As teenagers, Steve and Denise Apicello of Floral Park discovered that absence does make the heart grow fonder. Denise explains.

 

It all started in the summer of 1970 in Elmont, where I grew up. I was 14 and saw this cute guy cleaning windows at the nearby Midway candy store. I couldn't take my eyes off him. I knew the store owners, the Apicello family, and went inside. Their 18-year-old son, Benny, was there and I asked him about the cute guy. "That's my younger brother, Steve," he said. "I want you to meet him."

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Benny introduced us; I was Denise Frisina then. Steve had been living in Jamaica, Queens, with his sister after the family moved to Elmont. This was his first day back with them. He was also 14 and was going to be in my ninth-grade class at Alva T. Stanforth Junior High School that fall.

I immediately told my best friend, Ann, that I was going to marry Steve someday. It was love at first sight for me. Over the next eight months, I talked to him whenever I got a chance, but Steve was only interested in playing baseball and handball with his friends. I knew their hangouts -- the Westgate luncheonette, the arcade and food court in Great Eastern Mills department store, or his family's store -- and I'd just show up, usually with Ann. We would "happen" to run into Steve all the time.

In March 1971 I went to Florida for two weeks. When I returned, Steve asked me out on a date. He later told me he realized how much he missed me after I came home. He took me to a pizzeria on Meachum Avenue. Most of our dates were spent walking all over Elmont and Franklin Square. We'd go to the movies or out to eat at local places. Friendly's in Franklin Square was our favorite.

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Eight years later we were married on April 7, 1979, my parents' wedding anniversary. Last month we celebrated our 36th anniversary and their 59th with our family. We have two beautiful, loving girls and a wonderful son-in-law. We love hanging out with our children and spent most of our family vacations together in the Lake George area in the Adirondacks.

Steve is a construction contractor and has had his own business since he was 18. Now he and his partner own Integrity Masonry and Concrete in New Hyde Park. I was a hairdresser before becoming a stay-at-home mom -- I thank him so much for that -- and have been working with Steve at his office.

Steve and Denise Apicello on their wedding day, April 7, 1979. Photo Credit: Apicello family

We have so much happiness in our life, great children, great family and great friends. Steve is the love of my life and my best friend. We still have so much fun together.