This might look like an ordinary old apartment building, on an ordinary old street, in an ordinary old part of New York, but it’s actually a love story that has brought me 16,670 kms across the globe.
My grandfather, Charles, was born in Washington Heights, a rough neighbourhood on Manhattan’s high ridge. During World War II, he joined the navy which brought him to Melbourne for a short spell. On one of those nights in Melbourne, he met my beautiful grandmother, Adele. They danced together and in the flutter of a heartbeat fell in love.
While Charles had to leave Melbourne, he promised he would be back. And so for three years she waited, with her wedding gown hanging in her wardrobe.
When he returned, my Great-Grandmother said they had to wait some more, just to make sure – so they waited a week and then wedding bells rang!
My grandparents had three bonnie babies together and built a home in Melbourne. But, Charles never returned to Washington Heights. His life was forever in Melbourne.
And so, yesterday I visited Washington Heights and stood outside his childhood home. I wore the eternity ring he gave my grandmother, the one that she then gave to me a year ago and that I slipped back onto her finger in those lost few days she was here. I wrote a note to him and tucked it into a little crevice around the door along with a note from my mum.
Charles and Adele feel so close as I walk the streets of New York – and so does the greatest love story I’ve ever heard of.