In a time before Tinder
Fifty years ago this year on the University of Michigan’s campus, then-student Michael Linver swiped right on his future wife — or something like that.
Linver, who graduated in 1966, and wife Mina Jo Rosenbloom, who graduated a year later, have been dubbed the “Digital Adam and Eve”: perhaps the first couple to meet, and fall in love, through an online dating service. Decades before Match.com, eHarmony, or even Tinder, Linver and Rosenbloom took a chance on a computer.
“I was a senior at the University of Michigan and saw an ad in the Michigan Daily for a $3 service called Operation Search,” Linver said. “After filling out a questionnaire, they matched people through a computer — the size of a whole room back then — and we got back a list of names in the mail.”
Rosenbloom’s name was somewhere in the middle of the results Linver received. He did not top her list, but he said something inexplicably drew him to her all the same.
“As soon as I saw her name, I knew I had to call her,” he said.
All it took for the couple were three quirky dates — on one occasion, for example, Linver woke up in the middle of the night and wrote Rosenbloom an inspired song — to write themselves into history. The two married the next year in 1967 and now reside in Albuquerque with three children and six grandchildren. Half a century later, though, Linver still waxes nostalgic about the time he fell in love.
“I looked at her smile (on the first date) and my heart stopped,” he said. “That magic is still there today.”
Linver now works as a prominent radiologist, while Rosenbloom is a retired medical technologist. The couple has been featured on a CNBC special that still airs every so often, and their story, of course, has achieved near-legend status in their circle of friends and family.
“That song I wrote for Mina is still used in our family to this day,” Linver said. “My son-in-law performed it when he proposed to my daughter and then I sang it to her at her wedding. We’re a family of music and love.”
In the University’s bicentennial year, much attention has been focused on the institution's legacy of research and academic accomplishments, as well as its complicated relationship with student activism and social movements. Linver himself participated in a number of anti-war protests put on by Students for a Democratic Society, and quips he “must be on some FBI watchlist.”
All told, though, Linver pointed out the University was, is, and always will be, simply a place for students to fall in love — be it through a screen or through song.
“It’s amazing what’s happening online,” he said. “But nothing can replace that connection in person...it’s something magical.”