Victor and Rosalie Cipolla of Sag Harbor were high school sweethearts. Rosalie recalls their courtship and how they developed a taste for travel.
I was 14 in August 1960 when my family moved to West Islip from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My cousin lived nearby and invited me to a party that summer. While there, I noticed a good-looking boy but didn't get a chance to talk to him. My cousin didn't know him. After the party ended, someone offered us and a few other people, including the good-looking boy, a ride home. When we got to my house he said, "Let me walk you to the door," and he escorted me and my cousin to the house.
The next time I saw him was at the bus stop for West Islip High School. I was with my cousin again. She had recently met him and introduced me to Vic Cipolla. My maiden name was Marchese. Vic was 16 and had moved to the neighborhood in July from East 65th Street in Manhattan.
Vic and I saw each other every day on the bus. A couple of months later he asked me out on a date. He took me to see a movie and then we went to McDonald's. The burgers were 15 cents then. We started going steady, interrupted by a couple of brief breakups.
In 1963, Vic enlisted in the Air Force. He was stationed in Spain and then assigned to Birkenfeld Air Base in Germany as a radar operator with the 603rd Air Control and Warning Squadron. We had talked about getting married after he finished his service but decided not to wait. Vic had his mother speak to my father for him, asking permission for us to marry.
On May 1, 1965, we were wed at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church in West Islip. Our reception was held at the Huntington Town House.
Two months later, I joined Vic in Germany for a year. I was 19 and had never traveled farther than New Jersey. It was a wonderful experience. We actually toured Europe on $5 a day and have been traveling ever since. When Vic finished his service in 1967, we got an apartment in Deer Park and four years later moved back to West Islip.
In 1999, after all of our three children had either married — we have seven grandchildren — or had graduated college, we moved to our home in Sag Harbor. Vic, a teacher and dean of students at Brentwood High School, retired in 2002. I retired in 2008 as executive vice president of Innovative Marble and Tile in Hauppauge. We will be married 50 years this week and plan to celebrate with a trip to Italy. It has been a wonderful life!