Good friends Ellen McCaffrey-Olsen and Dennis Olsen, of East Meadow, were given a second chance at love. Ellen explains.
Dennis and I met in 1974 in a social studies class at New Hyde Park Memorial High School. We were both 14. We became good friends and dated through high school and college. Dennis always made me smile. When we graduated, Dennis went to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. He stayed in Colorado for a few years after finishing college. I graduated from St. John's University, married and moved to East Meadow.
Dennis moved back to New Hyde Park in the mid-1980s and got married. We each had two daughters and one son.
Unfortunately, my marriage ended in divorce. In 2004, when I found out Dennis had also divorced a few years earlier, I contacted his mother. I told her I was trying to get the old gang together and wanted to get in touch with Dennis. She took my number and passed it along to him. He called me and we met for drinks. We went out on a few dates, but Dennis was not ready for another relationship.
I started going back to New Hyde Park, which is a tight-knit community, for various functions, taking along my friend or my oldest daughter. It was nice to see old friends, and I would occasionally run into Dennis.
We kept in touch, and about a year later we began dating more often and started falling in love. Our children were still young, and we didn't want them to know how we felt until they got used to the idea of us being together. Instead of saying "I love you" in front of them we'd use a code, "MTYK," short for "more than you know." We were at the beach one day and wrote it in the sand. My youngest daughter finally broke the code, and we admitted then that we were in love.
In 2012, at our annual Thanksgiving morning football game, a decades-old tradition played between family and friends at the New Hyde Park Memorial High School field, Dennis proposed to me outside the place we met 38 years ago.
We married on Feb. 14 at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Plainview. My son Matt walked me down the aisle. He and Dennis' son DJ were both best man. Dennis' daughters Kaitlyn and Lauren and my daughters, Ashley and Brianne, were all maids of honor. We hosted a luncheon at La Famiglia in Plainview, followed by a celebration at the Plattdeutsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square. We honeymooned at Secrets in Jamaica, West Indies.
Dennis works at his family's business, July Auto, in Garden City Park. He is also an EMT volunteer with the Garden City Park Fire Department. I'm assistant to the chairman of surgery at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola. I always wear the necklace Dennis gave me that bears the letters "MTYK."