Jeanine and Dean D’Agostino on a family vacation in 2022

Jeanine and Dean D’Agostino on a family vacation in 2022 Credit: Mylissa Kay Photography

Jeanine D’Agostino (nee DiMitri) of Fort Salonga tells the story of meeting her husband, Dean.

I fell in love with Dean D’Agostino the first time I saw him at seventh-grade orientation at Jericho Junior High School (now Jericho Middle School).

I was 11 years old and in sixth grade and Dean was 12 and in seventh grade. I spent the day touring the school with a seventh-grade girl who took me to all of her classes, and that is when I first saw Dean in his math class. He was clowning around, showing off and making everyone laugh, including me. I thought he was so cute. We didn’t talk to each other that day but from that moment on I was totally infatuated with him. For the next few years, I loved him from afar. We would talk on and off, but we never dated.

Dean graduated in June 1991 and we lost touch when he moved to Santa Fe to attend the University of New Mexico. In January of my senior year, I got a call from Dean, who had just regained his strength from a serious car accident. He told me that during his difficult convalescence he couldn’t stop thinking about me. My mind and heart were with him even though we were miles apart. We continued talking on the phone and sending love letters that I anxiously waited for every day. He even sprayed cologne on one of his bandanas, which I still have, and he sent it to me overnight.

After his intense recuperation, he came back to New York in the summer of 1992. On his first day back he came to Jericho High School to pick me up. I was nervous and my heart was pounding until his car pulled up. When I saw him, I felt that all my dreams were coming true. We went to Old Westbury Gardens and spent the day reminiscing. I asked him to my senior prom, held on June 25, and we danced that night away. We spent every day together until he returned to New Mexico in August.

Shortly after returning to New Mexico he decided to come back to New York because we missed each other terribly. He transferred to New York University, where I was starting as a freshman. By pure fate, his dorm room was directly across from mine. We both graduated from NYU in 1996.

Dean made me three promises: He would be my prom date, he would marry me and we would have children together. Dean kept his second promise when he proposed during a trip to Sante Fe. We got married at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Brookville — the church where we attended religious instruction as children — on Sept. 26, 1998. Our reception was at the Pine Hollow Country Club in East Norwich.

We lived in Whitestone, Queens, until we bought our first home, in Melville, in 1999. Our son Dylan was born in 2002, and in 2005, our daughter Olivia arrived. Soon after, we moved to Fort Salonga and still live there.

Dean is a regional vice president at a medical device company and I’m a pharmaceutical executive sales specialist. We enjoy each other’s company and spend a lot of time visiting our son, who is a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and planning our daughter’s send-off to college at High Point University in North Carolina in the fall.

This year, Dean and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage and even after all these years, when he walks into a room I still get butterflies just like the first time I saw him.

 — With Laura Mann

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Email LILife@newsday.com. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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