Joy and Vincent “Vinnie” Asaro of East Meadow realized at a young age that they were meant for each other. Joy recalls their courtship.
In 1946, I met my husband at a Halloween party in our Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, neighborhood. My name was Joy Paladino. Vinnie Asaro was at the party and asked me to dance. We were 15, and it was love at first sight for us both.
Although we lived a few blocks from each other, we had different groups of friends and didn’t notice one another until the party.
Vinnie asked me out on a date. My mom thought we were too young to start dating, but when she realized Vinnie was determined to see me, she insisted that we take my 12-year-old sister as a chaperone.
The three of us saw an afternoon movie at the Walker Theater on 18th Avenue and 64th Street, then went to a Chinese restaurant nearby. Vinnie had to pay for my sister. She joined us on our dates for the next two years.
Usually we’d just sit on the stoop or hang out with our friends. I went to Bay Ridge High School and Vinnie went to William E. Grady Career and Technical Education High School in Brighton Beach, where he studied mechanics. When we graduated in 1949, we went to my prom and that night went dancing at the Copacabana in Manhattan.
Vinnie got a job in The New York Times mailroom while I started working as a secretary for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
On Oct. 18, 1952, we were married at Regina Pacis Church in Bensonhurst, followed by a reception at Mimi’s in Downtown Brooklyn. We drove to Miami for our honeymoon. I wanted see the countryside but ended up sleeping through most of the trip. We stayed at the Robert Richter Hotel on the beach in Miami.
Three months later, in January 1953, Vinnie was drafted into the Army. Our country was still engaged in the Korean War. After basic training, he was sent to Korea with the 8th Army, 999th Artillery, where he was in charge of heavy weapons. He finished his service and returned home in January 1955. While he was away, I continued working and also volunteered at the Angel Guardian Home, an orphanage in Brooklyn.
In 1959, we moved to East Meadow with our two daughters. In 1966, I became a kitchen helper with the East Meadow School District at Barnum Woods Elementary School. I retired as cook manager in 1994. Vinnie also retired that year, as foreman of the mailroom, after 44 years with The Times.
We have enjoyed beautiful vacations together, with family and longtime friends, visiting Hawaii and Europe. In 1958, we took a cruise to Havana, Cuba, and went to the Tropicana nightclub there. We still travel to Florida.
We love our daughters, their husbands, our three granddaughters, our great-granddaughter and our great-grandson.
In 2002, near the end of our 50th anniversary party at Pompei Ristorante in West Hempstead, I surprised Vinnie and our 100 guests by changing into my original wedding gown and walking into the ballroom to “Here Comes the Bride.” This year our kids treated us to dinner at Cara Mia restaurant in Seaford for our 65th anniversary.
The secret to a long marriage for us is to laugh often and love deeply. We try to make each other happy.
— WITH VIRGINIA DUNLEAVY