Marie Broadhurst of Massapequa Park recalls the mixup that led her to future husband Irving.
My story begins after World War II in June 1946. I lived in Ozone Park, Queens, and was working in Jamaica as a switchboard operator for the New York Telephone Company when my girlfriend and I decided to play hooky from work. I was 17.
We headed to New York Harbor, where U.S. naval ships were anchored and open to the public. We wanted to see the USS Missouri, the ship that the documents declaring Japan’s surrender and ending World War II were signed on.
A water taxi took us out on the harbor but brought us to the wrong ship. We ended up boarding the aircraft carrier USS Princeton, where a handsome sailor approached us and introduced himself as Seaman 1st Class Irving Broadhurst, from Norwalk, Connecticut. I introduced myself as Marie Rifino. He then proudly said, “I man the magazines.” I innocently asked, “What magazine do you work for?” He laughed and explained that “magazines” were torpedo compartments.
Irving showed us around the ship and told us about the operations. He joined the Navy in 1942 and served on the USS Princeton in the Pacific theater. He was 22.
Before we left, Irving asked if he could see me again. We met the following day for lunch and saw the film “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Over the next month, we saw each other almost every day and soon fell in love. Then Irving’s ship sailed out to San Diego.
He came back home on leave two months later and I met his family. Irving would fly or drive back to New York as often as possible to see me.
After asking my father for permission to marry me, Irving told me he was being assigned to the USS Rendova in San Diego. “So let’s get married and make a life for us together there,” he said.
We got engaged on April 26, 1947. That November, I was honored with a bridal shower at my parents’ house that was thrown by my bridesmaids.
On Jan. 4, 1948, Irving and I were married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Richmond Hill, followed by a “football” reception at Webster Post Hall in Ozone Park. We took a Greyhound bus to California and made a stop in Hollywood, where we went to The Brown Derby and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Irving was discharged in November 1948 and we moved back to Queens. We bought a house in Lynbrook in 1955 and raised our three children there. I was a dressmaker and Irving worked for Lumex in Long Island City assembling hospital equipment.
In 1961, we moved to our present home in Massapequa Park. Irving worked for Massapequa Park Village as a park attendant. He retired in 1986. I returned to the phone company and retired as a supervisor in 1989. I also served as president of the Nassau Council of the Telephone Pioneers of America, a volunteer group of former and active telephone company employees.
Irving enjoys painting pictures of lighthouses from different states. I enjoy doing crafts, sewing, quilting and knitting.
We have a lot to be thankful for and were blessed to have celebrated 70 years of marriage and Irving’s 94th birthday in January with our children, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
To this day, Irving still remembers the chartreuse outfit I wore when we met. I was meant to board the wrong ship for all the right reasons.
— With Virginia Dunleavy