Lawrence Ginsberg of Oakland Gardens, Queens, recalls the letter from his future wife, Rochelle, that changed his life.
I was 46, divorced and living in Hicksville when I placed a singles ad in Newsday in September 1988. I had been married for 23 years, and the dating scene seemed foreign to me.
I received many responses. One letter from a divorced 41-year-old woman intrigued me. She described herself as very pretty with long dark hair and big green eyes. I also got the impression that she would be fun to know, and I reached out to her. We spoke on the phone several times before arranging to meet on Dec. 15 at Sticks & Stones, a restaurant in Glen Oaks, Queens, near her home.
Her name was Rochelle Feller and she was very attractive. She said she couldn’t stay long because she had a meeting. Rochelle ended up canceling the meeting so we could spend more time together. We ended up talking for hours.
Our first date was on New Year’s Eve. I surprised her with a lobster dinner at my house. I had recorded the burning “Yule Log” loop on my television and had continuous doo-wop music playing in the background. After dinner we drove to the former EAB (now RXR) Plaza in Uniondale to see the Christmas tree. We continued dating exclusively.
On May 11, my birthday, I took Rochelle to Homer’s, a Chinese restaurant formerly in Woodbury Common in Woodbury. I planned to propose to her. I asked the chef to hide the engagement ring in the noodles on her plate.
I anxiously watched Rochelle as she ate her meal, but she didn’t touch the noodles. I kept telling her how delicious they were and that she should try them. When she finally began eating them and found the ring, I asked her to marry me.
Then the waiter came over and handed me a gift box. Rochelle had had a feeling I might propose that night and surprised me with a beautiful onyx ring. We were married on Dec. 17, 1989, at the Reception House in Flushing. For our honeymoon we took a cruise from Jamaica, West Indies, to Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao in the Leeward Antilles.
I have three grown children. Rochelle has a son and a daughter. Her daughter lived with us before she went off to college. Sadly, her son has since passed away. Between us we now have nine grandchildren.
Rochelle was a telemarketer for independent insurance agents and retired in 2009.
I taught math and social studies for 51 years, first at the former Olinville Junior High School 113 in the Gun Hill section of the Bronx and then at private schools. I retired in 2015.
Rochelle has been there for me through thick and thin. Healthwise, the past two years has been tough for me having to deal with sleep apnea, pneumonia, COPD, shoulder replacement and a heart attack. She has had the burden of taking care of our everyday affairs as well as waiting on me. She did all this with problems of her own.
We love to travel and are blessed to still be able to get around. Rochelle’s love is gambling, so we go to Atlantic City, Foxwoods and The Sands in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We also enjoy visiting Caribbean islands. Last year we went to The Atlantis Hotel in The Bahamas. (They have a casino.)
As of Dec. 17, 2018, we had been married for 29 years. We didn’t have a special celebration. We celebrate every day because of what we have been through.
Rochelle is my everything. I’m so lucky to have her. I can’t imagine my life without her. For us, like our wedding song, it’s “Always and Forever.”