Victor and Donna Santoro of St. James will celebrate their...

Victor and Donna Santoro of St. James will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on May 16, 2014. Credit: Santoro family

Victor Santoro of St. James recalls meeting his future wife, Donna, and her family while on vacation, and the unusual request made by her mother.

My friend and I were on vacation at Bushkill Falls House in Bushkill, Pennsylvania, in June 1961 when I met Donna. I was 18 and she was 15. She was staying in the cabin next door with her parents and 13-year-old sister. We'd see the family on the grounds and say hello in passing. Then, one morning, Donna's mother knocked on our door at 8:30 asking for a small glass of Scotch. We gave it to her but thought it an odd request.

During our stay I'd often see Donna at the swimming pool and at the nightly dances. We started talking. She lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and attended Erasmus Hall High School. Besides her younger sister, Donna had three older sisters and a brother at home. I told her I was curious about why her mother asked for the Scotch. She told me her sister had a toothache that morning and her mother applied some Scotch to her gums to help relieve the pain.

Before we left the resort, I asked Donna for her telephone number. When we got back home, we started dating. I lived in Maspeth, Queens, and would drive to her house on weekends. Sometimes we went on double dates with one of her older sisters and her boyfriend. Our favorite spot was a nightclub called Towne Hill near Prospect Park, where we'd see performers like Fats Domino and The Drifters. One summer we went back to Bushkill Falls House with her sister and some of our friends.

After dating for nearly three years, we were married on May 16, 1964. A friend took 8-mm film of our wedding but didn't realize the roll had footage he'd taken while on a cruise. We were very surprised to see New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty suddenly appear in the movie after the ceremony.

This week marks our 50th anniversary. Donna and I plan to celebrate with our three children, eight grandchildren and our great-grandchild.

Donna is an office manager with the dental practice of Dr. Harvey Maltz in Dix Hills. I retired in 1985 from the New York City Department of Sanitation. I then ran several of my own businesses on Long Island before becoming a cook at St. Joseph's Church rectory in Kings Park. I retired for good in 2005.

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