Bernice “Tooty” Ulanoff of Roslyn recalls how she met her husband, Stan.
My mother was very protective. I remember coming home from dates to find her sitting on our stoop in Flatbush, Brooklyn, waiting for me. She would say she was just getting some fresh air. She would have tied me to her apron strings forever, but it was she who introduced me to Stan, my husband of 69 years.
In 1944, I was attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. A sorority sister said she was going to work at Camp Louise, a girls summer camp in Maryland, and suggested I apply for a job there. We’d make very little money but would have lots of fun. I agreed and became an arts and crafts counselor that summer.
My mother came down to camp for my 19th birthday. I believe she really wanted to check out my casual mention in a letter home that we (150 girls) swam twice a day in a nearby lake next to Camp Ritchie, a military intelligence camp. We never once saw any of the soldiers there.
During her visit, she was in the rec hall watching me paint stage scenery when two young uniformed soldiers wandered into the hall. She didn’t realize they weren’t permitted inside the camp.
They bid her good day and introduced themselves. She said she was Mrs. Mayer and began to learn more about them. One of the boys, Stan Ulanoff, was a 22-year-old Army corporal who lived five blocks from us in Flatbush. He had graduated from James Madison High School a couple of years ahead of me.
She decided he was “safe” and said, “See that girl painting the scenery? That’s my daughter. Tell her the lady sitting on the wooden bench sent you over to say hello.”
Stan and I struck up a conversation before he went back to his camp. Two days later I received six pictures of him with a note saying, “Pick one and return the rest.” He asked me out on a couple of dates. We were in the middle of nowhere, so we’d have dinner together at the Army post. We hitchhiked to Washington, D.C., a few times.
After I returned to Brooklyn, we saw each other whenever he came home on leave. We’d see a movie or go bowling, but we’d often end up at his house for family dinners. I got to know them well. Stan served in the Army from 1941 to 1946, then joined the Army Reserves. On June 15, 1947, we were married at a local temple in Brooklyn. We spent our honeymoon in Lake Placid and moved into our home in Roslyn. We have four children, six granddaughters and a new great-grandson.
Stan retired from the Army Reserves as a brigadier general in 1984. In 1986, he retired from his job as a full-time professor at Baruch College. I received a bachelor’s degree in art from Pratt Institute before we married and had my own interior design business for 40 years. We recently marked our 69th wedding anniversary and look forward to celebrating our 70th next year.
My mother had one complaint about Stan — he wore T-shirts to family dinners. I would jokingly say, “Mom, if you hadn’t introduced me to Stan, I would be happy today.” I cut the apron strings.
— With Virginia Dunleavy