This Love Story Began at a 1941 Communist Party Meeting in NYC

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.”

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  • The years of their relationship parallel my grandparents relationship so closely…gave me goosebumps. Right down to the birth of their daughter after the war…

    Thanks for sharing their story!

  • Kristen

    This is just beautiful. And I have a Grandma Eve too! My other grandmother gave me some sage wisdom as well when I turned 18. She said, “Don’t get married too young, and get mammograms early.” She herself was married at 18 and had breast cancer at age 40, so she’s speaking from experience. Thanks for the post!

  • Kayla

    At first glance, I just saw the pretty dress. This seemed like safe at-work viewing material. Then I read the post. Then I cried at my desk. Umm, can there be a warning symbol for these going-to-make-you-cry-at-work posts?

  • Bawling. Bawling again.

    An old, used bird, indeed. I’d give my left buttcheek to be as rad as that lady.

  • Jessica

    This post made me tear up too. What a wonderful love story. And such great advice from your grandma at the end!

  • Bethany

    Ack! This is my post! So exciting – thanks, APW!!

    • meg

      Thank YOU. Your grandparents are amazing as hell.

      • PhotoLady

        Hi Bethany,

        I’m replying here so you’ll hopefully see my comment. One of my little hobbies is tidying up old pictures. It takes a particular sob story to get to me, but yours qualifies. I’ve touched up both photos and placed them on imgur so you can upload them, if you’d like. They’re here:

        I removed the crinkle (that dress was HARD) and adjusted some of the lost toning. The background of the first picture was smoothed out and given corners. I’m not very good yet, but hopefully these are closer to good copies of those pictures.

        I like the sepia tone, but I can make them B&W if you’d prefer. Just reply to this comment (I’ll see it). Thanks for sharing your story :)

        • meg

          Holy moly. In the best way. I think you restored some faith in humanity over here.

          • PhotoLady

            Aww, thanks, Meg. That’s kinda why I do it :)

            If Bethany doesn’t reply to my comment, would you mind sending her an email with the album link? I would hate for her to miss them. Thanks!

        • Bethany

          Wow – thank you SO much – they look amazing!! I can’t tell you how much it means to me (and my family) that you would take the time to do this for us. Sorry I didn’t reply earlier – I’m getting married this weekend – thus, insanity has ensued. But APW helps me remember to stay sane! Again, a great big thank you!!!!

  • MDBethann

    A beautiful story – thanks for sharing it APW!

    I have a few wedding stories in my family of parents who didn’t approve, but those marriages lasted. One of them was my grandparents’ marriage, and when my grandmother died, my grandfather was lost without her – they were a matched set. If you find the person who makes you a matched set, don’t let anyone dissuade you. Sounds like Eve and David realized that too.

  • Caroline

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing this story!

  • JenMcC

    Love this! Especially the last line. Such good advice, and so important to remember. Gave me goosebumps.

    Thank you.

  • Fermi

    Wow, totally made me tear up at the end too…awesome love.

    “Marry whoever the hell you want. If they make you happy, that’s what counts.”

    Loved that quote too!

  • Moz

    This is brilliant. I love vintage weddings on APW – more please!

    • meg

      Send them in!!! It’s the staff’s favorite thing in the whole world, but we very rarely get them. When we do, they go up on the blog, stat.

  • Teffer

    ACCCK So romantic!!!!!! Emotions came out my eyes…

  • Not Sarah

    I remember one summer when I was home from university, my grandma asking me if I had a boyfriend and when I said no, she said “When I was your age, I was out dancing every night of the week! A girl of your age should have a boyfriend.” She also thought that all boys were cute. My mom clearly didn’t appreciate Grandma giving me that advice very much :P

    Having smaller families means fewer wise old women in the family. I’m now in my early twenties and the older women left in my family are my mom, two aunts, and one great-aunt. It definitely makes me sad that my mom’s mom is no longer around to provide amusing and wise advice.

  • Wow. Goosebumps, indeed. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Laura G

    I love this post because it reminds me again to appreciate the courage of my grandparents to choose marriage and the building of a new family in the face of the remnants of the depression, the rise of Hitler and world war, and their different economic positions. My NYC Jewish socialist grandparents met in the late ’30s while taking (free) night classes at Brooklyn College and married in ’38 or ’39. My grandmother was a department store clerk and her mother made a good income for the family all through the depression as a skilled seamstress / dressmaker, but my grandfather and his family were underemployed laborers with few job prospects (I think part of the reason my grandfather made it through high school was there were no available jobs to drop out for). They married on Dec 23 because the social hall could be cheaply rented that close to Christmas and borrowed a car to visit Washington DC for their honeymoon, but the car broke down in Deleware so they never made it. They’re still happily married after more than 70 years and, via the “magic” of free higher education, my grandmother became a school teacher, which propelled my family into the middle class and provides them with a comfortable retirement. And my grandfather finally finished his free college education, graduating on the same day in 1968 that my father, his son, graduated from his PhD program.

  • India

    This gave me the chills. Beautiful.

  • My grandmother also divorced her first husband and then married my grandfather. It was a Big Deal back then. (There’s more to the story than this, but you get the idea.) I love this post.

    • Jamie

      My great grandmother divorced her first husband in the 30s when my grandmother was little because he was abusive. Apparently she was looked down upon (I would love to ask her about it now that I’m older, but she passed away right before I turned 11) because of it, but I admire her for having the guts to make the hard decision and protect her family.

      To Bethany: Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us!

  • Lovely!

  • Liz

    A CP wedding! Red love! Swoon.