Mary and Albert Pennino of Huntington celebrated 70 years of marriage this month. Mary recalls how she met her husband.
It all started in 1936. I was 13, covered with poison ivy and calamine lotion and looking forlornly out the window of my uncle's home in South Huntington. That's when I saw Al, 14, in the window of the house next door, looking just as pathetic, covered with white calamine lotion, too. We laughed.
That was the first time he was friendly to me. Previously, he always looked at me when I arrived at my uncle's and said, "Oh great, now we're gonna have bad weather."
For many years, my sister Anne and I would spend a few weeks each summer in South Huntington. I loved visiting what was then considered "the country." This was a vacation for us; my whole family worked at my father's food market on Westchester Avenue in the Bronx, including me when I was not in school. Al lived with his mother and five brothers. He worked at local farms during school breaks.
The following summer, Anne, who was six years older than me, had a date and asked me and Al to come along. They were going dancing at the Pig's Whistle in Bayville. Her date drove while Al and I sat in the back, talking about high school classes. Once there, Al and I danced together.
On our drive home, he asked me a question and as I turned to answer, he kissed me! Then he said, "Mary, I'm going to marry you." I was surprised and skeptical. "That's not you talking," I replied. "That's the moon talking. You won't even remember my name by next summer."
When I went home to the Bronx, we stayed in contact through pictures and lots of letters; he would send me newspaper articles of his feats in sports at Central and Northport high schools, from basketball to pole vaulting. I sent him a cute photo of me holding a puppy. He had it made into a color picture, which he treasured.
Occasionally, Al would drive to the Bronx, when he could afford it. When World War II broke out and gas was rationed, we realized we wouldn't see each other and decided to wed. I was 19 and he was 20 when we married on May 17, 1942.
We both got jobs with Grumman in Hicksville; I worked in the office, and Al was a mechanic and assistant foreman.
In 1948, we started a small equipment rental business; six years later, we had a store in Huntington Station. I took care of customers while Al handled the rentals and made repairs. We sold Island Rental in 1979.
We have been blessed with a wonderful son, a precious daughter-in-law, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. We live on a wooded property (which surprisingly has little poison ivy) and enjoy taking care of all the animals who find their way to us.
Through 70 years of marriage, we have done everything together. In June, we plan on celebrating our anniversary with family and friends at the Harbor Club in Huntington.