Bob and Sue Gross of Wantagh on a cruise in...

Bob and Sue Gross of Wantagh on a cruise in 2009. The couple celebrated their 35th anniversary on May 26, 2014. Credit: Gross family

Susan Gross of Wantagh recalls the night she met her husband, Bob, and their courtship.

I met Bob in January 1975 while listening to my sister sing with her band. We were at Ronnie J's, a pub in North Bellmore. Bob was 18 and I was 17. My sister introduced me to him and his friend during her break. They were regulars at the pub and liked the band.

Bob lived in East Meadow and had started working after graduating from high school. I was a high school senior and lived in North Merrick.

I thought Bob had a wonderful personality. I took my sister aside, told her I liked Bob and asked if she was interested in him. She assured me she didn't feel that way toward him but said she also thought he was a great guy.

Bob took my number that night. A week later, on Jan. 17, we had our first date. He met my parents before we went to dinner at the Steak & Brew restaurant in Merrick. The car ride was very cold because one of the windows wouldn't close.

My family loved Bob right from the start, despite him taking "their little girl" out in an old Chevy with a broken window in the middle of January!

We continued dating. In the summer, we enjoyed going to see musicals such as "Oklahoma!" and "Showboat" at the Jones Beach Marine Theater, or a movie at the Westbury Drive-In.

After dating for two years, we got engaged. We were married on May 26, 1979, at Sacred Heart Church in North Merrick and went to California for our honeymoon. There, our rental car's windows worked but the car broke down.

We lived in Levittown before moving to Wantagh, where we've raised two sons and a daughter. We are also the proud grandparents of an 11-month-old granddaughter. Our children recently treated us to dinner in celebration of our 35th anniversary.

Bob and I have had our share of life's ups and downs, including loss of loved ones, health issues and job losses. After many years of working with computers, Bob lost his job. It's tough to pick yourself up after that, but Bob now works for Progressive Realty in Westbury, a good match for his winning personality and genuine concern for others. I had been a stay-at-home mom and worked part time in day care and am now a pet sitter-dog walker.

Life has given us many challenges, some days more than our share, but somehow together we manage to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and together head into another day. Communication has been a contributing factor to our successful union.

Our advice to newlywed couples is to never give up and always discuss what may be bothering you. Marriage and love are always a challenge, and you always have to work at it. When you do, the result can be very rewarding.

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