Christa Wanamaker of Riverhead recalls how her future husband Carl's persistence finally won her heart.
My best friend was marrying Carl's best friend in September 1958. I was a bridesmaid, and Carl was my usher in the wedding party. He was 22 and lived in Centerport. I was 19 and lived in Babylon. This was the first time we had ever met. He was very attentive that evening.
Over the next few months he kept calling me for a date, but I always made an excuse and said no. Guess I was playing "hard to get." He later told me that he knew I was making up excuses not to see him, but he pursued me until I finally relented to a New Year's Eve date. We went to Linck's Log Cabin in Centerport with some other couples, including his twin brother and his date, and had a great time.
We continued to date and were thinking of getting married until May 1960, when he was drafted into the Army. He didn't want to make a commitment until he completed his service. Carl played trumpet and signed up with the Army band thinking he'd play in a variety of places around the world. To his surprise, he was assigned to the Long Island National Cemetery Honor Guard, playing "Taps" at military funerals. He was stationed at Mitchel Air Force Base in Garden City, but he was permitted to live at home in Centerport. That was great for me! We were able to see each other on weekends.
On Christmas Eve 1961, Carl gave me an orchid corsage going into church for the service. I sang in the choir and was about to join the other members when he stopped me and said, "Take another look at the corsage." I hadn't noticed, but in the middle of the orchid was a diamond engagement ring!
Carl retired in 1992 as a manager with New York Telephone Co. after 35 years. He was a member of the Centerport Fire Department for eight years and received his 50-year pin and apron from the Masonic Lodge in 2010. I worked at Babylon High School for the junior high principal until 1965 and later as a legal secretary. I was also a charter member of the Long Island Philharmonic Chorus for almost 30 years. In 2009 I was a Ms. New York Senior America pageant finalist and am now a member of their Cameo Club.
We've had a great life, and I'm very glad he pursued me.