Marilyn and Ray Walther of Bethpage met through a family connection. Ray recalls their courtship.
In August 1952, my brother, who was in the Navy and at sea, decided to send flowers to his girlfriend, Dorothy Weiss. I offered to drop them off at her house in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
When I got there, this cute young woman answered the door. I told her I had flowers for Dorothy and she ran off to get her and a tip, which I never received. Dorothy came back and introduced me to her sister Marilyn. My dad knew the family and had told me about her. He actually said, “Boy, do I have a girl for you!”
The next time my brother was home on leave, the four of us went to dinner and then danced afterward. Marilyn was really cute, had a warm smile and laughed easily. She was just fun to be with and she made me feel special. She was 18 and worked in policy planning for a life insurance company in Manhattan. I was 19 and had just enlisted in the Navy.
We started dating. A month later I was called up for duty and sent to Bainbridge, Maryland, for boot camp. My family came to visit me and brought Marilyn along.
After going through training, I served as a radioman second class, assigned to the USS Carpellotti APD 136, out of the Little Creek Naval Base in Virginia. I’d see Marilyn whenever I could get home and we’d write when I was away. I began to realize that she was becoming someone special and important to me. Being out at sea was a special experience. When the reflection of a full moon danced on the water, I would think about Marilyn and our life together. With a new moon, there were so many stars you felt you could reach up and put one in your pocket — and I could give it to her as a gift.
One day in 1954, I was home on leave and Marilyn was visiting at my family’s house in Bellerose, Queens. We were in my mother’s kitchen and she was pressing my uniform. I looked at her and asked if she would like to become Mrs. Walther and spend the rest of her life with me. She smiled and said yes. It does not sound romantic, but true romance is falling in love with the same person all over again each morning.
We married on Aug. 25, 1956, at St. Brendan Church in Brooklyn, two weeks before I finished my military service. We spent our honeymoon at the Penn Hills resort in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
We have raised nine children and are grandparents to 25, and have two great-grandchildren. Marilyn works part time as a switchboard operator at SUNY Farmingdale. I was a printer at Newsday and retired in 1994 after 30 years with the paper.
Recently, family and friends joined us at St. Martin of Tours Church in Bethpage for a Mass where we renewed our wedding vows, followed by a breakfast, to celebrate our 60th anniversary.
Our lives have been full, blessed with family and many faith-filled friends and 60 years of a loving relationship. There is so much more for us to experience together.
— With Virginia Dunleavy