Morty and Lee Kaufman have worked out a certain division of labor when it comes to chores over 45 years of marriage. Credit: Diane Bondareff/Invision for Swiffer/AP Images
Swiffer’s power couple may not clean together, but they know what it takes to make a relationship work.
Morty and Lee Kaufman, the elderly couple who made cleaning commercials fun again, have enjoyed 45 happy years together. At a recent event to unveil a new Swiffer campaign featuring "Modern Family"'s Eric Stonestreet and his mom, the Kaufmans shared their secrets to staying happy, their division of labor at home and what’s really important in life.
Dr. Michelle Callahan: What’s your secret? Morty: The secret is being in love. And I don’t do any cleaning. But I do do laundry, and I do it well. Lee: You have to know why he does it well. It all started because if there was a stain, it didn’t come out or I didn’t know how to take it out, the chemist knew how and eventually he got to do the laundry because he could take out all the spots. Morty: I was a pharmacist for many years. Lee: Until he got to be the laundry man. Morty: It’s easier, it’s more efficient, I don’t mind watching her at all.
Do you ever have any tensions around cleaning in your home? Morty: Tension? Never. Not with anything because you have to compromise, and if you do, just give in.
Happy wife, happy life? Morty: Ours is a lovely relationship. I’ve been married 45 years, and I’m ready for another 45.
Who’s the messy one? Morty: I make the mess. And she or our cleaning service cleans it up. Lee: It’s been working out quite well for the last 45 years. And the second time around will be twice as good.
Metro: When is your wedding anniversary? Morty: She picked it. Valentine’s Day. Lee: We got married on Valentine’s Day; I picked that day. And I’m glad that I did — it’s been lovely every one of the years that we’ve been married. It’s a pleasure.
What do you do to celebrate? Morty: Family gets together. Family is very important. Very important. Lee: We have family across the continent, we have children in California, we have one in Colorado, and three here [in the New York area]. Morty: And we eat out a lot. Lee: Less cooking.
Then you don’t have to do the dishes. Lee: And besides rather than cook, I’d much rather bake. So I’ll make dessert, but then we have no meal.
Morty, you said you were a pharmacist. Lee, what was your profession? Lee: Teacher. Elementary school teacher. Morty: She was a teacher for 22 years. First grade and she never graduated from first grade. Lee: I stayed. I did lower grades primarily. I first started out as a substitute teacher and I came down the line and finally ended up in first grade where I stayed and I liked it since.
I bet you would have wanted a big green Swiffer box there, right? It must be messy in a first-grade classroom. Lee: Yeah, but everything works out. Everything fell into place. I think if you have the right attitude, if you have passion in what you do, it’s good.