08 Feb Vintage: Eddie ❤ Florie
Submitted by Jason Sferlazza
On a warm Saturday afternoon in late June,1936, my Grandpa Eddie was a refrigerator technician who worked in Coney Island. My Grandma Florie was a beauty queen from Jersey City. By fate, Gramps pulled his mirror shined Oldsmobile Convertible out of a parking space on West 19th, right where my grandmother and her sister were walking from the boardwalk. My grandfather was a regular at Ravenhall’s baths, and he and a friend had just come from swimming there.
He noticed the two ladies looking at the shiny car smiling. My grandmother complimented the car, and Gramps complimented her smile. So they chatted a bit, then my grandfather asked if she wanted to go for a drive around. She was a bit surprised, but her sister gave her a nudge and they got in and Gramps drove them all around Coney Island and Brighton, showing them the sights. Finally, they parked again and set out on foot. They went on the Wonder Wheel and the Virginia Reel, and then went across to Luna Park together. It got dark, the lights came on, and they enjoyed each others company till late.
My grandfather wanted to take my grandmother to Steeplechase, but her sister, savvy to the intimacy of the rides there,and not too particularly attracted to gramp’s friend, put a stop to that. My grandmother promised him they would go next time if he picked her up and brought her home.
They started seeing each other every Saturday and my grandfather got my grandmother a pass for Ravenhall’s too, so every Saturday they would go there early and spend the entire day and evening together at Coney Island, swimming, laughing, and going on rides, especially the Steeplechase, because grandma loved wrapping her arms around my grandfather and holding on for dear life as the horses sped around the track. Gramps was a very strong man and always hit the high hitter up to the bell, and always knocked all the pins down in the throw game. By end of summer, grandma had a whole collection of prizes he had won for her.
They fell very much in love, and kissed for the first time while stopped at the top of the Wonder Wheel. That became their favorite ride, and finally at the end of the season, again at the top of the Wonder Wheel,with all the bright lights and excitement of Coney Island surrounding them below, Gramps asked my grandmother to marry him and of course she said yes,
otherwise I would not be here writing this! To this day, the Wonder Wheel is dear to my heart,and when I ride it I always think of my Grandparents, now long gone, and the story they passed down to me of that magical romantic summer, 1936.