Peter Adler came to America from Germany as an 8-year-old boy, after his widowed mother managed to get the family, which included his brother Frank, out of Nazi Germany. She settled with her sons in New York’s Washington Heights. When his mother remarried, the family moved to Forest Hills, Queens.
Ruth Rose grew up in Rego Park, just across Queens Boulevard from Forest Hills.
Peter and Ruth Adler at their wedding in 1956 and at their 50th anniversary celebration.
Peter had always been artistic, and began attending Cooper Union after graduating from the High School of Music and Art. In 1951, during the spring of his second year, a fellow classmate, Shelly Rose, asked if he’d like a ride home when his dad came to pick him up. "I knew he lived near me," Peter explains, "So I accepted. When we went outside, there was this classic Buick with the port-holes in the fenders, and sitting next to his father was Shelly’s cute, blond, 17-year-old sister, Ruth."
Shelly had often mentioned Ruth to Peter, and even offered to set them up, but Peter had been involved with someone else. "Shelly was quite a character," Peter recalls, "and I was afraid this sister might be a bit off the wall."
Now, all it took was one look, and Peter was a goner.
On the ride back to Queens, Ruth was lamenting that with Passover approaching, she’d have to give up her favorite food, pizza. "You can have pizza on matzoh," Peter explained with a twinkle in his eye.
When Ruth asked what that was, he answered, "Pazza!"
"Peter’s sense of humor really triggered my feelings for him," Ruth says.
The couple dated all through Ruth’s years at Queens College and were married in 1956. "I had to wait for her to grow up," Peter says.
"I was such a kid when we met," Ruth agrees, "while Peter had already experienced so much."
They settled in Queens, and Ruth began teaching kindergarten in Far Rockaway. Peter was already embarked on his career as a graphic designer working with a partner in his own agency. When Ruth was expecting their first child, they moved to Teaneck, where they spent 43 years.
"We joined Temple Emeth in 1968," she says, "and served in many capacities Peter even designed and maintains their Website." They were also active in Teaneck, working toward school integration, fair housing, and education. Ruth became deeply involved in senior citizen housing, while Peter was a member of the Teaneck Cultural Arts Coalition. Although they now live in Fort Lee, their allegiance is still very much to their former hometown.
They have two daughters Susan, who lives in Washington Heights and works at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Ellen, who lives in Hackensack and works for CableVision.
The Adlers celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in December. Recently Peter gave Ruth a gold seashell pendant. "That was to commemorate the day I proposed on the beach at Far Rockaway."
Ruth claims she got an early bit of advice from Peter’s mom on how to keep a marriage healthy. "My mother-in-law was the best, an amazing woman," she says intently. "Every ‘daughter-in-law’ birthday card I got from her was corrected to read ‘daughter-in-
Teaneck.’ And she told me that when Peter and I had a fight, to never go to bed angry and to always say good night."
Peter adds, "One major reason we get along so well is the chemistry between us. Ruth has a good sense of humor and always sees the bright side of things. Who knew that a car ride home would change my life….I guess ‘pazza’ was bashert for both of us."