Miriam Klein of Wading River recalls her courtship with her husband, Richard.

I met Richie in 1958 while we were both working at Schrafft's Ice Cream Shoppe-Restaurant on West 23rd Street. We were both 16.

Richie was behind the soda fountain, and I was working as a waitress part-time while going to Central Commercial High School in Manhattan. I was born in San Juan, came to New York with my family when I was 5 and grew up in Harlem.

After I was at Schrafft's for about nine months, Richie asked me out on a double date to the movies. While we were on the date, the other guy with us asked me out! I was flattered, but Richie had a talk with him and said, "You can't ask her out. I'm going with her!"

At that time I lived on Gun Hill Road in the Bronx, and Richie had to travel from his house in Corona, Queens, by train to see me. He was too young to drive a car. He'd leave my house, take the old elevated train line to Manhattan, then get on the Flushing subway train. Richie usually fell asleep and would travel back and forth a few times before waking up. It would be about 1 or 2 a.m. when he got home.

After I graduated from high school, we were married on Aug. 15, 1959. Richie jokes now that it was easier to get married than to travel back and forth to the Bronx. We moved to Corona, Queens, and eventually to Carle Place, where we lived for 35 years.

My husband retired in 1997 after 25 years of service with UPS in Farmingdale. I went to college after the kids were older and worked as a bilingual teacher at BOCES and a translator for Suffolk County before opening my own business, Electrolysis and Facials by Miriam, in Garden City. I retired in 1998.

We now live in The Villages in Lady Lake, Fla., and also have a cottage in Wading River on the beach that we enjoy in the summer with our family. Richie and I have four children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Through the ups and downs of raising children, making ends meet and enjoying wonderful trips around the world, after 50 years of marriage, we stay strong knowing we built the lives of our children and now can enjoy our ever-growing family. As we were married at 17, we are still young enough to enjoy the many more years we still have together.

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