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My Turn: Stories of love straight from the heart

Susan and Robert Davniero of Lindenhurst married on

Susan and Robert Davniero of Lindenhurst married on July 1, 1979 -- five months after their mothers set them up on a blind date. Credit: Susan and Robert Davniero

These readers know you don't have to wait until Feb. 14 to get that loving feeling.


Blind dates really do work. Just ask my mother. Bob and his family shared a two-family house with my aunt and uncle's family. At a luncheon in February 1979 that both our mothers attended, the exchange of family photographs opened the conversation. Catching my mother's focus was a photo of a single son. My mother thought him picture- perfect for me. Phone numbers changed hands, and my mother warned me to expect his call. When Bob phoned, I was reluctant to meet him, given the failure of legendary blind dates. However, remembering Mom's advice to go on the date and her pushy persuasion, I surrendered.

My plan was to go on one date to make Mom happy. I decided I wouldn't try to impress him; I would just be myself, as Mom always said I should be. The rest, as they say, is history. It was love at first sight! They always say you will know when the right one comes along. That night, I met "Mr. Right."

After a whirlwind romance, Bob suddenly proposed on the third date! Before I knew it, my father's dream of walking me down the aisle was coming true. Bob fit right in with the family, like the missing piece of a puzzle. When we visited my parents, he joined our family's love of poker games -- destiny was in the cards.

My husband was like the brother and son our family never had. He watched old movies with Dad and completed crossword puzzles with Mom during visits every Sunday. Who knew? Apparently, Mom did -- my mother, my matchmaker.

Susan Marie Davniero,



This is NOT a romantic story, but it is about a Valentine and love.

In June 2013, St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Plainview was assigned a new pastor. His name is Valentine Rebello.

Father Valentine, as he prefers to be called, is an Energizer Bunny. No job is too big or too small. No request ignored. No person forgotten. We are his first parish as pastor, and he became family immediately.

Father Valentine's own family is in India, where he was born. He became a naturalized citizen two years ago.

He is always smiling, has a great sense of humor, plays the guitar and loves to sing. He shaved his head for a St. Baldrick fundraiser. He cooks and he does his own shopping. He has climbed ladders to decorate the church at Christmas.

I had wondered what we would do as a parish for him on Valentine's Day, This is perfect.

(I do believe he has told a story that when he came to the United States, it was a first for him to realize there was a day celebrated in his name.)

He is OUR Valentine!

Anne Bantleon,



It was September 2003, and our 35th anniversary was upon us. We always celebrated each anniversary with an expensive dinner out, but when we reached what we considered a milestone, my husband, Joe, always tried to plan something extra special. This milestone, would be no exception.

We asked our good friends, who shared our anniversary date, if they would like to join us for a weekend in the city. Drew and Candy lived in Connecticut and we had met them on our honeymoon in Bermuda. We were seated next to them one evening for dinner, and they offered to share their bottle of Champagne with us. A friendship formed that lasted all these years. They enthusiastically said "yes," knowing that my husband would arrange everything.

We decided to stay at the Waldorf Astoria, which was a wonderful treat. The prices were exorbitant, even for New York City, but we shrugged it off as a once-in-a-lifetime event.

We were truly tourists that weekend -- traveling to Chinatown, Little Italy and taking a carriage ride around Central Park. We even visited Madame Tussauds. And Joe had planned something wonderful for our last night in the city -- a dinner cruise around Manhattan.

The four of us dressed up and boarded the boat to the tunes of the band playing. We were shown to our window table. Our view was perfect as we watched the sun set and the glow of city lights.

As the boat approached the Statue of Liberty, we hurried outside. The musicians played "America the Beautiful" while we stared up at the queen, feeling like we could almost reach out and touch her, each of us with a lump in our throat and tears in our eyes.

We returned to our table, windblown indeed, but exhilarated. So exhilarated, in fact, that I ordered a drink special, a chocolate martini, even though I never drink martinis! As we sat chatting about this wonderful weekend, I gazed out the window, still admiring the skyline of the city. I turned my head just in time to see my husband, smiling like a Cheshire Cat, with a ring box in his hand. Joe took the diamond wedding band out of the box, placed it on my finger and said, "Happy anniversary, Honey." Drew congratulated Joe on being the classiest guy he knew, and Joe admitted that he had been a nervous wreck all weekend because he had carried the ring with him everywhere we went, not feeling comfortable about leaving it at the hotel.

That year, Valentine's Day, Christmas and my anniversary all arrived in September.

Jane Bavoso,
Massapequa Park

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