Michael Izzi of Hauppauge recalls how he met his wife, Joan, and their teenage courtship.
One day in November 1952, my friend said that while he was showing some girls at his high school a group photo of us taken at another friend’s wedding, a girl named Joan Stanzione commented that I was very good-looking. My friend then asked for her telephone number to pass along to me. She said no until her friend persuaded her to give him the number.
I called Joan a few days later. She lived in Borough Park, Brooklyn, and I lived nearby in Bensonhurst. We went on a blind date, and she is now my wife of 58 years.
We went to see a movie at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater. She was 17 and a senior at Central Needle Trades High School in Manhattan. I told her I was 18, but actually I was 16 and a sophomore at St. John’s Preparatory High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
We had dated for six months when my family threw me a birthday party. Joan was there and made a comment to my mother about me turning 19. My mother said, “No, he’s turning 17.” Joan was quite upset with me, but we continued to see each other.
She graduated high school in early 1953 and worked as a typist for Electrolux in Manhattan. After graduating in 1954, I studied engineering at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. I graduated in 1957 and got a job in California. Joan and I began planning our wedding long distance.
On July 26, 1958, we were married at Regina Pacis Church in Brooklyn. I landed a job at Grumman in Bethpage just prior to the wedding. We flew to California, where we spent several weeks on our honeymoon, and then drove back to New York, making stops in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
We rented an apartment in Farmingdale before buying a house in Plainview in 1960. I took evening classes at Brooklyn Polytechnic and received a master’s degree in 1963. In my spare time, I designed and built an A-frame house in Ferndale, in the Catskills, where we spent weekends with our three children. We moved to Hauppauge in 1980.
I retired from Grumman in 1994, and Joan retired in 1996 from the Internal Revenue Service’s Bohemia office, where she amended tax returns. We decided to spend winters in Florida, so we sold the A-frame and bought a waterfront condo in St. Lucie County. We enjoy our friends at both locations, and in between we travel to visit our children and their families in New York, Colorado and California. We have seven grandchildren, and our lives have changed and have become much fuller since our first meeting.
To celebrate our 58th anniversary in July, we went to dinner and have planned a trip with friends to St. Martin in the Caribbean.
— With Virginia Dunleavy