Peg and Bill Marion of East Northport spent more time apart than together during their courtship. Peg explains.
In August 1949, Bill and I met by a chance "change of plans." He and his friend decided not to go to a party in Hempstead, their hometown, and instead headed to Rockaway Beach's 103rd Street in Queens, better known as "Irish town."
My friend and I went there frequently to socialize, listen to music and dance at places along the boardwalk -- all for free! I lived on 114th Street where my mother, a widow, ran a boardinghouse for summer tourists.
We ended up at the Dublin House, and Bill and his friend came over and asked us to dance. Later, they walked us home, and before he left, Bill asked whether he could take me out sometime. I gave him my number but didn't really expect to hear from him. A 34-mile round-trip drive for a date would be asking a lot.
But he called a couple of weeks later and took me to the Jones Beach boardwalk, followed by dinner at Linck's Log Cabin Inn in Centerport. He was 23 and I was 19.
Dating was infrequent at first, but by the following summer we knew something was developing and started spending more time together. The mileage on Bill's car kept going up because we'd usually drive back to Nassau County to the San Suzanne in Mineola or the Sunrise Village in Bellmore, both restaurant/nightclubs, or to a friend's party. He would pick me up at 7 p.m. and I'd have to be home by midnight. Once there, my mother would flick the front lights on and off until I got inside.
Bill had enlisted in the Marines during World War II and served in the South Pacific, China and then Japan. He later joined the Marine Reserves. His unit was activated the following year with the start of the Korean War and he was assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. I'd see him whenever he came home on a long weekend leave. We got engaged in October 1950, just before he shipped out to the Caribbean for landing maneuvers.
Until his discharge in December 1951, our courtship was long distance. Bill says because of that time away we hardly knew each other when we walked down the aisle April 19, 1952. We were married in St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Belle Harbor, followed by a reception at Patricia Murphy's Candlelight Restaurant in Manhasset.
We bought our house in East Northport in September 1954. Today we have a wonderful family -- four children, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. We are celebrating our 60th anniversary this month with family and friends at the Garden Grill in Smithtown. Bill retired as a detective with the Suffolk County Police Department in 1981. I had a wonderful career teaching third, fourth and fifth grades in the Commack School District. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. We were tested concerning this and it sure looks like it worked for us.