Minnie Cooke, 75, was fresh out of high school when she first met her husband, Bob, now 79. He had moved into her neighborhood in Brooklyn, just five houses down from hers.
“I met his sister first,” she remembered. “I asked his sister, ‘Who’s that good-looking guy over there?’ She said, ‘That’s my brother.’ And the rest is history.”
The Cookes have now been married for 55 years. At Comsewogue High School’s annual senior citizens prom, held in the Port Jefferson Station school cafeteria on Sunday, the couple laughed over the fact that neither of them attended their own high school proms.
So when Minnie learned about the event from her neighbor, she was intrigued.
“I said ‘A senior citizen prom? Are you kidding me?’” she laughed. “But I said, ‘I didn’t go to my prom, so I might as well go to this one and have a ball.’”
After getting married in 1962, Bob and Minnie decided to move from their Brooklyn apartment to a house in Seaford so that they could start a family.
They had five children, which includes two sets of twins. The couple stayed in Seaford for 28 years.
“The house got too big when the kids got married,” Minnie said. “So we moved out to Mount Sinai to downsize, and it was a wonderful thing to do.”
At the senior citizens prom, Minnie spent most of her time dancing with the students who organized the event. Junior class vice president Rachel Burton even said, “She was doing the ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ better than I was!”
So when the time came for the students to select senior citizen prom royalty, they’d already had a queen in mind. Bob and Minnie claimed their crowns with huge smiles. When “Unforgettable” started to play, Bob took his wife’s hand and they spun around the cafeteria together.
“We never win anything,” Bob said. “This was a complete surprise.”
When looking back on her favorite parts of their magical day, Minnie said, “I love to dance, so the dancing was for me.” She nudged her husband and added, “He loves the food.”
Bob laughed and nodded in agreement, then said, “And I like to watch her dance.”
What’s next for the couple? More Comsewogue High School events, for sure.
“I hear they’re going to have a fashion show,” Minnie said. “We’re going to come to that. It’s a fundraiser, so it helps the school.”