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Love Story: Clueless blind date made way for the real thing

Bob Kushner and Edith Frierman met in March of 1942. Here, Edith tells the story of how they met.

One day in late March 1942, my girlfriend Natalie was looking for a place in Brooklyn to have her Sweet 16 party. Her boyfriend, Danny, encouraged her to see the social club he belonged to; it was called Club Nocturne.

Back then “social clubs” were where young people met and socialized. They would dance, talk to each other and drink cola. Natalie asked me to go with her. It was a Friday night and Danny mentioned that he set me up with a blind date who was another member of the club. He told me the young man was a good dancer, dressed very sharp, and was nice-looking.

There was an unwritten rule in this social club: If one of the young men spent time with a young lady, he was obligated to walk her home. So my blind date and I met, danced and spoke a bit, but I didn’t care for him too much. Apparently, he felt the same way. He took off after we talked and danced. I was a bit unhappy that he left me in the lurch. I lived pretty far away and found myself in a dilemma.

Along comes the president of the club — Bob Kushner, who introduced himself to me. Now he was a good dancer, a sharp dresser and nice-looking. We spoke, danced and drank a lot of cola, and when I felt it was time to leave the club, he walked me home, being the gentleman he was.

Two days later on a Sunday I happened to be outside my home when I noticed two young men walking in my direction. Well, lo and behold, it was Bob and one of his friends. I guess he remembered the long walk to my house. I invited them in to meet my mother, and two weeks later Bob and I started going steady.

It was during War World II, a tumultuous time, but we were young, going steady and in love. Bob enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943. We were both 18 years old and decided to marry. On July 20, 1944, we got married in a rabbi’s study in Brooklyn.

While Bob was in the service, we lived first in Biloxi, Mississippi, and later in Orlando, Florida. He was discharged in 1946, and we returned to Brooklyn.

By 1953 we had four children; we moved to East Meadow in 1961. Bob was an electrical engineer and worked at a couple of companies before opening his own business. I started working at The Health Insurance of Great New York in Hempstead in 1969. Both of us retired in 1991 and have enjoyed our family, traveling and regular walks on the Jones Beach boardwalk for exercise.

We have four wonderful children and one great daughter-in-law, three great sons-in-law, seven wonderful grandchildren with their respective spouses and significant others, and nine — yes, nine — great-grandchildren.

We celebrated our 75th wedding anniversary on July 20 and enjoyed  a party this month with family and friends at the American Legion Hall in Bellmore.

Bob and I are looking forward to more years of love and marriage.

— With Ann Donahue-Smukler

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Access the online form at newsday.com/lilovestory — or send an anecdote along with your phone number and a photo to Love Story, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747-4250; or email ann.smukler@newsday.com, or call Ann Donahue-Smukler at 631-843-2520. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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