13.6.2015 | 18:08
In the summer of 1941 a young Bronxonian Jew by the name of Milton Beck was sent all the way up to Iceland to serve his country with the US Air Corps. Such a stay, so close to the North Pole, was difficult for any young man and especially those who were as intensely in love as Milton Beck.
Nope, don´t get me wrong. Milton didn´t give the renowned Icelandic "stúlka" (the Icelandic girl) the interested eye like some of his comrades did while stationed in Iceland. During his long Icelandic summer days and cold and dark polar nights Milton was thinking only about his honey back home in the Bronx. Her name was Ida, Ida Horowitz that is.
Ida Horowitz was a young and a very beautiful girl who Milton had dated in New York before Uncle Sam mercilessly separated them and sent him to stormy and isolated Iceland. In New York he had worked as a truck driver and in Iceland he has probably continued in the same line of work, building military barracks, hangers and machine gun posts. While he was far away from home, she packed ties in a New York tie factory.
As befits a good soldier and an honest young man, Milton had a picture of Ida on his little shelf besides his bed. However, most of his buddies had taped posters of Lana Turner or some inconsequentially clad blondes on the wall besides their bunks in the barracks.
Late in 1942 some smart asses working as editors of The White Falcon, the news-weekly of the US forces in Iceland, came up with the idea to hold a beauty contest. American soldiers stationed in Iceland could send in a picture of their wives or girlfriends to compete for the title The Command Sweat Heart 1941. Milton´s buddies in the barracks sneaked into his holiest of holiest and borrowed a photograph of Ida Horowitz which they submitted to the contest. Sure enough, Ida won the contest. No wonder, she was an extraordinary sexy girl.
The White Falcon spread their story to a wider public and several dailies in the US brought reports from the beauty contest in Iceland. The White Falcon had also published Miss Horowitz address. However, as the story was published in dailies all over the US, so was her address. Ida Horowitz´s fame went around and so did her address, to all corners of the United states. The dailies gave her the extra honorary title "the Queen of Iceland".
Ida suffered great inconvenience for this sudden glory. The main problem was endless letters, postcards and even parcels. The mailman schlepped the post by the sacks up to her small apartment, where she lived with her mother Gussie, who was a poor seamstress. Ida received mail from men from all corners of the United States. Strangers wrote to her asking for an autograph or a photo, and even asked if she fancied marrying them. Ida´s beauty was beginning to drain energy from the US forces in Iceland and elsewhere.
Of course, Milton was practically in a state of shock because of this "situation" on the home front and spent the majority of his last year in Iceland thinking that Ida had possibly received an offer from some irresistible Clarke Gable in a shining Cadillac.
Milton married Ida in 1943
But no, Ida was true to Milton and he returned home in April 1943. They instantly got married in his parent´s apartment. Some dailies brought special reports about the wedding with a large photograph of Ida and Milt. "Maybe after I´m married they´ll stop", she said with a spark of hope in her sexy eyes to the New York Evening Post in 1943 (the photo over the caption is from that interview).
Gradually the letters to Ida stopped coming. Milton and Ida began their life together, and no tales from it have been published in the press since than... except that I suspect that they moved to Florida in the early 1980s and that Milton´s jealous heart suffered a stroke around 1985, when Ida danced twice with Chuck Leibowitz. Chuck never served in the army but became famous as a gigolo and a tango-instructor on Manhattan before he left for Florida due to his asthmatic condition. I feel quite certain that Ida pursued her seasons of bingo and tai chi lesson before she joined Milton in the seventh heaven. But of course, I know nothing about that. Everything after 1943 and even Chuck is a figment of my imagination.
Theoretically they could both still be alive. If they google their names and end up on this remote Icelandic archaeological and historical blog called Fornleifur, they are kindly asked to notify about their whereabouts, so their promotion to historical figures and protected Jewish monuments in Iceland can be slightly corrected.