Herbert Kronman of Moriches recalls how a difference in age didn't mean a thing when he met his future wife, Joan.
One evening in the summer of 1947, my parents were going to visit their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Safier, and asked me to join them. I declined, saying I would feel out of place. They still encouraged me to come along, so I reluctantly agreed but said I would take a separate car, planning to make a fast getaway. We lived in Center Moriches, and the Safiers, who lived in Brooklyn, had a summer house in town.
Once there, I was introduced to their daughter, Joan, and decided to stay. We ended up having a pleasant conversation. Even though I was 18 and she was 14, I thought she was very mature for her age.
With our families' blessing, we started going on dates with my friends. We'd go to Patchogue for a movie -- there were two theaters back then -- and hamburgers afterward or for youth group activities at Temple Beth El, also in Patchogue.
Over the next four years we corresponded, and I'd see her over holiday breaks and during the summer. The drive to Brooklyn was quite long; the Southern State Parkway ended in Bay Shore, and Sunrise Highway only came out as far east as Oakdale.
We both dated other people until the summer of 1949, when we realized that we were truly in love. The following year we got engaged.
Joan came out to Illinois for my graduation, and 10 days later, on June 24, 1951, we were married at the Melrose Chateau on Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn.
We have three children, and when they were older, Joan went back to Suffolk County Community College and got her degree, then received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from St. Joseph's College in Patchogue. She also earned a master's degree in speech pathology from what was then C.W. Post College and became a board-certified speech pathologist.
She worked with students in kindergarten to third grade in the Bellport School District, and later she opened her own practice before eventually going on to work at Central Suffolk Hospital in Riverhead.
I worked for 40 years at Center Moriches Paper Co., which had been my family's business. Joan and I both retired in 1994.
Last year we celebrated our 60th anniversary at two parties with friends and family, which includes nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. We are blessed.