Lane Neubauer & Mark E. Schwartz
They met at the now-defunct Eugenia Asylum. Lane had an established reputation as a recreational therapist, and Mark was on tour with the new staff.
“I remember what he was wearing when he walked through the room. A turquoise polyester shirt and a gold necklace. It was just Northeast Philadelphia,” Lane said.
“When I saw Lane walking confidently in her long blonde hair and hippie dress, I wondered who this person was,” Mark recalled. “Something sparked. It wasn’t romantic, but I knew she was going to be important to me.”
At the time, Mark, who was engaged to his high school sweetheart, and Lane, who was living with her longtime boyfriend, worked well together. About a year after Mark joined the staff, Lane got a new job at Northwestern Laboratories. About eight months later, when Mark applied for a position there, Lane gave him a nice word.
The staff at Northwestern were young, and after work we all went out together, and that’s how Lane and Mark became friends.
Lane was a professional square dance caller. At one point, Mark offered to help her pick up some audio equipment at her parents’ house. Her mother in her lane pulled her aside. “You’re going to marry that man,” she said to her daughter. She couldn’t believe Lane. “I’m living with someone. He’s going to get married. There’s nothing going on between us!”
Mark invited Lane to his wedding in the summer of 1979, and Lane would have gone had it not been for visiting his sister in Cameroon, who was in the Peace Corps. Lane purchased a handwoven prayer rug as a wedding gift for her couple.
Mark still has the rug, but he separated from his first wife about a year later, and was eventually divorced. During this time, a rift also occurred in Lane’s relationship. She and Mark also talked about similar woes and eventually dating other people.
Their friendship grew even after they moved on to different jobs. Then Mark realized that he was in love with his friend. They began to meet for dinner, and one night in Chestnut Hill a frenzied game of 20 questions began. “After asking, ‘What instruments did you play as a kid?’ Mark said to me, ‘Can I kiss you?'” recalls Lane.
It was a good kiss, but Lane wasn’t sure if the two had enough in common to make a good match. He was interested in sports, business and classical his rock. She was a free-spirited flower child who loved folk customs. Then they took his 1980 road trip to Florida, where he stopped on the way to hike one of the Smoky Mountains. Mark suddenly started singing – “If I Were King of the Forest” wizard of oz.
“On that trip, I realized that he was spontaneous, funny, creative, and a really good musician,” said Lane. Mark played keyboards at the time, but later he added a hammered dulcimer, banjo and guitar. “During that hike, I felt like my heart was flipped.”
“The following February, I moved into Lane’s apartment in Chestnut Hill,” Mark said.
In the summer of 1982, the couple got married and decided to have a number of celebrations to please their parents and themselves.
On the morning of May 8, 1983, they had a Jewish wedding ceremony outdoors in the Highlands. A hammered dulcimer player played, and Lane’s sister played guitar and sang. After the couple broke the glass together, Lane’s father followed him down the aisle playing his violin. A catered brunch followed with a swing band playing. That afternoon and evening, many of those guests and more, a total of about 200 people, gathered in the same place for a potluck dinner and more dancing. In addition to the dishes covered, guests were invited to bring their instruments and perform extensive jams. Lane, still in her wedding dress, climbed onto her chair and started her square dance.
the life they built together
Raised in Windmoor, Lane, now 69, has a master’s degree and a doctorate. He studied counseling and became a counselor at what is now Arcadia University. She then moved to La Salle, where she served as Deputy Dean of Students until her retirement seven years earlier.
Raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Mark, now 66, has an MBA and has spent most of his career in healthcare administration. He is currently Senior Director of the Cardiac Center Service Line at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
They now have two children, Josh, 37, and Lisa, 34. We gave them a creative birthday party. We took them to outdoor concerts and folk festivals,” Mark said.
Their lives had room for all kinds of music, folk and contra and mainstream artists like Yes, Springsteen and Paul Simon. Mark also took his children to sporting events.
“They got a really well-rounded education,” Lane said.
The couple raised their family primarily in Cheltenham, where they lived for 30 years. Two years ago they scaled back to a new location in Glenside. One dog and two cats usually live in their house. The current four-legged family members are Fig and Flora the cats and Lily the dog.
Lane and Mark’s home will always be the center of the holiday. Whether it’s Passover or Thanksgiving, family and friends come with food and musical instruments.
When Mark isn’t working at the hospital, he plays the piano at cocktail hours and private parties. He also wrote waltzes, one he performed as an anniversary gift to Lane, and one he performed with him and Lane for their children’s weddings.
Lane plays alto, tenor, soprano and bass recorder in two musical ensembles each week. When she was doing her job, she had to travel sometimes. Mark continues to travel for work. Lane said spending time apart allows them to enjoy their time together even more. They always enjoy complementing each other on their separate adventures.
To mark their 30th wedding anniversary, the couple took a bike trip through central France and Paris. Since then, bicycles have become an important part of their lives. They cycled through Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy and northern Spain. Typically, the couple bikes 30-35 miles together every weekend to stay in shape during the six-day period of cycling 25-40 miles a day.
They are a bit competitive, especially when it comes to racquetball and table tennis.
The couple have a grandson, Jasper, who will soon turn 2, and can’t wait to welcome their second grandchild, who is due in August.
This summer, they plan to cycle through France and Switzerland together.
They recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.
“Mark is one of the most kind and generous people I have ever met,” Lane said. “He is a loving partner who always thinks about making my life easier. He writes beautiful poetry, it’s between us now, but I hope that after I die, someone will find it and publish it.I can’t imagine my life without him.”
“There is so much to love about Lane,” Mark said. “But one of the best things is that she always challenged me to look at myself, grow and be different. We are still really good friends.”