Anne Burke of Southold recalls meeting future husband, Bob, on a blind date.
It was 1963 when I left the convent of the Dominican Sisters of Amityville after almost two years of discerning whether I had a vocation as a teaching Sister. My name was Anne McCullough and I was 19.
I came back home to Merrick, started a job in the personnel department at the Meadowbrook National Bank and intended to return to college. I had taken classes at the convent through Molloy College.
A couple of months later, my mother decided to set up a blind date for me with her good friend's nephew, Bob Burke. I reluctantly agreed to go.
Imagine my surprise when this very handsome fellow showed up at my door! We went to dinner at a club in Oceanside, and wound up having a wonderful time, talking and dancing all night. Bob, 24, was a lieutenant junior grade aboard the heavy cruiser USS Newport News in Virginia. He grew up in the Bronx, but now lived in East Rockaway. He had joined Officer Candidate School after graduating from Fordham University with an accounting degree.
For the next two years, we continued to see each other whenever he had leave, which was about once a month. I even visited him when his ship was in port in Quebec City, Canada, with my younger sister acting as chaperone.
In 1964, Bob took me to dinner at Bill O'Brien's Ships Inn in East Rockaway and asked me to marry him. He resigned his naval commission just before our wedding day on July 31, 1965. My three sisters were my attendants, while Bob's uncle and cousin acted as groomsmen. Our wedding mass was celebrated by my uncle, Msgr. Thomas Daly, along with Msgr. John McGann and five other priest friends.
We have five wonderful children and seven grandchildren. Bob put all five children through college, and then I was finally able to complete my college education, graduating in 1996 summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in gerontology from Molloy College in Rockville Centre.
We have had a full, exciting life together. Bob, a C.P.A., is semiretired from Reid and Burke in Commack. In 2012, I retired as coordinator of a senior center in Levittown after 23 years. In 2010, we moved from Merrick to Southold. We have a boat and Bob is once again a sailor with me as his first mate. The ex-Navy man and the ex-nun have come full circle on our life journey. We are grateful to my mom and his aunt for their foresight in arranging that first date.
Last month we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows at St. Patrick's Church in Southold, followed by a party at the American Legion Hall and an after-party at home with family, friends and neighbors.