My story begins at 86 years old, after my husband had been dead for three years.

I wasn’t looking to meet a companion. I admit I was lonely; I had been a caregiver for 20 years.

Then, lo and behold, I met a man last year who is 94 years young.

How I met him is a story within itself. I had gone to Citibank to order checks when a man, who looked to be in his 60s, started to speak to me. My ego became inflated. Why would this young man have a conversation with me? It must be my dynamic personality.

He then stated I would be good for his father. My bubble burst!

He told me that his father was 90 years old (usually it’s the women who lie about their age!). He then proceeded to take a picture of me to show to his father. I encouraged this gesture with a hand on my hip and a smile on my face. I would have preferred an 8-by-10 photo, but I am sure it was wallet-size. He then asked me for my telephone number and proceeded to call his father.

I felt a little awkward. All the bank tellers were laughing and giggling. I was reminded of a song from the musical "Fiddler on the Roof": "Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!"

That week his father called me, and we made a date to meet at a local diner. He knew what I looked like, but I was in the dark as to what he looked like.

I arrived at the diner first and sat near the window. I recognized him instantly. He was breathing and walking with a cane. What more could I ask for?

Before going out on this first date, I spoke to friends who were seasoned widows. They told me to order a muffin because we would be meeting for what’s called a "muffin date." I thought that was silly.

I knew I would be hungry since we were meeting at 4 p.m., so I ordered salmon. I offered to pay for my meal, but he would not let me. (If I had known that, I would have ordered more!) To me, him paying for my meal was a sign he was a gentleman.

I enjoyed that first date, and now we have been dating nine months. Now that I am really showing, how do I tell our families?

Did I mention that I am Jewish and he is Italian? He says "mangia," and I make reservations. It must be all the Italian food — pasta, pasta and more pasta!

He is kind, gentle and giving; he has a phenomenal memory and still drives! And he laughs at my jokes — both old and new.

He makes me feel young, and I make him feel younger. I have a confession to make: Last week I "stripped" in front of him, taking out my dentures. These days, I think of foreplay as fourscore and 70 years ago!

This is the last chapter of my life and, so far, it is a good one. Since I met this man, the "short-gevity" of our lives scares me. I try to take each day one at a time.

To all the geriatric lovers out there, I say "go for it while you can!" Life is a bowl of cherries — grab the ripe ones.

Anne Getz,

Huntington Station

YOUR STORY Letters and essays for My Turn are original works (of up to 600 words) by readers that have never appeared in print or online. Share special memories, traditions, friendships, life-changing decisions, observations of life or unforgettable moments for possible publication. Email act2@newsday.com. Include name, address, phone numbers and photos if available. Edited stories may be republished in any format.