Scott Thomson of Bohemia recalls his blind date with his future wife, Cheryl.
I began 10th grade at Connetquot High School in September 1984 with students from different communities. I lived in Ronkonkoma.
Within a week I became friendly with two girls in homeroom. One day, they said that their good friend, also a student at Connetquot, thought I was cute and wanted to meet me that Friday at the school’s homecoming bonfire.
When I asked them what she looked like or for her name, they giggled and told me I would have to wait. I hesitantly agreed to the conditions for what was essentially a blind date.
The rest of the week consisted of playful taunts from them. As Friday approached, I became increasingly nervous. My mind drifted back and forth between what she looked like to what I would say.
On Friday when classes ended, I made a beeline home to get ready. Little did I know that in five hours I was going to meet my wife.
My buddy Richard accompanied me to the bonfire in case things didn’t go well. We arrived at the school’s parking lot to find more than 200 people surrounding the giant pile of firewood. After a few minutes, I spotted the two girls walking over to me with their friend.
She was so beautiful! I couldn’t stop staring into her entrancing eyes. And, she was tall — 5-foot-11 — my idea of the perfect woman. At 15, I was already 6-foot-2. They introduced me to Cheryl Valentine, who was 14. Then, as if we were reading each other’s minds, we both said, “Finally,” at the same time.
My nerves calmed as we conversed with ease, realizing that something special was happening. Afterward, I walked her to the home of one of our matchmakers where she was spending the night, and we kissed for the first time.
We spent the rest of that weekend together. On Saturday I introduced Cheryl to my friends. On Sunday, I introduced her to my parents. That night I took Cheryl to her home in Bohemia on the handlebars of my bicycle. At the end of the three-mile ride, I officially asked her to be my girlfriend.
We were inseparable throughout high school. In 1987, we went to our senior prom and graduated together. She then attended Dowling College in Oakdale, while I went to Stony Brook University.
On Sept. 11, 1992, we were in my Camaro on our way to dinner when I played a cassette tape of the song, "I'll Never Let You Go," performed by Steelheart. I asked Cheryl to listen to the lyrics. When the song ended, I said, “I never want to let you go,” and then asked the most beautiful woman in the world to be my wife. She said, “Yes.”
We married on Oct. 16, 1993, at St. John Nepomucene in Bohemia. Our reception was at the Holbrook Country Club, and we spent our honeymoon at Sandals in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
That year we purchased her parents’ home, where we still live today. We are blessed with three terrific sons.
Cheryl teaches sixth grade at North Middle School in the Brentwood School District. After 18½ years with the New York City Police Department, I retired in 2010 as a lieutenant with the 77th Precinct in Brooklyn. I left due to injury and illnesses sustained from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when I was a sergeant assigned to the Midtown South Precinct in Manhattan.
On Oct. 16, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and we are planning a trip to Las Vegas.
Lately we have been reminiscing about the past, but look forward to a bright future. Here’s to the next 25 years together!