Love Story: William and Bridget O'Sullivan
William O'Sullivan of Massapequa Park recalls how a football game almost kept him from meeting his future wife, Bridget.
On Oct. 15, 1961, I met my wife, Bridget, at a Sunday afternoon dance at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. I was 29, single and living with my parents on Manhattan's West Side. I was a member of the NYPD for almost five years. Marriage was definitely not in my immediate forecast.
A group of single friends and I were on our way to the hotel when we decided to stop at a bar to check out the score in the Giants game. They were having a terrible season and were already down two touchdowns to the Dallas Cowboys when a new quarterback named Y.A. Tittle entered the game. He promptly completed 15 straight passes for a franchise record, putting the Giants ahead at the end of the first half. The TV announcer urged fans to sit tight to witness a new era of Giants football. My friends followed his advice and remained; I left for the dance by myself.
I was there a short time when I saw my future wife on the other side of the dance floor talking to two of her girlfriends. I immediately went over, interrupted the conversation and began to tell her the story of my life.
Bridget, 27, was from Brooklyn and worked as an accountant with a small company in Manhattan. We both had attended other dances at the Roosevelt but had never met. We quickly discovered we had a great deal in common. We came from large Irish-Catholic families with similar working-class backgrounds; her father was a sandhog, and mine was a longshoreman. On the negative side, we lived in different boroughs, moved in completely different circles and had no mutual friends. We talked for hours and really hit it off.
We were married 18 months later, on April 20, 1963, at St. Jerome's Church in Brooklyn. We had a glorious 10-day honeymoon at Elbow Beach, Bermuda, and returned to our small apartment in Brooklyn, the borough where two of our five children were born. We were happy there but, like most newlyweds, our dream was to own a home in suburbia. In 1966, we moved to Massapequa Park, where we have lived in the same house for more than 45 years.
My wife was a stay-at-home mom and always made sure our children made it safely to the bus stop for the trip to St. Rose of Lima Grammar School, our parish school. In 1972, at the age of 39, Bridget got her driver's license, just in time to drive our children to the four high schools and colleges they attended. Today, we are blessed with 11 wonderful grandchildren.
In 1994, I retired from the NYPD as a three-star chief after 38 years on the force. We have been very fortunate and very lucky. We're celebrating our 49th anniversary this year, all because of what happened at the Roosevelt Hotel more than 50 years ago.