Not long after they met, Ann and Jimmy Smith of Albertson made a bet with each other. Ann recalls the wager.
In 1958, I was a secretary at Equitable Paper Bag Co. in Long Island City when this new guy, Jimmy Smith, started working as an apprentice printer. He'd recently arrived from Dublin and lived with his aunt and uncle in Sunnyside, Queens. We were both 21.
He kept showing up in my office for supplies, or to ask a question, or to tell me a joke. I didn't know why he was doing this, and I was too busy to find out. Then Jimmy started asking me out. He was very nice and I thought he was cute, but I had a policy of never dating anyone from work.
The company had a bowling league that everyone was expected to join. One time at the bowling alley Jimmy asked me out again. When I refused yet again, he made a deal with me: If he bowled a 200 game, I would have to go out with him, and if he failed, he would never bother me again. This was a win-win situation for me. I had seen him bowl; he would be lucky to bowl a 100.
Who knew that Saint Jimmy was the patron saint of bowling?! He bowled a 207 game and won me as a prize! We went to the movies on our first date.
I was Italian and from an Italian neighborhood in Queens Village. I never knew anyone before who was Irish. The first time my mother invited Jimmy to Sunday dinner she served corned beef and cabbage. She had to ask a lady at church what Irish people liked to eat. We had a lot in common, though, and fell in love.
Jimmy and I got engaged and saved for two years to bring his parents over for the wedding. On May 12, 1962, we were married at Sacred Heart Church in Cambria Heights. It changed our lives forever. Our families have been visiting back and forth between Ireland and America ever since. We had three beautiful children (one of whom is deceased), and today have a wonderful son-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter.
This year we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Church of St. Aidan in Williston Park, where we renewed our wedding vows with all of our wedding party at the altar. We continued the celebration with a reception for family and friends at the Knights of Columbus Hall in New Hyde Park.
Jimmy retired in 1998 as director of the Office of Board Analysts with the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. I retired in 1994 as a secretary at Incarnation School in Jamaica, Queens.