*Eve, Homemaker, Fantastic Seamstress, and Hat Maker & David, Garment District Worker*
My grandparents met in 1939, at a Communist Party meeting in New York City. My grandma, Eve, was the secretary for this party chapter. My grandpa, David, usually attended a different meeting, but he had come especially to this meeting to make a speech. Later on, when retelling this story, he always told my mother that as soon as he saw Eve, he knew that she was the one for him.
David was one of eight children, and he had dropped out of school after eighth grade to go to work because his family needed the money. Nonetheless, he continued to study on his own, favoring history and politics.
When Eve and David met on that night, Eve had been sitting down, taking notes during the meeting. They never stood next to each other until he picked her up for their first date—only to realize that she was taller than him (apparently a cultural no-no in her family). Needless to say, it was the last time she wore high heels around him.
David proposed to Eve at The World’s Fair site in Queens, NY in 1940. He couldn’t afford a “real” engagement ring, so he proposed to her with a souvenir ring from The World’s Fair.
Eve had previously been married, and she had a seven-year-old child. She had separated from her first husband while she was pregnant. It was quite shocking at the time for a woman to be raising a child on her own. Not only that, but she was also five years older than David. David’s father kept asking him, “What do you want with an old, used bird”? He always remained steadfast in his response: “I just love her.”
They got married on February 1, 1941, at a friend’s apartment. She wore a rented pink dress and veil. This is one of the only photographs that were taken.
Soon after they married, David was drafted to Japan during World War II. When he returned home safe in 1945, they had a baby—my mother. They were happily married for sixty-three years, until my grandpa passed away. My grandma passed away a few years later.
I am getting married in three days. Although neither of them will be at my wedding in person, I know they will be there in spirit. Before my grandma died, she was sick with dementia, one of the most difficult illnesses I’ve witnessed. During a visit I had with her, she had a moment of clarity. She told me, “Marry whoever the hell you want. If they make you happy, that’s what counts.”