Marilyn and Ernest “Ernie” Erickson of Melville knew right away they were meant to be together. Marilyn recalls how it all started.
My family moved from Glendale, Queens, to Melville in 1938 when I was 5 years old. Back then, Route 110 was a two-lane road. I attended Sweet Hollow Elementary School, a two-room schoolhouse on Sweet Hollow Road where the Half Hollow Hills Community Library now stands. My parents opened a restaurant called Herrmann’s, after our last name, on Route 110 at East Lyons Street. It became a popular gathering place.
In 1952, my parents started building a house behind the restaurant. I was 18 and had just graduated from Huntington High School. The lumber salesman working with them told me about a fellow he worked with at Huntington Materials and said he’d introduce us.
That Memorial Day I was outside the restaurant when I saw a cute guy pull up to the new house site. I walked over and the lumber salesman introduced me to Ernie. He was 27 and lived on Scudder Avenue in Northport.
Ernie began stopping by the restaurant for dinner after work. I was usually there helping my parents behind the counter and we’d chat. He told me he joined the Navy in 1943 and served with the Seabees at naval headquarters in London, England. Then in 1945 he was assigned to the tug patrol as a boatswain third class at Charleston Navy Yard in Boston. He was discharged in 1949 but called back to duty in 1950 at the start of the Korean War, serving as a boatswain’s mate first class on the C118 USS Sicily, an escort aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea.
A week later, I had the night off and went out with my friends. I called my mother at the restaurant and asked if Ernie was there. When she said he was, I asked her to casually mention that I had gone dancing at the Windmill on Jericho Turnpike. I figured if he was really interested in me he would drive over. And he did! He asked me out, and the following week took me to dinner at the Waterside Inn in Northport for our first date.
We were married on Feb. 28, 1953, in Albany. We have four children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Ernie always enjoyed boating and taking our grandchildren fishing.
He retired in 2009, at age 83, as a salesman for Kleet Lumber in Huntington. I worked at Herrmann’s until the early 1960s, then became a full-time homemaker. We sold the restaurant in 1985. Ernie and I celebrated our 62nd anniversary in 2015 with a lovely dinner with our family. I have a beautiful family and that’s worth everything.
— With Virginia Dunleavy