Jeanne Ferguson of Rockville Centre recalls the day she met her husband, Paul.
It began in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, at Hinsch's ice cream parlor, in the spring of 1956. I was there with friends from St. Brendan's High School -- an all-girls school -- when I overheard a boy commenting about my crinoline skirt, which made a noticeable rustling sound. He was with a group of boys from St. Michael's High School.
They started talking to us. His name was Paul and he also lived in Bay Ridge, but we hadn't met before. We saw them several more times at Hinsch's, and that summer we set up a group date to Ocean Tide pool at Coney Island beach. Paul was 17 and I was 16. The following winter I asked Paul to go to a school dance, and for some crazy reason he said yes.
One day in 1960, Paul took me to Radio City Music Hall to see the film "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" with Doris Day. During the movie he proposed.
After graduation we married on Aug. 26, 1961. I taught middle school in Brooklyn for two years and later was a social worker in the New York City schools, retiring in 1988. Paul worked for a bank, then at Drexel Burnham Lambert on Wall Street for many years before starting his own investment firm, Brooke Securities, in Manhattan. He retired in 2010.
He always had time to coach the children -- we have four daughters and two sons -- in basketball, baseball and even soccer. Today we have a daughter-in-law, three sons-in-law and seven terrific grandchildren -- with twin grandchildren on the way.
As a family we have traveled to Florida, Bermuda and Ireland, but Vermont was always our favorite place. Last year we went back -- all 19 of us -- for our 50th anniversary. We had a celebration dinner at a restaurant. The next day our family gathering had an unexpected guest, Tropical Storm Irene. We were without electricity, cellphones and landlines for 36 hours. We cooked our meals on the barbecue grill and made the best of it.
We have had a wonderful life filled with family, friends and faith. Over the years we have been active in the parish of St. Agnes Cathedral. Our faith and prayers have kept us going through some hard times. I'm writing this sitting by the ocean at Point Lookout, another favorite family place, and I'm thinking: Not bad for two kids from Brooklyn.