JoAnna DeMartini of Coram recalls chasing future husband, Peter, until he caught her.
I was a junior at W.T. Clarke High School in Westbury in 1962 when I read an article about Peter DeMartini in the school paper. Peter, a senior, played soccer and was captain of the basketball team. We were both 17 and lived in Westbury. I knew then that I wanted to spend my life with him.
Since he wasn’t aware of me, JoAnna Buccieri, I began following him around school, going to all his games and the school dances afterward. I’d even walk my dog past his best friend’s house in the hope that he’d be there.
In June, Peter finally noticed me at a party. We talked and started going out on group dates. That fall we were going steady.
After he graduated, Peter attended Nassau Community College and worked part time as a stock boy at the Continental Candy factory in Westbury. Then, suddenly, he and his friend enlisted in the Army!
I was heartbroken. They left for Fort Dix, New Jersey, in March 1963. His family would often drive to the base with home-cooked Italian meals for him, and they always invited me along.
Peter was sent to Korea in November and served with the 4th Signal Battalion as a switchboard repairman. We wrote to each other, and when he returned home for Christmas in 1964 we got engaged. He was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia.
On Oct. 30, 1965, Peter came home on leave for our wedding at St. Brigid’s Church in Westbury. It took three trips to Town Hall to get our marriage license. First we were told that Peter, who was 20, was underage and needed a signed consent form from his parents. On the second trip, Peter’s blood work was not accepted because it was processed out of state. Our doctor had to sign off on the test. We were finally issued a license on our third try. We honeymooned in Miami and returned to the base together. I stayed there with Peter for a month. He was discharged in 1966 and we returned to Long Island and bought my family’s home in Westbury. I became a full-time mom and later worked with a child-care service in Syosset.
Peter retired in 2004 as a customer service foreman with Verizon in Garden City. We moved to Bretton Woods in Coram in 2006, where we play golf and cards and belong to many different clubs.
Our four wonderful children, two terrific daughters-in-law, two great sons-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren joined us on a cruise to Bermuda in July 2015 to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We also renewed our vows on Oct. 30 at the Church of St. Margaret of Scotland in Selden.
Looking back, we were just young kids in love. We took a chance on marriage and it was the best choice we ever made. Peter and I are soul mates.
— With Virginia Dunleavy