It was a family affair when Carol and Frank Benevento of East Meadow started courting. Carol tells their story.
In July 1959, I was living with my family in my grandparents' four-family house in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn. My grandparents had recently moved to East Meadow and my aunt, who lived upstairs from us, was showing their vacant apartment to prospective tenants.
We went away on vacation, and when we returned she told us a nice couple was going to rent the apartment. They had a fire in their last place and were anxious to move. What piqued my interest was when she said they had a 24-year-old son named Frank. I was 17.
When they moved in a couple of weeks later I met Mr. and Mrs. Benevento, but not their son. This made me even more curious. He worked as a printer's apprentice, and I would peek out the window when he came home from work each day.
On Christmas Eve, my family and I were upstairs visiting my aunt when the Beneventos, including Frank, stopped in to wish us a Merry Christmas. We said hello to each other and that was all. After they left, my mother told me that Frank looked at me with interest. But I found out later that he thought I was too young.
In January, I was at a church dance with friends in another neighborhood. Frank was also there with friends, and we were surprised to see each other. He asked me to dance, and we spent the rest of the evening getting acquainted. At the end of the night, he offered to drive me home and asked if I would like to go to Sunday Mass with him in the morning.
When my dad showed up to drive me and my friends home I said, "Dad, you remember Frank? He's going to bring me home." I left with Frank and my dad drove off with my friends. I knew it was rude of me to bail on them, but I was smitten.
The next day, Frank's father saw us together in church and told his mother. She worried that if we got involved and it didn't work out, they'd have to move again. Our age difference would have been an issue for my parents — I was still in high school — if they didn't know his family. We started dating, and with family at every turn, it was an interesting 21/2-year courtship.
We married on June 16, 1962, and four years later moved to East Meadow. We have three great children, two daughters-in-law and a son-in-law, plus seven wonderful grandchildren.
Frank retired in 1995 as a typesetter for Boro Typographers in Manhattan. I retired in 1993 from a secretarial job. We have visited Italy, London, Paris and Israel and hope to continue traveling.
When our children were young, my mother-in-law enjoyed telling them the story of "the boy upstairs and the girl downstairs." She also said the fire turned out to be a blessing.