Love, uninterrupted: Carol Roth and Allan Brum

October 28, 2019

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Carol Roth and Allan Brum at the renewal of their wedding vows.

Carol Roth and Allan Brum at the renewal of their wedding vows.

As high school students in the late 60s, Carol Roth and Allan Brum went from good friends to dating. Things really heated up in college and Carol was sure that Allan was ‘the one.’ Unfortunately, Carol’s parents weren’t feeling it, and their unease with the relationship led to an almost-forever split.

“They made it very difficult for us to see each other,” says Allan. “The family issues just wore us down and we broke up.”

“We both married other people and had families,” says Carol, “But, I never stopped thinking about him.”

The internet intervened 27 years later, in 2002, when Carol received an e-mail from Classmates.com: ‘Hey Carol, have you reached out to any of your friends from Oceanside?’ “I looked for Allan’s name,” says Carol. “Lo and behold, there it was.”

Prior to filling out the contact form, Carol had already planned to separate from her husband with whom she had one daughter, Jessica. Carol was also a loving stepmother to Melissa, her husband’s daughter from a previous marriage. “Despite these powerful connections,” says Carol, “I knew something had to change.”

Allan immediately responded to the email with a request for her number and called three days later. During that call Carol broke down and shared what was in her heart. When she finally got around to asking about him, she learned that he had recently separated from his wife. Calling from a hotel where he was working as a television sports producer, he told her he had just left an apartment ‘full of boxes’ in Los Angeles.

“I was the love of his life, as he was mine,” says Carol. But concerns about how their respective daughters would handle things was one reason they both moved cautiously.

They started with a long-distance phone relationship.

“He was finishing my sentences by the third conversation. After all that time, he was able to jump into my brain and surprise me with how quickly he knew what I was thinking.” When the time came to take the leap, and see each other in person, the spark was immediate. “We felt the connection right away,” Carol says.

When Carol was recovering from surgery in the summer of ‘02, Allan flew to New Jersey to visit. He saw her 10-year-old gold Acura Legend in the driveway and told her, “I just left the same exact car in Los Angeles.” Of the many new discoveries made, driving the same Acura Legend was the least expected.

Carol and Allan celebrated 10 years of marriage on September 10, 2019 and renewed their vows surrounded by family and friends, standing under the chuppah at Ohef Sholom Temple. The wedding ceremony began with Cantor Jen Reuben singing, Etta James’ At Last.

Today, the couple does everything together—cook, walk the dog, and travel. They had their first fight on a flight coming home from Athens in 2004. “I was absolutely devastated. I just looked at him, crying, and said, ‘You’re the love of my life, I don’t want to fight with you.’

Allan laughed. His response was, “did you think we were never going to have a fight?”

“We may argue, but after so many years without contact, we don’t want to spend time being angry, so we make up easily. When I lament over the time we spent apart, Allan comforts me with his perspective on the matter,” says Carol.

‘G-d and fate intervened with those plans. Now is the time we’re meant to spend together.’”

Carol’s daughter Jessica moved to Virginia Beach with her husband Matt, one reason why Carol and Alan decided to make Virginia their new home.

Carol and Allan don’t have children together, but they do share a family and a home, which they recently built in Norfolk’s East Beach section. Jessica calls Allan her ‘bonus’ dad. Her children and her friends’ kids cherish their time with him. Carol grew close to Allan’s daughter Jenny when she moved to Los Angeles in 2006.

Allan has relatives in France who escaped Poland and survived the Holocaust. The “second chancers” as they call themselves, enjoy traveling; their favorite destinations so far include Australia, Hawaii, Venice, Paris, and Aixen Provence, France. France has a special place in their hearts, which is why they chose to celebrate Jenny’s 16th birthday with family and friends in Paris.

A parental blessing of their relationship may have been an issue in 1972, but it’s not one now. “I gave birth to one child, but have three daughters,” says Carol referring to her deep bonds with Jenny, Melissa, and Jessica.

“Jenny talks to Carol about things she’s not as comfortable telling her father,” says Allan. “If I’m not privy to something, I ask Carol. Carol is by far the person with the biggest heart of anyone I’ve met. She’s also the most honest.”

“Even at 50, I wanted my mother’s approval,” says Carol. “When my sister told our mother that Allan and I were back together she cried and said ‘we thought we were doing the right thing.’ Before my father died from complications from Parkinson’s in 2004, the four of us had dinner together in Florida. We could both tell how pleased they were about our reunion, and that I was happy.”

Allan says, “we finally had a chance to make up.”

Carol adds, “We both now take comfort that all four parents are watching, with approval, from above.”

Lisa Richmon

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