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Long IslandLI Life

Love Story: Vinny and Lilly Lattuca

Lilly and Vinny Lattuca as seen in a

Lilly and Vinny Lattuca as seen in a recent photo. Photo Credit: Handout

A high school button almost came between Vinny and Lilly Lattuca of Shoreham. Lilly explains.


The day I met Vinny has always been etched in my mind and heart. I was 14 and starting classes at Grace Dodge Vocational High School in the Bronx in 1954. I was collecting buttons from other high schools for my new school jacket.

I asked anyone I came across who was in a different school for a button. No one refused me .?.?. until this guy named Vinny.

I had recently moved to the area and was shopping at the neighborhood deli. There were several guys in the store, and I asked each one for a button. They all said they would get me one, except Vinny, who said no.

I didn't like him from the outset because of that, although he did stand out from all the rest. He was 15 and lived across the street from me. I realized sometime later that he refused because he just didn't have a button.

A week later I saw Vinny again, and he managed to quickly change my feelings toward him, without a button. He asked me to go to an Italian feast with him. I agreed, and that day at the feast we both knew there was something special between us.

Three years later Vinny went into the Navy and was assigned to a submarine in Norfolk, Va. Not long after, on Dec. 22, 1957, we were married. I was 17, and he had just turned 19 a week earlier. He found housing for us in Norfolk, and we've been together ever since.

We raised five children, have nine grandchildren, a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter on the way.

We both had great careers, Vinny as a test manager at Grumman — he retired in 1995 after 30 years — and I as a homemaker.

We've been friends for more than 58 years and just renewed our marriage vows for our 55th wedding anniversary on a Holland America cruise ship, with the captain officiating. Age is slowly creeping up on us, but we've never been happier. We're still very much in love and best friends. Hopefully our children will also spend their twilight years one day with their loves, with as much fun, laughter and memories to share with their children.

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