Cassie and Alfredo Varela Jr., of Lindenhurst, were separated not long after they met in grammar school. Cassie tells how fate brought them together again years later.
I met my future husband, Alfredo, in 1997 when we were both 11. We lived around the corner from one another in North Babylon and rode the same bus to Robert Moses Middle School, where we were both in sixth grade. A friendship quickly developed, and we began spending time together after school, usually just walking around the neighborhood together.
At the end of that school year, my family and I moved to Dix Hills. Considering our age, it seemed a great distance from North Babylon. We did keep in touch by telephone, especially on our birthday, Sept. 4. Alfredo is two hours older than me. We eventually lost touch, only running into each other a handful of times over the next several years.
It wasn't until 2006 that we reconnected. I was at a restaurant in North Babylon where Alfredo was a waiter. At this point we were 19 and in college. Over the next two years we made an effort to keep in touch by email and text message.
In July 2008 we decided to meet for a friendly drink at the Post Office Cafe in Babylon, but as we talked we began to realize there was much more between us than friendship. We then went for a walk around the lake at Argyle Park, holding hands and catching up. We became inseparable after that evening and often returned to Babylon for walks in the park or along the village dock.
Three years later, on Dec. 23, 2011, Alfredo phoned and said there was a package for me on the front step. Inside was a scavenger hunt clue, in rhyme, and a disposable camera so I could take photos along the way. The clue led me to our old school bus stop, where I found a second clue taped to a stop sign leading me to the Babylon Village dock. The clue I found there brought me to Argyle Park, where Alfredo was waiting with a gift box. I opened it to find a note that read, "Will you . . . open the real box." I turned, and Alfredo was on one knee holding an engagement ring. We were married on Aug. 2, 2013, at the East Wind in Wading River.
Alfredo is a production director with JVC Broadcasting in Ronkonkoma and an on-air personality on the WPTY-FM / 105.3 (Party 105) radio broadcast. I'm an elementary school special-education teacher.