SCROLLING through The AJN in late January, a photo of an old flame from 72 years earlier stopped Mickey Michalow in her tracks.
Norman Lippa, now aged 96, was pictured celebrating Hersz Friedman’s 100th birthday party held at COA.
“She saw the photo and thought, ‘That’s him, he is still in the land of the living!’” exclaimed Norman.
Astounded and hopeful for a reunion, 92-year-old Mickey managed to find Norman in the phonebook with the help of her carer.
“Eventually he came to see me … His whole persona, his character, everything, it all came back.”
Seventy-two years after they first met and dated in Johannesburg, Norman’s impression of Mickey hasn’t changed much either.
“I think she is similar in personality,” he said. “She is still quite a live wire … It’s probably different today because we are a lot older. It’s nice to have somebody my own age I can talk to.”
Now communicating every day seven decades after sparks first flew between them, Norman recalled their first encounter.
“At the time, I was looking for a girlfriend and I took Mickey out for around six months, but she said at one stage she had found someone else,” Norman said.
That someone else became Mickey’s husband of 67 years. Together they immigrated to Australia and lived in St Ives.
Norman, too, was happily married for 65 years, living with his wife in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
“Our lives are so similar. He has four children. I have four children … Everything that he tells me – I’ve experienced the same thing. It’s a bit spooky, we can’t get over it,” said Mickey.
Another similarity sadly struck in recent years when they both lost their partners. “I’ve been widowed for four years now. Mickey lost her husband around six years ago,” Norman commented. “I’ve got very good family support, so I am very fortunate.”
Mickey spoke of how they have both had “wonderful lives” and her late-life romance with Norman “is like a little bonus … I’m the happiest old lady in the world!”
Since reconnecting, they have met face to face a handful of times before coronavirus moved their relationship online.
“The fortunate thing is that we are still both around,” said Norman. “The unfortunate part is that we can’t see each other too much at the moment except on FaceTime … But you are not exactly isolated – you might be physically, but you are not isolated when it comes to communicating.”
Mickey expressed her elation that “we two old happy folk can see each other online … We still can’t get over the fact that I found him!”