Edith Shain, now famous for being the subject of “one of the most memorable photographs from World War Two,” died on Sunday at 91. You know the photo, right?:
Now I’ve seen this photo about a million times — and was among the 50% of college girls who had this poster up in her dorm room (there was a poster sale on campus, OKAY?) — but I never knew the story behind it. As I went to post this, I wondered if she ended up marrying that guy, or something equally adorable. Turns out, she didn’t even know him. According to le Wikipedia, “In August 1945, Shain was working at Doctor’s Hospital in New York City as a nurse when she and a friend heard on the radio that World War II had ended. They went to Times Square where all the celebrating was and as soon as she arrived on the street from the subway, the sailor grabbed her in an embrace and kissed her.” As one Gawker commenter pointed out, that almost makes the story more amazing; there Edith was, minding her own business, when all of a sudden she becomes part of this iconic moment, captured forever on film.
Rest in peace, Edith, and thanks for being such a good sport. Next time a stranger tries to give me a smooch on the sidewalk, I’ll go with it, and hope someone’s around to snap the picture.
[Posted by Mallory]