February 12, 2021
In 2019, Linda Morganstein and Ralph Fen created their happily ever after at the Reuben Cipin Healthy Living Community at Two Neptune Drive, with a Mother’s Day wedding. They hosted an intimate 100 person celebration there with their families and their fellow residents. “The people here are family so it was a beautiful wedding.”
Linda’s son walked her down the aisle, one of Ralph’s grandsons was the DJ for the event and another walked him to the chuppah. Linda created all the food for the day including the wedding cake, with Ralph’s daughter-in-law helping with decorations. Each mother who walked in was given a flower to celebrate the holiday.
The chuppah for the event was created with Ralph’s tallis, made by Linda with the tartan of his infantry regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders. Linda also hand embroidered his wedding day tallis, pictured here.
“The only thing that was wrong about it was it was over too fast,” Linda says, noting she wanted to continue celebrating until the next morning.
Both of them are actively involved in the Reuben Cipin Healthy Living Community. Linda writes and edits the building newsletter, and Ralph created and leads many of the building’s conversation circles. The pair have read through the building’s library, and were part of the many theatre trips the building residents have taken together.
The pair have known each other since the 1960’s when Linda’s first husband taught at the same school as Ralph so they would see each other at faculty events. Ralph actually taught Linda’s son in fifth grade. Linda made the cheesecake for Ralph’s son’s bris. Despite living in the same neighbourhood, they fell out of contact as time passed.
But 20 years ago fate intervened. Linda needed a pick-me-up on a Friday night and went to United Bakers for dinner. When she arrived, Ralph, dining solo, waved her over to share his table. “He reached over and grabbed my hand, and we just started to talk,” Linda explains. “I ate my pea soup with my left hand that night!”
They spent the night catching each other up on decades apart until the bakery closed and they moved to the benches at the nearby library. “We think we were the first people to get kicked out of United Bakers,” Linda says.
The next morning Ralph called, saying he had been up since 4 a.m. composing a piano piece for her. “And what girl could resist that,” Linda smiles. They’ve been together ever since.
“What drew me to him was his passion for life and learning,” Linda explained. Ralph has received two doctorates since turning 70 (a PhD and a Doctor of Education), and was a concert pianist.
“She’s very sensible, very sensitive and very honest,” Ralph says. “We’re very happy, I never thought I would be in love again.”
A few years ago, Ralph was at Baycrest’s hospital for some rehabilitative care, and the pair realized that he would need continued caregiving, and living alone was not going to be an option for him. Linda quickly stepped up and offered her apartment, as she had been living at the Reuben Cipin Healthy Living Community at Two Neptune Drive for several years at that point. Her sensible attitude shone as she noted it was only a four minute walk away from the hospital.
“I had to learn to sleep on the other side of the bed,” Linda laughs now. “We have a lot of laughs together, you can’t be serious all the time.”
The pair recognize how lucky they are; “We keep telling each other that, in case the other one forgets,” Linda says, ”It’s going too fast, I want more time with him.”