Jack Gaglione of Farmingdale recalls his courtship with his wife, Diane.
I met Diane Roth, my future wife, at Fran’s Deli on 97th Street in our hometown of Ozone Park, Queens. She dropped a container of milk. I picked it up, and she said, "Thank you."
She was so beautiful and remains so today. I asked where she lived. She lived on 97th Street, like me, a few blocks from my house. It was the beginning of summer in 1959. We were both 13.
Not long after, we were invited to a party. I remember we played “spin the bottle.” My efforts to make the bottle stop in front of Diane worked, and we had our first kiss.
We started hanging out together with our friends, riding our bikes around the neighborhood. Our first date was to a movie at the RKO Keith’s Theater on Hillside Avenue in Richmond Hill. Afterward, we went to Jahn’s ice cream parlor. We carved a heart with our initials into the wall next to the table. In September I began classes at John Adams High School while Diane started eighth grade at PS 58, both in Ozone Park.
In 1962, Diane’s family moved to North Babylon. Instead of going down the block to see her, I took a 45-minute ride on the Long Island Rail Road (a 25-cent fare) from Jamaica to Babylon. I’d either walk a mile to her house or her dad would pick me up.
I graduated from high school in January 1965, and we went to my prom. Diane graduated from North Babylon High School that June and got a clerical job in the cargo area at Kennedy Airport. She came back to Ozone Park to live with her uncle and his family to be closer to work and me. We got engaged that Christmas.
In 1966, I was drafted into the Army and sent to Fort Gordon, Georgia. After I finished boot camp, Diane flew down to visit me, her first trip in an airplane. Her mom knew she was going, but they kept it from her dad.
I was sent to Korea and served as an MP with the 728th Military Police Battalion. I returned home nine days before our wedding and was assigned to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
I got a month's leave and, on Dec. 17, 1967, we were married at St. Mary Gate of Heaven Church in Ozone Park. We had a beautiful reception at the Huntington Town House and honeymooned in Miami.
I returned to base while Diane stayed in New York. I was able to come home every weekend. When I finished my military service in June 1968, I began a career as a compliance officer on Wall Street with Weiss, Voisin, Cannon Inc. and then with Morgan Stanley in Manhattan. I retired in 2012.
Diane became a full-time mom and later worked as a data entry clerk for the Catholic Medical Center of New York City in Ozone Park from 1991 until 2001, the year we moved to Farmingdale.
We have a daughter, two sons, a son-in-law and two daughters in-law who have blessed us with six grandchildren. Diane keeps busy baby-sitting, and I volunteer at our parish church, St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church in Farmingdale.
We renewed our vows in 2017 at St. Rose of Lima Church in Massapequa with other couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries, then had a dinner with our family. Diane and I also went to Aruba. Last year we had a 51st anniversary dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Garden City.
Diane is as beautiful now as on our wedding day.
— With Virginia Dunleavy
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