Sebastian "Bud" and Norma Venza of Ridge celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this year. Bud recalls how it all started.
I remember every detail, like it was yesterday! In 1938 I was 15, and my family had moved from Corona, Queens, to Jackson Heights. I didn't know why we moved, but I look at it now as fate. We bought a house right across the street from Norma's family. She was 10, had a Buster Brown haircut and was constantly riding her bike up and down the block. I became friends with Norma's brother, Pete, and I only knew her as Pete's little sister, nothing more.
Four years later, during World War II, I went into the Army. I was a radio operator, stationed stateside with the 262nd Armored Field Artillery from 1942 to 1945. Upon my return to New York, the first thing I did was visit the Old Homestead, a dance hall in Jackson Heights, with a friend to check out the "babes." I spotted this beautiful, tall blonde and was blown away. I asked my friend, "Do you know that girl?" He replied, "Buddy, that's Pete's sister." I couldn't believe this was the same little girl I saw riding her bike and playing with her toys!
It was love at first sight for me. I was so nervous, but finally got up the nerve and asked her to dance. Having her in my arms that evening, I knew this was the woman that I would be with for the rest of my life.
We were married on Nov. 9, 1947. We settled in Mineola, where we raised our four children. In 1997 we both decided to retire. Norma drove a school bus for 15 years, and I was a tool and dye maker with A.K. Allen Co. in Mineola. We sold our home and moved to Ridge, where we enjoy each and every day.
This year our family came together to celebrate our 65th wedding anniversary at Savino's Hideaway Restaurant in Mount Sinai. We all had a wonderful time, and there I had the opportunity to reminisce about the good old days with my entire family.
It has been 65 years, and not only are we still very much in love, we are truly best friends. This lifetime of love has also created 10 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and another on the way. We are so proud of each and every one of them and hope that we have taught them a life's lesson of love, honesty, compassion and, most importantly, respect.