Ellen Martin of Roslyn Heights recalls the day she met her future husband, Alan.
In December 1966, my friend and I went to an afternoon teen dance at Murray the K’s World, a disco in a converted airplane hangar at Roosevelt Field in East Garden City. I saved up the $2.50 admission fee from my baby-sitting job money.
I had never been to a dance hall and was a bit nervous. Then Alan Martin asked me to dance. He was 18 and lived in New Hyde Park. He had recently graduated high school and had a job. I told him my name was Ellen Linker and that I lived in Albertson. I said I went to Herricks High School but didn’t mention that I was only 15. He asked for my phone number.
The following week he called me for a date. My stepfather, who was very protective, questioned Alan at length when he came to pick me up. He even asked to see his driver’s license and gave us a 10:30 p.m. curfew.
Alan and I got along so well. We continued dating and he soon gave me his high school ring. He would drive me to school every morning before going to work. We loved doing everything as a couple, from watching snowstorms in the winter to going to Jones Beach in the summer. Our song was The Turtles’ hit, “Happy Together.”
Then, on June 14, 1967, Alan was drafted into the Army. My parents let me take the train and a bus by myself to Fort Dix in New Jersey to visit him at Thanksgiving.
I saw Alan off at the airport on Feb. 10, 1968, when he left for Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division. I wrote to him every day, sent him home-baked cookies and prayed a lot.
Alan returned home on Jan. 30, 1969. It was a difficult adjustment for him, and we decided to see other people but always came back to each other. That September, he started classes at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury and I attended C.W. Post in Brookville.
After graduation, I worked as a fit model in the Garment District of Manhattan, and Alan worked for the publisher McGraw Hill. I moved to North Shore Towers in Little Neck, Queens. Alan stopped by one weekend to keep me company and never left.
In 1984, when I needed surgery to remove a tumor on my vocal cords, Alan refused to leave my side and slept at the hospital. God was good to us and I am fine.
A year later, Alan surprised me by suggesting we look at catering halls for our wedding. We decided to get married on Sept. 8, 1985, aboard the Riveranda Yacht out of Pier 62 in Manhattan. It rained up until an hour before the ceremony. Then the sun came out and a rainbow appeared.
In 1988, we bought our house in Roslyn Heights. Our son was born in 1990. Alan worked for McGraw Hill for 22 years until leaving the company in 2001. He now works in customer service at Cambridge University Press in Manhattan. I was a sportswear buyer at Joyce Leslie clothing from 1979 to 2012 and now work part-time preparing tax returns.
We have a date night every other week at our favorite restaurant, Pirandello, in Roslyn Heights, to enjoy fine food and chat about everything from politics to baseball.
— With Virginia Dunleavy