Marty and Josephine "Jo" Raia of Franklin Square had trouble finding each other for their first date. Jo explains.
We met in 1960 at a wedding reception in Astoria, Queens. I was with my parents; my mother knew the bride's mother. Marty was the bride's cousin and was there with his family. We were all seated at the same table, Marty and I at opposite ends, diagonally across from each other. When my mother moved the table's floral arrangement off center, I had a feeling she wanted Marty to get a better look at me.
I was 19, and Marty was 21. He had been home six months after serving 27 months with the Army Corps of Engineers near Anchorage, Alaska, working as a supply specialist in the fire department. During the reception, he asked me to dance. We felt a mutual attraction right away, and he asked if he could call me.
That Monday morning, he phoned me at work and asked me out to dinner that night. I agreed, and Marty told me he would call back later to let me know what time and where we would meet.
I was on my afternoon break when my friend came running over to me. "Marty called! He'll meet you at Schrafft's at 5:30. Here's the address," she said excitedly, and handed me a piece of paper. "Oh, Schrafft's; I know where that is," I said and put the paper in my bag, never looking at the address. After all, how many Schrafft's are there, I thought.
I left work at 5 p.m. and headed to the Schrafft's near my office and the bank where Marty was a teller. An hour later, there was no sign of Marty, so I went to a phone booth and called my mother. I told her Marty and I must have missed each other and that I was coming home. She seemed disappointed.
As I approached the subway entrance, I noticed a man on the next block walking very quickly toward me. He was too far away for me to see his face, but something told me to wait. It was Marty, and he had been waiting for me at another Schrafft's location. I called my mother to tell her what happened, and she sounded happy for me.
Instead of eating at Schrafft's, we decided to try an Italian restaurant Marty had heard about, but when we got there it was closed. We ended up going to a pizzeria in his old neighborhood, in the Murray Hill section. After dinner, we took the train to Willets Point. Marty had parked his Buick, "Nellie Belle," there, and he drove me home.
We started dating and, from then on, have never left each other's side. I truly bless the day I met him. We married on Oct. 28, 1962. We love our two children, their spouses and our four wonderful grandchildren. God has been good to us, and I thank him every day for giving us a healthy and happy life.
Marty retired in 2000 as a vice president at Guy Carpenter & Co., a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan, a professional services firm. I retired in 2006 as a receptionist in admissions at Adelphi University.