Cheryl Pobliner of Baldwin recalls the long journey she and her husband, Joe, took from being best friends in grade school to their first date.
My family and I had just moved from Queens to Marshall Avenue in Lynbrook in July 1957. While I was playing outside, a cute, curly-haired boy came over to say hi. His name was Joey, and he was 7 years old just like me! He lived two houses away.
We became instant friends, playing in each other's yards, riding bikes and just hanging out together. We went to West End Elementary School that year and wound up in the same third-grade class. It was there that our relationship really began. I shared everything with Joey, most notably the chickenpox. He was my best friend.
Then we started to drift apart during our time in junior high school and later at Lynbrook High School. We sat at the same table at our senior prom but with different dates.
After graduating in 1968, I attended Adelphi University in Garden City. Joe went to Northeastern University in Boston and earned an engineering degree. He returned to begin his career and to study for his master's degree in business management at C.W. Post. I was back home working as a substitute teacher at our old elementary school. We'd see each other every so often and wave hello.
In August 1974, I had just returned from a trip to Israel, where I volunteered at a kibbutz for four months. Joe was outside washing his car, and this time I was the one who walked over to say hi. We talked, and it seemed like old times. Joe asked me out, and that was our first date. We went to dinner and then to a park in West Hempstead. It was very romantic.
We began to date, but I had made plans to move to Maryland, where I hoped to find a teaching job. Before I left, Joe and I went out again and talked until the early morning hours about everything. We both knew that something special took place that evening.
After a week in Maryland, we spoke on the phone, and I decided to move back to Lynbrook. Joe proposed to me a month later, and we were married on June 1, 1975. Both of us were 25. We moved to Baldwin, where we raised our family.
Both our sons are happily married to wonderful women. We have one grandson and another grandchild on the way. I teach pre-K in Oceanside, and Joe is the director of environmental services at a hospital in Manhattan.
Knowing one another for 55 years and being married for 37 years, we can truly say that we are living "happily ever after."