Patricia Jeffrey of Massapequa Park recalls her courtship with her future husband, Ralph.
I was introduced to Ralph in 1963 by a mutual friend at Hunter College in the Bronx. I was Patricia Brady back then.
We were both from the Bronx and began hanging out with the same group of friends at school. He was 18 and I was 20.
Ralph was a kind and gentle soul, but I did not consider him as a potential boyfriend since he was a freshman and I was a junior.
However, fate stepped in. I bowled on a neighborhood league with my older brother. When he was drafted into the Army that fall, I began looking for a new partner. Ralph told me he bowled and agreed to join our team.
We got to know each other really well on those bowling nights. The league members were a mix of all ages, and Ralph, who is quite charming and a good sport, easily fit in with everyone.
Over the next two months we began falling in love. We had our first date on Nov. 30, 1963. Ralph took me to the Loew’s Paradise Theatre off Fordham Road to see “The V.I.P.s.,” a film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Ralph, a true romantic, asked me to marry him a few weeks later. Although I knew I loved him, I had to say no. I was concerned that he was so young and inexperienced.
After many long talks about marriage and our plans for life, I felt convinced that we were right for each other. We became engaged on Christmas Eve 1964, and were married on Aug. 21, 1965, at Holy Rosary Church in the Bronx, two months after I graduated. We flew to Miami Beach for our honeymoon.
We found an apartment near campus while Ralph took courses at night and worked during the day.
When he graduated in 1969 he was awarded a fellowship to the University of Chicago to do graduate work in political science. I was so proud of him.
We left for Chicago with our two young children and a baby on the way. It was a wonderful experience. We lived in the married student housing, with families from all over the world. Ralph completed his doctoral studies in 1973 and we returned to New York. He was awarded his PhD in 1975.
In 1996 he retired from MetLife in Manhattan as a vice president. I worked for a short time, but my focus was on my family and creating a loving home. I also did volunteer work with Island Harvest from 1991 to 2000.
We enjoy traveling, working out at the gym and still go out on dates every week. Last August, our three wonderful children, our lovely daughter-in-law and our delightful grandson surprised us with an elegant 50th anniversary party at the Stone Mill at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
— With Virginia Dunleavy