When Lauren Fleishman, an American photographer based in England, found a series of letters written by her grandfather to her grandmother during World War II, tucked in a book next to his bed, she felt inspired by their love story.
"My grandparents met on a blind date and were married in 1944 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. They were together for 59 years," Fleishman told A Plus. "The letters inspired me to seek out and record the love stories of other long-married couples."
Fleishman has just released a book called The Lovers featuring couples that have been together over 50 years, and it's nothing short of beautiful.
"I wanted to create and work on a project that was a collaboration," She explained to A Plus. "In the book, color photographs are combined with recorded interviews, where couples together for over five decades talk about their love and relationships. I work as the photographer, but the couples write their own stories through the recorded interview."
Scroll down to see some of our favorite snippets from the book.
Yevgeniy and Lyubov Kissin. Married in 1941.
Yevgeniy: "We met at a dancing party. It was in January 1938. My friend invited me to the party, he said there would be a lot of beautiful young girls. Another cadet with high boots had approached her, but she didn't like high boots and so she said no to him. I was the second one to approach her. I had a different uniform, but I'm still not sure if it was my uniform or my face that attracted her to me."
Joseph and Dorothy Bolotin. Married in 1938.
Dorothy: "I never think of it in terms of years. I think of it in terms of good years. In love, hot romance doesn't last forever. So I would say that yes, I think love changes. I would say we're still in love. We still love each other. It's focusing, doing little things. He's an amazing man."
Dick Dehn and Gary Payne
Dick: "We've been together 56 years. A couple of times I've thought, yes, I've known him longer than I knew my mother. And my mother died in the early '80s. I've known him, and he's known me longer than anybody else on this earth. I never regretted it. I don't know just exactly what love is, but he was the person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and we have. To us, love meant that we did not want to be apart. We built our life on each other."
Sol and Gloria Holtzman. Married in 1954.
Gloria: "I was the kind of girl that I fell in love right away. So the next day, I would tell my friend, 'Terrific, I mean, I'm in love already.' But after the first date with Sol, I did not feel that way. I told my friend, 'No, he was very nice. We had a good time, but that was it.' She was the one that came back with the statement, 'I bet this is the guy your gonna end up marrying!'"
Jake and Mary Jacobs. Married in 1948.
Mary: "Jake said to me,'Would it ever be possible for me to marry you?'And I said,'Possible but not probable!' And that's how it was. It wasn't likely that I would ever marry him, and he knew that. So when he went home to Trinidad, my mother and father breathed a sigh of relief. But he used to write, and he said, 'I'm thinking I might come back to England.'"
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