We trailed Sanders around during his tour of Sandtown in West Baltimore in December and never heard mention of his familiarity with the city. Then again, his first marriage took place a little more than 50 years ago. Shiling is described by the Daily Mail as the 74-year-old’s former “college sweetheart.”
In recent days, The Washington Post reported that the young couple visited Israel, spending several months on a kibbutz. Larry Sanders, Bernie’s older brother, described the Israel trip as “part of their honeymoon” tour. Larry has lived in England since the late 1960s—the honeymooning couple also visited there—and he is a member of the Green Party member and a former county councilor.
As a young woman, Deborah Shiling Messing, like Sanders, was involved in social justice issues as a student civil rights activist at the University of Chicago. She apparently joined the Congress of Race Equality in 1960 and participated in a number of sit-ins in segregated restaurants in Baltimore.
From the Daily Mail: “The couple met in college and moved to a sugar shack without electricity on 85 acres of land in Middlesex, a small hamlet just outside the Vermont capital of Montpelier. They bought it for just $2,500.”
The marriage didn’t last long, however—just less than two years. But Shiling Messing also still resides in Vermont. The good news is they appear to have remained on cordial terms:
“I really don’t want to say much,” Shiling Messing, also remarried, told the Daily Mail. “All I can say is I believe in Bernie Sanders and I am a strong supporter.”