A Fort Lauderdale couple who love to dance make their debut on a greeting card cover
By Emily J. Minor
City & Shore PRIME Magazine
Each time someone else saw the picture, they fell in love with it.
The wedding photographer. The corporate deciders. The niece with the gift shop who, really, was the one who turned the whole thing into a greeting-card moment.
And now, there they are, Fort Lauderdale residents Bob and Diane McDonald, 81 and 79, respectively, on the cover of a MikWright greeting card – those funny cards you see in specialty shops where they take an old family photo, paste it on the front of some nice card stock and finish it off with a snarky message.
You know, like a ’60s mom with a beehive hairdo, holding a martini, with a kid hanging off her. “We call her up and say, ‘We want to make fun of your hair,’” says company co-founder Phyllis Wright-Herman.
Except this photo of the McDonalds at their great niece’s wedding a year ago October is light on snark and heavy on sweetness. They’re dancing. And smiling.
Two old fools, still in love, having fun.
“We like cutting loose,” Bob says. “It’s exhilarating.”
The message inside the card? dance like everyone’s watching. live large!
Indeed, the McDonalds have been living large since they met in college at the University of Florida in 1957. They each had a date for a party at Bob’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house, but they ended up liking each other instead.
“We danced that first night,” she says. And they’ve been partners on and off the floor ever since.
He became an architect, and they moved to South Florida where he built a successful firm. She worked as a teacher and guidance counselor for many years at Bennett Elementary School. They had two sons.
And always – always – Bob and Diane’s house was the fun party house. “They have the margaritas going the minute you walk in,” says a niece, Ann Kohlmeyer, who married into the family almost 40 years ago.
It was Kohlmeyer’s daughter who tied the knot in North Carolina in the fall of 2015.
Through the years, the McDonalds have not passed up many chances to dance. They’ve danced at holiday parties and school reunions, birthday parties and wedding receptions. Once, in New Orleans, they heard a good band at a hotel and crashed the party. It was a sheriff’s convention. “It was OK, though, because we won the dance contest,” Bob says.
They like ’50s music the best. After all, it’s their starting point. Elvis grounds them. They also like that they’ve mastered a healthy combination of good fun and good health. Amy Kolodziej, the wedding photographer at the ceremony and reception, says she made a lot of images of the McDonalds because they never sat down.
“Diane is Greek so she cooks very healthy meals and we’re very physically fit,” says Bob, who claims he was barely sore the night after that fall wedding.
Of course, these nostalgic family photos that set up the quippy punchlines don’t magically appear at MikWright LTD cards. Indeed, the North Carolina-based company – which after 25 years still gets releases for every single photo they put on a card – uses only photos submitted from family, friends and MikWright retailers.
Well hello, coincidence! Kohlmeyer runs a little shop called The Back Porch in Jupiter and is a MikWright retailer. She sent the photo to Wright-Herman, who “put it in the hopper.” When the company team sat down to review the queue, the McDonalds’ image was a no brainer,” Wright-Herman says.
“It just jumps right off the page at you,” she says. “You want to be right there with them, having a good time.”
Right there with them, living large.