On August 14th, 1945, I was working as a dental assistant in the office of two brothers:
Dr. J. L. and Dr. J. D. Berk on Lexington Ave. about 35th St. in Manhattan. Dental assistants
then, as now, dress like nurses. The uniform was a white dress, white stockings and shoes, and
a little white nurses cap. The cap was usually left off if you left the office for lunch etc. The job
is still the same to assist the dentist and make the patient comfortable.
On the morning of August 14th, 1945, patients came in and said that the war with Japan may
be over soon. At 1 PM it was my turn to go to lunch. I immediately headed for Times Square to
check on the electric sign on the times building, which reports the latest news. As I stood
watching the sign with the message "VJ", "VJ" going around the building, I was grabbed by a tall
strong sailor and kissed. As soon as he let go, I went back to work. I told my bosses what I had
seen. They instructed me to cancel the rest of the days appointments and close the office.
On the way home, another sailor kissed me, just one on the cheek and went on his way. The sailors were especially happy. They had seen enough of war in the Pacific. George Mendonsa, the kissing sailor from Times Square, appreciated nurses especially. They had provided comfort and care
for the wounded sailors in the Pacific where he had served.
I was not aware that a photograph had been taken until I saw it in a book called
"The Eyes of Eisenstaedt". I immediately wrote to LIFE and asked for a copy of the photograph
since I was the girl in the picture. They did send me the picture and a short letter saying that the
woman had been identified. I did not believe that. The girl in the picture looked too much like me,
the same hairdo, the same figure, the same uniform and, the same little purse.
In 1980 LIFE contacted George and me and invited us to come to Times Square for the 35th
anniversary of V.J. Day. The famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt was there and he took
more photographs. On the Times building, the electric sign said "IT HAD TO BE YOU"
Mr. Eisenstaed also autographed the original picture and apologized.