When all is said and done, I am the product of a successful “set-up.”
Seventy years ago today a 29-year-old man from Queens married a 24-year-old woman from Manhattan. This young couple filled with hope, whose whole life lay in front of them that October Sunday in 1950 would end up being my parents.
Have I Got a Girl For You
In the spring of 1949 after excessive nudging by his Astoria neighbor to meet her lovely niece Betty who lived on the Upper West Side of NYC, young Marvin Edelstein begrudgingly agreed. Hesitant at first, he claimed to have had his share not only of blind dates but of “West End Princesses” ( an earlier incarnation of JAP)
They arranged a date to meet at my mother’s country club in Alpine New Jersey for lunch and a round of golf.
He was smitten; his overbearing neighbor had not lied. A dark-haired beauty, he was taken by Betty’s sweetness, intelligence, lack of pretense, and in no small measure I’m certain, her shapely figure.
My mother though was less than taken. Having lost her beloved father only a year and a half earlier, her heart still belonged to daddy. A patina of sadness over his untimely and unexpected death would follow her for the rest of her life. It would be she who would need a bit of prodding now. With a sudden blitz, he gave her the whole treatment, flowers, telegrams, orchestra seat tickets- to- impossible- to- get-South Pacific.
There were differences between the 2 families. There was my paternal pawnbroker grandfather, a 6th-grade dropout and a Damon Runyonesque character whose cronies were straight out of Guys and Dolls. He stood in stark contrast to my maternal grandfather who had been a genteel, highly respected corporate lawyer, and by all accounts a refined gentleman. Yet what both families shared were common core values. A deep devotion to family, to doing good works, to kindness.
A Post War Promise
And it seemed to be no better time to be in love. President Truman presented a rosy picture of the future- if all went well according to his Fair Deal program, Americans would work less, play more, purchase more!
It was predicted, the average American family would have an income of $12,000 by the year 2000! With a staggering income like that, there would be no limit to how much happiness they could buy.
This blind date yielded 58 years of married life, a son, a daughter, a rich life full of travel, community activism, and good friends living in a home they loved. Grandchildren were the icing on the cake. All exactly what they had hoped for 70 long years ago when they toasted one another with pink champagne at The Monkey Bar at the Hotel Elysee on a cool Sunday in October.
Happy 70th Anniversary to my parents!
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