her.”

She said she loves him for his heart and his patience.

“He’s always been even-tempered, where sometimes I would fly off the handle,” Myra Ostroff said. “And he’s just caring, a good father, a good husband.”

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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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