A Final Dinner for Four Friends

By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 18, 2008

For the Wolmans and the Rubins, it was the highlight of the week, a ritual double date that connected them to the rhythms of life outside the Leisure World retirement community.

Every Saturday, they would climb into a gold Buick LaSabre and travel four miles to Rockville's Baronessa Italian restaurant for the early-bird special.

David Wolman, who at 96 was the only one still driving after dark, would be behind the wheel. Beside him would be Libby Rubin, 92. In the back would be Eunice Wolman and Max Rubin, both 92.

Last Saturday, as they did every week, the foursome headed to Table 23 in the back of the restaurant, near a painting of Venice. Wolman and Rubin helped their wives into their chairs, a difficult feat for Rubin, given his cane and her walker, and one he executed slowly but with determination.

After dinner, returning to the Silver Spring retirement community, Wolman's Buick veered off Norbeck Road and struck a tree, killing Eunice Wolman and Max Rubin.

The crash left the two survivors, now a widower and a widow, in intensive care.

David Wolman was admitted to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda with a cracked sternum and broken ribs. Libby Rubin was at Washington Hospital Center in the District with a broken pelvis, rib and thumb.

They weren't at their spouses' funerals, Rubin's on Tuesday and Wolman's yesterday, at Judean Memorial Chapel, about a mile from Leisure World.

"My parents so enjoyed their special Saturday evenings with the Rubins," Anne Geldon said yesterday during a eulogy for her mother.

In an interview, Geldon said the Rubins' enthusiasm for their friendship with her parents did not dull even as her mother began to slip into the fog of dementia.

"My dad would say, 'We have the best of friends,' " she said.

That kindness helped spare the Wolmans from the isolation that dementia often inflicts not only on those who have the condition, but also on their spouses.

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