A friend's prank led to a walk down the aisle for Sam and Rose Ann Albanese of Bay Shore. Sam recalls how it all started.
In 1959, while on weekend liberty from submarine duty on the USS Angler SS-240, I returned home to Manhattan's Lower East Side to meet some friends at Lonnie's Coffee Shoppe in Chinatown. My friend Butch introduced me to some girls sitting nearby, and I later asked him for the telephone number of one of the girls.
Butch, a prankster, didn't give me the number of the girl I pointed out, but rather that of another young lady there named Rose Ann. After some confusion and surprise on my part when I called, Rose Ann and I talked for a while and I asked her out on a date. She lived in Little Italy and I lived in the former Five Points area. Though only separated by Canal Street, we'd never met before that day in the coffee shop because of our age difference. I was 20 and Rose Ann, a senior at Cathedral High School, was 17.
Rose Ann accepted the date but then had to cancel because her aunt was going to a wedding and needed a baby-sitter. We planned another date for when I'd be back in port. Two weeks later I took Rose Ann to see the movie "Ben Hur" at Radio City Music Hall. She told me, "I don't want to get serious." I said, "Fine." Little did I know that she could see herself being married to me. Besides my Navy uniform, she was also impressed by my devotion to my family. She always says somehow you just "know" when it's the right one.
Rose Ann and I saw each other whenever I had leave, which was often since I was based in New London, Conn. We got engaged in 1960 and married on April 17, 1962, the happiest day of our lives. I love her as much now as I did back then. My tour of duty was unexpectedly extended three months, so we only had a couple of days for a honeymoon.
In 1969, we moved to Bay Shore. We have four wonderful children and 12 amazing grandchildren. I retired in 1988 as signal maintainer with the New York City Transit Authority, and did security work for an insurance company until 2001. Rose Ann retired from the Suffolk County Department of Labor as a labor technician in 2002. She is an avid painter and takes classes at the Art Student League in Manhattan. I golf, hunt and fish.
We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary this year with family and all those who have meant the most to us at Capt. Bill's Restaurant in Bay Shore. We just returned from a Mediterranean cruise, a gift from our children.