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60 Valentine’s Days Later, Dorothy and Al Laugh, Fuss and Remember

Al Hampel calls his wife Dorothy “Nurse Ratchett.” When they met 60 years ago, she supervised his work as a copywriter, and ran a tight ship. Today, at Brookdale Senior Living, she’s famous for her feisty attitude.

Humor is one of the things that’s kept them together. Al makes fun of Dorothy for wearing gold bangles and necklaces from QVC, or “bling,” as he calls it. She sticks her tongue out at him; he sticks his tongue out at her. When Dorothy asked what Al told his mother after their first dinner, he shrugged, “Just another date” and she playfully whacked his arm. When they fought during their marriage, Dorothy couldn’t help but forgive him after he cracked a joke.

“He was so funny, I forgave everything,” she said.

Their professional connection also helped. After starting out in advertising under Dorothy’s tutelage, Al moved to Young and Rubicam, where he secured the Continental Airlines account with the 1970s tagline, “We really move our tail for you.” Al brought home the idea to Dorothy to ask her opinion, who approved. He won the $20 million business and Johnny Carson talked about it on The Tonight Show.

“I always shared this work with my wife,” Al said. “Her feminine sense was very valuable.”

These days at Brookdale, they still act as a team. When Al goes to services, Dorothy stakes out a place in the dining room and makes sure to snag enough matzo balls for him.

Al recently returned from the hospital and Dorothy tended to him and fussed over him. It made him realize the bond they share.

“These are the times that enforce your love,” he said.


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