By Laura Porter
WORCESTER — What better way for lifelong friends to celebrate their 80th birthdays and their 60th wedding anniversaries than together?
That’s just what Norman and Glory Goldman and Bernard (Bucky) and Judy Noar did at the end of May.
Their children and grandchildren joined forces to throw them a party at Cyprian Keyes on May 29, bringing 85 of their nearest and dearest together to eat, laugh and sing.
There were two small wedding cakes – each couple officially cut their own – and a big birthday cake. The Noars’ grandson, Ryan O’Leary serenaded them with “Stand By Me.” His cousin, Hayley Woodward, was the photographer. Ed Ricco, the fiance of the Goldmans’ granddaughter, Emily Salloway, played “American Pie,” Glory Goldman’s favorite song, on the guitar.
The two eldest children, Amy Goldman Vermillion and Beth Noar Woodward, gave a toast, and then all of the children and grandchildren performed parodies written for the occasion to the tunes of “Those Were the Days, My Friend,” “My Favorite Things” and “The Brady Bunch” theme song.
The two couples have been friends for 57 years, since shortly after each was married in 1956. For 27 of those years, they were neighbors on Sussex Lane in West Tatnuck, raising their children together, vacationing together, sharing holidays and memories.
They each have three children, almost perfectly matched in descending order: Beth Noar Woodward and Amy Goldman Vermillion are the same age, as are Sharon Noar de Klerk and Debby Goldman Helfgott; Wendy Noar O’Leary is a year younger than Charles Goldman.
When they were young, they were in and out of one another’s homes all the time.
“Every Saturday night, [our parents] would go out and the kids would go over to one or another’s house and have pizza,” says Wendy O’Leary.
Indeed, friendship has gone on into the third generation as well. Some of the grandchildren are close friends, and all are linked to a treasured common past and extended family that has no need of blood ties.
The joint birthday-anniversary was a milestone that begged to be celebrated together, just as the families have celebrated so many other moments.
“They spent every New Year’s together for over 50 years until this past year – and then they Skyped!” says O’Leary.
CAP: From left to right, Norman Goldman, Glory Goldman, Judy Noar, and Bucky Noar.