Marie Castiglia of Farmingdale won the heart of Joseph through a favor and a helpful nudge from his sister.

In 1953 my older brother, John, married and six months later was called into the Army. His wife, Elaine, went back to her parents' home, which was four blocks from my house in the Fordham section of the Bronx. I was 13 and would go see her every weekend.

Elaine had a brother Joe, nicknamed "Sonny," who was 15 years old. Every time I would visit, he would go out. It seemed he didn't like me.

This went on for two years. Then one day he asked me to do him a favor. A girl in my class who lived near Sonny liked him, and she was always bothering him. He wanted me to tell her that he and I were going steady. So I did, and to make it seem real I acted as if I was angry with her.

I even went over to Sonny's at night, and we walked around the neighborhood so she would see us together.

I started to like Sonny. And he paid a little more attention to me but didn't ask me out on a date until later that year, when he took me to my junior prom. We enjoyed ourselves so much that Sonny asked me to go steady. I found out much later that Elaine had paid him to take me to the prom.

Sonny went into the Navy in 1956, and he asked me to wait for him. I said I would. He was stationed in Norfolk, Va., on the USS Northampton and was able to come home often on leave. In 1958 we became engaged. I started working at Peck & Peck clothing store in Manhattan. After Sonny got out of the Navy, he and I were married, on Nov. 12, 1960. We lived in the Bronx for about 20 years, then moved to Farmingdale.

We love our life. We have a beautiful daughter and three handsome grandsons. Sonny retired in 1991 from Wess Plastics in Hauppauge as a production manager. I retired in 2005 from North Fork Bank in Farmingdale as an assistant manager.

We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with parties at Puglia's Cafe in Garden City and in West Palm Beach, Fla., our second home. We've also planned a winter cruise to the western Caribbean.

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