When Joan Lademann of Cutchogue first saw her future husband, John, she decided to take matchmaking into her own hands. Joan explains.
I grew up in Cutchogue and attended Mattituck High School. In 1951 I was 16, a junior and a cheerleader for the varsity basketball team. At a game against Southold High School, one of the players on that team caught my eye. I noticed a grammar school friend at the game. He was a student at Southold High, too, and I asked him whether he knew the other boy. He did and told me he was John Lademann. John, 17, was also a junior. My friend said he would arrange for me to meet John, and a date was set up.
On that first date in January, we went to the movies with my girlfriend and her boyfriend. We saw "Halls of Montezuma," and John asked me to marry him. I said yes. We didn't tell anyone, but from then on we continued going out on dates every weekend — to the movies, the roller skating rink or after basketball games for a soda at the Paradise Sweet Shop in Mattituck. That March he took me to Southold's Senior Ball, which was open to juniors, and in May he escorted me to my junior prom.
Two years later, on Jan. 24, 1953, we were married at Our Lady of Ostrabrama Roman Catholic Church in Cutchogue. We have five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
John retired in 1997 after spending 23 years as an investigator for the Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs in Hauppauge. Before that he ran his own electrical contracting business for 16 years. He has been a member of the Cutchogue Fire Department since 1959 and served as chief and commissioner. John keeps busy with DIY projects and enjoys working in his vegetable and flower gardens.
I retired in 2002 after working for 28 years as a guidance secretary at Mattituck High School, a job that I loved. I served as president of the Cutchogue Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary and president of the Sacred Heart Rosary Society at Our Lady of Ostrabrama, and I am still active in both groups.
I enjoy baking, and in the summer I do a great deal of canning, freezing and making jams and jellies from John's homegrown strawberries and blueberries. We enjoy family gatherings, and I still look forward to making my traditional Polish Christmas Eve supper.
We occasionally do some traveling, recently celebrating our 60th anniversary with a trip to our time share in Aruba, and enjoy visiting the casinos.
Sixty years have passed by so quickly. We've seen happy times and sad times, but we always had each other to lean on. We've raised a family, worked toward our retirement and now have time to enjoy each day together.