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Love Story: Commack couple's road to romance started with wrong turns

Frances and Pat Alesia of Commack renewed their

Frances and Pat Alesia of Commack renewed their vows in Amsterdam in celebration of their 50th anniversary. Credit: Alesia Family

Frances Alesia of Commack recalls a first date that never happened with future husband, Pat.

Our love for dancing brought us both to Trude Heller’s, a dance club in Manhattan’s East Village, in May 1967. I was 19 and from East Northport. Pat was 18 and lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

This was my first time at the club. It featured a live band, and the $3 admission included 2 drinks. Pat asked me to dance right away — my name was Frances Aronica back then — and we danced together all night. He was good looking and a great dancer. The attraction was instant for both of us.

When he walked me to my car, a new Mustang fastback, four-speed stick-shift transmission with wide oval racing tires, he was impressed. I had graduated from New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury and had a job as executive secretary with an advertising firm in Manhattan. Pat was a sophomore at Bernard Baruch School of Business Administration in Manhattan.

He asked for my phone number. On the way home I told my friend, “If he calls, I’m going to marry him!” He did call, and a date was set for the next Saturday. He insisted he knew Long Island since his grandmother lived in Valley Stream — a far cry from Suffolk County — and said he didn’t need directions.

On our date night, after three hours of driving around on “every road on Long Island” in his dad’s ’62 Chevy, Pat finally pulled into a rest stop on the Long Island Expressway and called my house from a pay phone. My father said to him, “She went out because she thought you stood her up!” Pat explained what happened, then asked my dad for directions back to Brooklyn. He got home at 1 a.m., with an extra 150 miles on the odometer.

Pat was definitely persistent. He called a few days later to apologize and to ask for another try. He had one request though: I had to get a date for his friend so he wouldn’t have to make the trip alone. I agreed.

The following weekend, we went on a double date to Osborne’s, a disco on Jericho Turnpike in Commack. We kept dating, and three months after we met, we became engaged.

On July 14, 1968, we were married at St. Anthony of Padua Church in East Northport, with a reception afterward at the former Huntington Town House.

We lived in Astoria, Queens, before purchasing our first house in St. James in 1970. I worked from 1966 to 1973 as administrative assistant with the Urban Action Task Force in New York City under Mayor John Lindsay. Then I became a full-time homemaker and mom. After our two children grew up, I worked as a paralegal, from 1990 until I retired in 1997.

Pat was working at an accounting firm in Manhattan, then at Griffon Corp. in Jericho. He retired as chief financial officer in 2013.

We live at the Hamlet Golf & Country Club in Commack where together we pursue another love — golf. To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we went to China in April, and last month our son, daughter-in-law, daughter and two grandsons joined us on a river cruise from Switzerland to Amsterdam, where we renewed our wedding vows. Then we all went to Paris before returning home. Best part is, we’re still dancing.  

— With Virginia Dunleavy


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