We met when I was 17. My brother invited friends over to see if I could get them dates for New Year’s Eve. I said, ‘That one’s cute, but I’m not gonna get him a date because I’m going to want him for myself somewhere down the line.’ He did ask me out for New Year’s, but I said no: I didn’t want him to think I was desperate. He was in the Navy, and we started corresponding; we were engaged one year later. He asked my father for my hand in marriage, the old-fashioned way. In 1955, Florida was the place to go for your honeymoon. I grew up in the Bronx and had never been out of the neighborhood, so I was very excited. We took a flight on Eastern Air Lines, which no longer exists, and left from Idlewild Airport, which is now JFK. Back then they wrote your tickets out in pencil. The Casablanca Hotel was one of the only places that had air-conditioning; I think it cost $26 a day.”
As told to Thessaly La Force.