Dave and Dorothy Rosen, formerly of Woodmere, recently marked their 69th wedding anniversary. Dave recalls the night they met at a big-band dance.
I was 24 and living on the Lower East Side in 1946. My friends referred to me as a “tummler,” a Yiddish term for someone who makes the plans for a group and sets things into motion.
One night in February, my best buddy Tootsie and I were hanging out at the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan. The hotel held a dance every other week that featured a big band. It wasn’t long before I spotted a pretty blonde and devised a plan where Tootsie would ask her to dance and I would cut in on them.
He agreed, and after they danced a few turns I came over and tapped him on the shoulder. Now I was dancing with the pretty blonde, Dorothy Newman from Far Rockaway. She was 18 and worked as a secretary for a leopard skin importer. She and her friend had taken the Long Island Rail Road into the city. This was the first time they’d attended a dance at the hotel.
We danced and laughed and had fun the rest of the evening. Before we left to go home, I asked for her telephone number. She gave it to me, but when I didn’t write it down, she doubted I’d remember it and later told her friend that she probably would never hear from me. I’ve always had a good memory for numbers and called her a week later. For our first date, I took Dorothy to a jazz club in Manhattan and brought along eight of my pals.
We continued seeing each other, usually twice a week. I’d take the subway from the Lower East Side up to Penn Station, and then the LIRR to Far Rockaway. Many times we would take the train back into Manhattan for our date, usually to see a movie and have dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was a long trip for me, and a few times I stayed over at Dorothy’s parents’ house. On those occasions, her father would get up at 4 on a Saturday morning to go fishing. He never said anything, but he would intentionally be noisy, slamming doors and moving pots and pans.
Dorothy and I exchanged vows on June 15, 1947, at the Broadway Central Hotel in Manhattan. We first lived in Washington Heights, then in Far Rockaway. In 1961 we moved to Woodmere. We have three children, six wonderful grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Dorothy went back to school and received an associate’s degree in music from Nassau Community College in 1970. She became a successful piano teacher, giving private lessons for more than 35 years. She retired in 1997. I worked in the garment center in Manhattan and retired as a merchandise manager in 1988. We now live in Florida but spend summers in Long Beach. In June, Dorothy and I celebrated our 69th anniversary over lunch.
To this day, at age 94, I remember Dorothy’s telephone number. FA7-3351 is etched in my brain.
— With Virginia Dunleavy