Fred Meuser of Ridge recalls the day he first saw his future wife, Ethel.
It was a sunny summer weekend in 1955 when my friends and I decided to drive from our Queens Village neighborhood to Jones Beach. Little did I know that on that day I was going to meet my future bride.
I first spotted her in the water. I was totally enamored with the stunning brunette wading in the surf. I couldn’t take my eyes off her, and had to figure out a way to meet her. I made my way into the water, kind of floundered nearby a bit, and finally got up the nerve to strike up a conversation.
Being the kidder that I am, I asked her if she had the time, and she kind of smirked. She was polite, but that initial encounter didn’t go beyond small talk. I was able to find out her name was “Ethie,” short for Ethel, and that she also was from Queens Village.
She was with her cousin. They decided to leave the water and disappeared onto the beach before I could get her telephone number.
For the next three weeks or so I drove up and down every single street in Queens Village trying to find Ethie, but to no avail. She was gone, and I was heartsick. Several weekends later I went back to Jones Beach with the hope that I would see her again. It was a long shot, especially since we had to park in a different lot, away from where I first saw Ethie. Sometimes fate works in strange ways, and lo and behold, while swimming in the surf, I spotted her standing on the shoreline. I waded over and said, “Where have you been?” She replied, “What do you mean?” When I told her I’d been looking for her, she said I misunderstood. She had told me she used to live in Queens Village but had moved to Elmont. This time I was sure to get her telephone number and her last name — Somers — before we left the beach.
For our first date I took Ethie to the movies at the former Argo Theater in Elmont. I was 25 and she was 19. She had graduated from the New York School of Floral Design in Manhattan and was working at Courtview Flowers in Garden City. I had been a lifeguard at Sun and Surf Beach Club in Atlantic Beach, but now was driving an oil truck for Catan-Michaels in Queens Village.
We continued dating and were married at Grace Lutheran Church in Queens Village on May 19, 1956, followed by a reception at the Portuguese-American Club in Mineola. We went to Miami Beach for our honeymoon.
In 1959 we moved to Commack. We have two sons and two granddaughters. When the children were older, Ethie worked part time at several florists and then as a senior citizen group leader for the Town of Huntington. I was a heating technician for the Town of Huntington. We both retired in 1986 and moved to Marshalls Creek, Pennsylvania. In 2006 we returned to New York and moved to Ridge.
In May we celebrated our 60th anniversary with family and friends at Piccola Bussola restaurant in Huntington Station.
— With Virginia Dunleavy