Wartime Wedding – Getting Ready – March 1, 1943

I hadn’t seen Rosemary for over a year, since those couple of days right after Pearl Harbor. I was long gone and didn’t know when I’d ever be back. But ever since I had proposed to her, by letter, and she had written back “That’s a good idea,” we both knew that when—if—I got back, we’d get married.

So there, I was, in Charleston. I was one of the first to go on leave. Sixteen days. I got to the railroad station and I sent a telegram to Rosemary. I’ll be arriving in Penn Station Monday morning, March first. I told her the time.

When I got off the train and onto the concourse, there she was, waiting just where she said she’d be.
“Are we going to get married?” I asked her
“Yes. Everything is all set. We’re going straight to my doctor’s office to get our blood tests.”

Rosemary being Rosemary, everything was planned. We had our blood tests, and the doctor told us what lab to take the vials to. We dropped them off, and went right down to the rectory to talk to her family priest. She had already spoken to him; he had contacted South Weymouth to be sure I was baptized, that I was a good Catholic and not already married or anything. They found out I was a clean-cut guy. She had done all the paperwork.

The priest said, “How about four o’clock Wednesday afternoon.”

Well, I was happy as a lark! I was going to marry the best girl in the world. We stopped in at a photography studio and made arrangements for pictures. Then, we went to the City Clerk’s office and got the marriage license. But we needed a waiver. There was a rule back then about waiting a certain number of days after you get the license before the ceremony could take place. Luckily, Rosemary’s brother Eddie, worked for the tax department in the City of New York, and he knew his way around.

Rosemary called him, and he told us to meet him in a Court House in Flushing. Before we knew it, we were standing in the back of a courtroom, and Eddie was buzz buzzing to different people. Well, I can tell you, I was just amazed at all this. All of a sudden, the judge looked up, saw us there, and called a recess. The guy Eddie had been talking to went up to the bench with the waiver we needed; the judge signed it, and we were all set.

We headed back to Rosemary’s house. Mary Leahy was there, still living with Anne and Eddie and working in the City. But she had stayed home that day. She and Rosemary went over to Best & Company so Rosemary could get a dress. The spring line had just come in.

Mary was terrific—a real organizer, and she got things going. That night Rosemary and Anne and Mary took turns on the telephone.

“There’s a wedding at 4 o’clock Wednesday afternoon. Can you come? Yes or no?”

I called home. Ma said, “Your father and I will be down. We’ll get the midnight train Tuesday night.”