Jeanine and Kenneth Cox of Central Islip celebrated their 25th...

Jeanine and Kenneth Cox of Central Islip celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a Caribbean cruise in November 2014. The couple, now married 26 years, were college students when they met at Adelphi University. Credit: Royal Caribbean

Jeanine and Kenneth Cox of Central Islip met at college. Jeanine recalls their campus courtship.

I was a 20-year-old nursing student at Adelphi University in Garden City when I met Ken, a business major, at a campus fashion show audition in 1985. He was 22, tall, handsome and very funny. We both made the cut and I'd see him every week at rehearsal. A month later, after the show, we exchanged numbers.

Ken lived in Garden City Park with his family. I lived on campus. Occasionally we'd run into each other and he'd walk me to class. Then one day he invited me to go dancing at The Rathskeller, a club on campus. I loved to dance and we had the best time ever.

Dancing every Thursday night at the "Ratt" became a regular thing for us, and soon we were dating exclusively, often going to Steve's Pier in Oyster Bay or South Street Seaport in Manhattan.

Ken graduated in 1986 and found a job in Manhattan. I graduated in 1987, moved back with my family in Melville and worked as a registered nurse at Huntington Hospital.

My favorite memory during that time was leaving work after a long night shift and finding a huge collection of balloons tied to my car with a birthday card from Ken. I knew then this guy was a keeper.

That September, Ken invited me and my family to dinner at his parents' house. I noticed everyone kept watching me. When we finished dinner, I was clearing the table and about to pour the last of my drink into the sink when Ken quickly stopped me. He asked me to look inside the glass, where there was a diamond ring frozen in an ice cube. I was so distracted wondering why everyone was looking at me that I didn't see it.

Jeanine and Ken Cox on their wedding day, Sept. 2,...

Jeanine and Ken Cox on their wedding day, Sept. 2, 1989. Credit: Cox family

He thawed the ice cube, retrieved the ring, then dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. We had our fairy-tale wedding on Sept. 2, 1989, at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church in Deer Park, followed by a reception at the Huntington Town House. We honeymooned at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and the Bahamas. It was the trip of a lifetime.

Six months later, I was diagnosed with lupus. I continued my career at Good Samaritan Hospital's Dialysis Center in Bay Shore until I left in 2000 to become a stay-at-home mom to our three wonderful kids. Ken is a senior financial sales associate with Peoples United Bank in Bohemia.

Despite many ups and downs due to health issues, in 2009 we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary party with 100 guests and, in 2014, our 25th anniversary on a Caribbean cruise. For our 26th, we recently had a small dinner celebration. The thing I love most about Ken is that he still makes me laugh.

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