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Long IslandLI Life

Love Story: James and Elsie Tomlin

Elsie and James Tomlin as seen in a

Elsie and James Tomlin as seen in a recent photo.

James Tomlin of Baldwin recalls how his bachelor days were numbered the day he met his future wife, Elsie.


My wife, Elsie, and I met in 1954 at a house party in Rockville Centre. I knew of her through friends, but we had never met. I was 23, had recently graduated from Villanova University and had just gotten a job with AT&T in Manhattan. I was also dating several other girls and had no immediate intentions of settling down.

Elsie was 18 and a nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre. She didn't know the party's host, who was a good friend of mine, but was there with some friends from high school. During the party we talked and got to know each other. She lived in Baldwin, and I lived in Rockville Centre.

At the end of the evening, while people were figuring out rides home, I turned to Elsie and said, "You're coming with me."

I took her home in my new Ford convertible. I don't know if it was the car or me that attracted her at first, but we soon began dating.

Our first date was to the movies, but I don't remember what we saw. However, I do recall that I would always ask her out for a Friday night date. This was one of my tactics to avoid being turned down. She was very popular and most likely to already have a date on any given Saturday night.

We got engaged the following year and wed eight months later, on Oct. 1, 1955, at her parish church, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Roosevelt.

We started married life in a condo in Queens Village, then one in White Plains. We moved to Baldwin in 1959. We have five beautiful children and a dozen grandchildren ranging in age from 14 to 30.

This year we celebrated 57 years of marriage. I still don't know if it was me and not the convertible that first attracted her.

Elsie retired in 1991 as a night supervisor from Long Beach Hospital Nursing Home. I retired from Verizon as a marketing director in 1990 after 35 years.

Back in 1955, I got a gift from above that I did not deserve. I had the good sense to marry Elsie and am thankful I was smart enough to not let her get away.

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