By Amy Wenk
It was underneath the elm trees at Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan where Sandy Springs resident Seymour Hart first met his wife, Ellie. The year was 1929, and Seymour was just 13 years old. Ellie was 11.
“He was on his bicycle,” Ellie said, recalling that fateful day in the park. “I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle, so he put me on the handlebars and away we went. That’s how we met.”
They did not know it at the time, but this new friendship would turn one day into life-long devotion. On April 30, Seymour, now 91, and Ellie, 89, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
“I know it is going to sound ridiculous, but every time we are together we seem to have the best time,” said Seymour. “We just have a good time being with each other.”
After their first encounter, the Harts became fast friends. Ellie lived near the park, above the dairy restaurant her family operated. Ellie often met Seymour at the corner candy store, and Seymour would frequent her father’s eatery.
“I was the American kid, who went ahead and stole [her father’s] milk bottles, then gave them back to him for a deposit,” said Seymour with a chuckle.
The relationship strengthened when Seymour and Ellie were in high school.
“The school that I went to was approximately three avenue blocks from where her school was,” said Seymour. “Every once and awhile, we would go watch movies when her mother and dad didn’t know.”
When Ellie turned 18, she started dating Seymour, and on April 30, 1938 they were married at the Broadway Mansion in Manhattan.
“By that time, I was more than a son-in-law, I became a friend of her dad’s,” said Seymour. “He took me under his wing.”
The Harts lived in New York for many years after their marriage. Ellie worked briefly as a legal stenographer before raising their two children, Jeff and Francine, at their home on Franklin Square in Manhattan.
Seymour began working with an interstate department store chain, where he became a buyer. After that, he manufactured ladies coats and suits, and then upholstery fabric for General Motors and Ford.
“We were also licensed to manufacture the fabric for Adidas warm-up suits in the United States, Canada and Australia,” said Seymour, who took courses at New York University. “I started out as the vice president of the print department…and eventually [became] the vice president of operations for the entire company, BRW Industries.”
The Harts relocated to Georgia in 1980 when Seymour became employed as a consultant. Seymour retired in 1985, and, at that time, Ellie got a job at Social Expressions in Perimeter Mall. For 16 years, she worked at the card shop to support her passion for shopping. At her Sandy Springs home today, one can see her impressive collections of dolls, delicate figurines and plates, as well as antique furniture.
Since retiring, Seymour has enjoyed playing golf, walking and giving back to the community. In June, he will celebrate his 22nd year of volunteering for St. Joseph’s Hospital.
“On my 80th birthday, I started to walk the Peachtree [Road Race],” he said. “On my 88th birthday, I got a hole in one.”
After all these years, Seymour, can still make his “Sweetie Pie,” as he calls Ellie, giggle with his light-hearted jokes. It is this laughter, as well as a certain amount of patience, which has made this marriage last, said Ellie.
“It has been up and down like any relationship,” she said. “Nothing is perfect, but it has been good. We have had some real good times.”
Those good times include extensive traveling to places like Italy, France and the Caribbean islands, as well as occasional trips to the casino.
“[Ellie] loves the slot machines,” said Seymour. “I can always dangle a trip to Harrah’s in front of her.”
The couple will commemorate their 70th anniversary on May 17th at a celebration organized by their daughter and son. The party is being held in conjunction with Ellie’s 90th birthday.