Love Story: Helen and John Hardiman

Jack and Helen Hardiman as seen in a

Jack and Helen Hardiman as seen in a recent photo. (Credit: Handout)

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Helen and John Hardiman of Oyster Bay celebrate one wedding anniversary, although they were married three times. Helen explains.

 

In the summer of 1960, I was a 20-year-old stewardess for American Airlines and was based in New York. One evening I was flying out to Texas from Idlewild Airport. I'd just stepped off the curb across the street from the terminal when a convertible with two men started making a turn in front of me. The driver stopped to let me cross. I said, "No, you go ahead." He said, "No, you go ahead." By now the traffic light had changed in my favor. He asked me what time my flight was leaving, then said, "I'll meet you inside for a cup of coffee."

I just laughed and proceeded to the terminal. As I walked down the corridor, the convertible's driver was heading toward me.

He said his name was John Hardiman and to call him "Jack." We sat and talked while his friend waited in the car. They had been out for a ride in Jack's new car.

I was from Canton, Ohio, and had been living in Queens for six months. Jack, 27, was from the Bronx, and he invited me to take a ride with him to Jones Beach when I returned. I accepted.

A week later we had our first date at the beach. It was the beginning of many dates, even though I spilled nail polish in the car while he was driving me back to the airport. Six months later I was transferred to Dallas, and then to San Francisco, but my heart was in New York. The distance made our love grow stronger.

We decided to marry, but because I'm Greek Orthodox and he's Roman Catholic we eloped on May 12, 1962, and were wed by a justice of the peace in Yonkers. We still wanted a church wedding, so we were married again that November at Jack's church and at my church the following year. When we applied for a marriage license the third time, the clerk looked at us inquisitively and said, "Do you know that you have already been married twice?" We laughed.

After marrying, I left the airline. We had four beautiful children and have nine precious grandchildren. Jack owned Letterama, a sign business in Plainview. He retired in 1994.

This year we celebrated our 50th anniversary at a dinner at Prime restaurant in Huntington with our family, and in September we all took a trip to Ohio. We didn't feel we needed to renew our vows -- three times is enough.

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