Dominick Mupo talks about meeting his wife, Cynthia.
In 1969 Cynthia Polanski and I both worked at Nassau County BOCES, but we had never met. I was a computer-center director, and she was a secretary in the research and development department. One day, Cynthia escorted an education administrator to my department to learn about the use of computers in education, a concept then in its infancy.
After meeting Cynthia that day, I was certain she was the girl for me. Easier said than done! No matter how I tried, she was excellent at avoiding me. I would send notes via interoffice mail to get her interested. They didn’t work.
It took Mother Nature’s intercession to bring us together. In January 1970, Cynthia and I happened to park next to each another in the BOCES parking lot. The weather was icy, and we ended up leaving work at the same time. As we approached our cars, Cynthia started to slip on ice. She grabbed my arm for support but hit the ground and pulled me down on top of her. I was twice her weight, but she came away without a scratch. I had a bruised arm for about three months — but it was well worth the fall.
After that incident, Cynthia and I would chat in the hallway. I eventually asked her out. Our first date was at a friend’s house party. While there I had a big nosebleed (was it the excitement of our date?) and Cynthia took me to the hospital. After my nose was cauterized, Cynthia drove me home to Selden in my car, then drove my car back to her home in Valley Stream. The next morning, her father saw my car in their driveway and was furious, thinking I had spent the night. His immediate response: "He’s trouble. Get rid of him." It’s a blessing Cynthia didn’t always listen to her parents.
We dated for less than a year before we were married on Oct. 18, 1970, at a church in Valley Stream. Our reception was at Carl Hoppl’s Valley Stream Park Inn. It was a great day even though half the wedding favors, a cranberry glass goblet, were mistakenly etched with "Thank you from Cynthia and Bob." I joked that Cynthia was hedging her bets.
Our honeymoon was a drive throughout the United States from mid-October to Thanksgiving; then we moved to a town house in Woodbury. Cynthia stopped working at BOCES in 1974 just before our first child was born. I retired from BOCES as an assistant superintendent in 1992. I was very proud to be involved, along with Ava Favara, in bringing to life the Long Island High School for the Performing Arts, the first Long Island public education arts school for secondary students.
Cynthia and I have five beautiful children, Louis, Michael, Dominick Jr., Stephanie and Christina; six wonderful grandchildren; as well as great daughters- and sons-in-law. And they all still live on Long Island.
We help two of our sons with their construction company. I also spend time gardening and repairing anything family members bring to me. Before the pandemic, I occasionally played the piano at Long Island nursing homes, usually music from the '40s and '50s to cater to the age of the residents.
Our marriage of 50 years has created a beautiful family and a happy home. Cynthia and I continue to laugh with and at each other. We will be celebrating our anniversary with immediate family members at a vineyard on the North Fork. Cynthia and I look forward to more years of laughter and good health.
— With Ann Donahue-Smukler
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