Pat and Jerry Rosalia of Levittown found love on a Long Island beach. Jerry recalls their courtship.
During summer break from Champlain College in Plattsburgh in 1952, I met Patricia Murphy at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport. A mutual friend introduced us. Pat was 20 and lived on Woodbury Road in Huntington. She worked as a secretary in the personnel department of CBS in Manhattan. I was 21 and came from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We lived on Graham Avenue, where my father owned John Rosalia Florist.
Our family had a vacation home on Hillside Avenue just a few blocks from the beach, and I spent most of my childhood summers hunting and fishing in Northport. Pat grew up on a private estate in Greenlawn, where her father was caretaker and her mom was housekeeper. It was a working farm and Pat milked the cows.
We began dating. That summer we'd go to the Aqua Show at Jones Beach, to Linck's Log Cabin in Centerport for dinner, or to see a movie at the Shore Theater in Huntington or on the outdoor screen at Crab Meadow.
September came and, instead of going back to college, I was drafted into the Army for two years. During my second year of service, I was sent to Germany and served as a medic with a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, or MASH, unit. Pat and I didn't see each other again until I returned in 1954. That November, I took her back to Linck's Log Cabin and asked her to marry me.
On May 14, 1955, we were married at St. Patrick's Church in Huntington. Our first apartment was in Queens Village. Pat continued working at CBS until 1956, when the first of our four children was born. We now have six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. After the children started school, Pat worked for a local bakery and volunteered at school and church. I ran my father's florist business and served as national director of Florists Transworld Delivery Association from 1972 to 1977 and as president of the Metropolitan Retail Florists' Association and the New York Florists' Club. In 1983, I sold the business to Flora Plenty, which later became 1-800-Flowers. I now work as a consultant there. I am also editor and blogger for Floriology, an industry magazine.
In 1989 Pat and I moved from Queens to Levittown. We have been active members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at St. Bernard's Church in Levittown for more than 12 years. I have been president of the society for the past four years.
For our 60th anniversary, we celebrated with a luncheon at Singletons Restaurant in Bethpage with friends and family.