Dianne Santarpia of Farmingville recalls the day she met her husband, Michael, and the slight push he needed to ask her on a date.
I met Michael in October 1980. My friend arranged for us to meet at a local politician’s headquarters in Bay Shore where she and Michael were campaign volunteers. Michael was earning credit for his government class.
We were both high school seniors. I went to West Islip High School, and he went to our rival, East Islip High School. I thought he was cute and burly.
My friend told me later that Michael liked me, but when he was too shy to ask me to his senior homecoming dinner dance, I went to the dance with another one of his friends. It didn’t take long before he finally asked me to go to the movies.
Little did I know how he earned the money to pay for that first date! Years later I found out that he went to a local billiards hall and checked out the ‘‘prospects.’’ With no money in his pocket, Michael found a player to bet. Well, he found the right guy because he won the game and left with $10. He is still a good pool player.
We started going out regularly. The following year he went on to East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, and I went to Kent State University in Ohio. We’d see each other during school breaks.
Michael has always been a hard worker. He worked in kitchens and bars and clubs at all hours of the day and night while going to school. He was able to save up all the money we needed to get married. I worked as a waitress and substitute teacher. It took a few years, but we eventually graduated college in 1986.
We were married on Aug. 7, 1988. Michael has been a Suffolk County police officer since 1989, working as a Police Academy recruit trainer since 1995. I have been a kindergarten teacher in the Longwood school district since 1988. We both still thoroughly enjoy our careers. We have a daughter and a son who both make us proud every day. This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary, our 50th birthdays, our son’s high school graduation and our daughter’s college graduation. We will continue on for many years to come. And I wish for our children what I have found: someone who adores me.