Love Story: New York City, 1955, Happenstance
He wore jeans and a black sweater over a red-and-white checked shirt. She wore a navy blue accordion-pleated skirt, full, that swung as she walked, and a pale pink wool button-down sweater.
She came down the steps alone, deserted minutes earlier by a friend who used her as an excuse to leave the house. She was nervous, alone in the skating rink, and wondering what to do. Then she saw him sitting, busy with something, an unlit cigar in his mouth. He looked up and went back to his Times crossword puzzle.
Then he looked up again, this time twirling his hand around and asking with his expression. She questioned and pointed to herself. “Me?” He nodded. Onto the ice they went.
That was March 1, 1955, during singles’ skate night at the “old” Madison Square Garden. They celebrated their first Valentine’s Day 50 weeks later as husband and wife.
Mom and dad were married on October 23, 1955, and were blessed with 59 years together. Directions to Lake Placid — where they honeymooned — from New York and New Jersey begin with “Take the NY State Thruway (I-87) north . . .” The new bridge was to open in two months; the Taconic State Parkway was “it” back then, mom said.
Valentine’s Day was special for them. After dad stopped driving, I’d take him to buy cards and flowers for mom. She bought him cards and made a special dinner for them, or they’d have a date night. When his health began to decline, and he could no longer move around easily, he’d ask me to please choose cards. I think mom knew; she told me later and thanked me for keeping this from him.
Dad passed away last year on February 27, two days short of the day they met. It was 24 hours before the final transit task force meeting. Two unrelated events were suddenly joined in my world; talking of one reminded me of the other.
Mom told me they were best friends and soul mates, said “I love you” often and meant it, and never went to sleep angry with each other. They laughed a lot together. Dad had a wicked sense of humor, she told me; I know she does.
The other day she and I were looking at pictures, remembering, smiling, laughing, crying at the memories, some in black and white, others in color, all captured in still life.
We both miss him terribly. Mom loves to tell the story of how they met: had she not accompanied a friend, had he not gone to the ice skating rink . . .
I’d like to know what you think.
Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015