Barbara and Joseph Affrunti of Franklin Square celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Barbara recalls the night they met.

 

My friend Arlene and I were in a taxi going to a favorite Forest Hills nightclub in March 1962 when she told me she wanted to try a new place called Pep McGuires in Rego Park.

We got to the club, and it was so crowded I couldn't see the dance floor. Then I noticed a handsome man's head above the crowd as he strolled across the room. He was 6-foot-6, had the sweetest eyes and was holding a pipe up to his lips. I was in love.

I danced a few times with guys who asked, but kept my eyes on that man. I said to Arlene, "If he doesn't ask me to dance, I'll die." About an hour later Arlene and I walked over to the ladies room, and when we got back to the bar, I no longer saw him and panicked.

As I looked around the room for him, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and looked up into his eyes. "Want to dance?" he asked. Arlene elbowed me in my side, and the man I had been waiting for all my 19 years took me in his arms and we danced.

Joe, 20, lived on First Avenue and 65th Street in Manhattan. He had never traveled into Queens until the previous Saturday, when he and his friends happened to go to this club. They decided to come back one more time. I grew up in Howard Beach, Queens, and never went into Manhattan until a few months before when I started a new job there.

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Joe said he first noticed me when I walked to the ladies' room. He asked me out on a date, and I said yes. I wrote my number down for him but didn't write my name.

Two days later my father answered the phone at our house and said "Barbara, I think it's for you, but he wants Margaret." It was Joe. What if my father told him he had the wrong number? I may never have heard from him again, because neither of us would have gone back to that club.

Joe and I were married on May 25, 1963. Arlene was my maid of honor. We have three children and five grandchildren. All the joy of family keeps us going every day.

Joe worked in the hotel industry as director of laundry and valet services, and we stayed at various locations around the country, as well as in Bermuda and the Bahamas.

He retired in 1998. I held a number of jobs, including nursing assistant at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and most recently worked in jewelry sales until I retired in 2009.

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After all these years, Joe still is the man of my dreams.