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Love Story: He had to bring back Cadillac, but kept the girl

Elizabeth and John Farella of Bellmore celebrated their

Elizabeth and John Farella of Bellmore celebrated their 30th anniversary in July. Credit: Farella Family

Elizabeth Farella of Bellmore recalls her courtship with her husband, John.

When we were first dating, I introduced John to my grandmother, Nona. She insisted that we had met when I was 3 and John was 4 years old. She said we had played together at Arthur J. Hendrickson Park in our hometown of Valley Stream. She had a very specific memory of John drawing in the dirt with a stick. She also said he took a shine to me. We thought she was mistaken, but we have since come to believe her!  

I thought I first met John in 1981 when I was 17 and he was 18. We belonged to a youth group called Beyond, which met on Friday nights in the basement “coffee house” of The Blessed Sacrament Church  in Valley Stream. My name was Elizabeth Reardon back then. We were dating other people and considered each other friends.

John was a year ahead of me at Valley Stream Central High School. He graduated from high school in 1981 and was starting his freshman year that fall at upstate Syracuse University. I went to his going-away party. During the party, I wondered why I felt sad that he was leaving.

I graduated the next year, and that summer we saw each other again at the youth group meeting one Friday night. John asked me out.

Our first date was to dinner at Ickle Bickle's  Pub in Malverne. John’s dad said he could borrow his Cadillac to drive me. When he got to my house, however, his father called saying he needed the car back!

When we pulled up, his mom, dad, younger brother and two younger sisters were standing on the front lawn. We then realized they called us back because they wanted to meet me. They knew this was a special date. We still had to take a different car because John’s dad didn’t want to admit it. Every year we celebrate the anniversary of our first date.

In early 1987, John proposed to me at The Timepiece Café in Rockville Centre. We often went there to sip a glass of wine and nibble a piece of cheese while playing board games provided by the cafe. One night John chose the word game Boggle to bring to our table. When I opened the lid he had spelled out, “Will you marry me?” with the lettered cubes.

We exchanged our wedding vows on July 23, 1988, at Holy Name of Mary Church in Valley Stream. Our reception was held at the Milleridge Inn Cottage in Jericho. We then traveled to California for our honeymoon.

I work as a first -grade teacher at St. Edward the Confessor School  in Syosset.

John is an engineer and president of National Elevator Cab and Door in Woodside, Queens. We enjoy traveling together, going to the beach and being with our family.  

Our three daughters hosted a surprise party for us and included all of our family and friends. They decorated our yard with our wedding colors, and all the ladies wore pearls, which is the traditional symbol for a 30th anniversary. They also gave us a Boggle game, the game John used to propose to me. It is still one of our favorite games to play.

In August, we returned to California with our family, along with our daughter’s boyfriend, and we all drove down the coast from Napa to Santa Monica.

—With Virginia Dunleavy

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