Lynn Summers of Wantagh recalls her high school courtship with future husband Ken.
Our roundabout journey to the celebration of 40 years of marital bliss began in Merrick in a 10th-grade biology class at Calhoun High School in 1964.
High school was all new to me. I still remember it clearly, making new friends and that cute boy, Ken, in biology class. I smiled at him but didn’t get a reaction. One of my friends was having a Halloween party, so, feeling both a little nervous and a little pushy, I timed my exit from class right and bumped into him as we reached the door. We started talking. I said I was Lynn Hogan and asked him to the party. We exchanged telephone numbers. On the phone that night we decided to go dressed as a cowboy and a cowgirl.
Ken and his father picked me up at my house in Bellmore to drive us to the party. I was carrying a plate of sandwiches for the hostess, and Ken opened the back car door for me. I thought, “What a gentleman.”
His dad dropped us off and left. That’s when we found out the girl had moved. Luckily, the new homeowner had the family’s address. We walked about a mile to the house, with the plate of sandwiches, and rather enjoyed the adventure. At the party we danced to “The Loco-Motion,” had fun and even a first kiss. We were both 15.
Ken lived in North Merrick. His parents were very involved with the North Merrick Fire Department, and Ken was in the Vamptones, the fire department’s Drum & Bugle Corps. We attended a parade and celebration almost every Saturday night during the summer of all our high school years.
We went to prom together at the Malibu Beach Club in Lido Beach and had a great time — until we had a big fight and broke up.
After graduation in 1966, I worked in a beauty salon in Rockville Centre, and Ken went to Nassau Community College. He had enlisted in the Army in 1968 and was called up that August. He was a helicopter pilot with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam until 1970.
I married and later divorced, at which point I moved with my mother into an apartment in North Merrick.
In 1975, I learned Ken had been engaged but that it hadn’t worked out. On an impulse, I looked up his parents’ phone number. When I called, Ken answered the phone. He told me he had just returned from flying helicopters in Alaska and was taking some time off.
We started dating and fell in love all over again, but this time we were both ready to make a life together. On Sept. 11, 1976, we were wed and had our reception at the North Merrick Fire Department. In 1980, we moved to Wantagh. We have a beautiful daughter, a wonderful son-in-law and two fabulous granddaughters.
Ken retired from Citibank in 2012 as president of structured products. I retired as a hairdresser in 2013. Ken volunteers with the nonprofit Rebuilding Together and at Old Westbury Gardens. I’m a volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good Feel Better” program.
Last week, we marked our 40th wedding anniversary. We celebrated in May with a trip to Paris, and with a weekend in Manhattan this month. Life is good.