Bridget Toner-Kopack and William "Bill" Kopack, of East Meadow, were given a second chance at love and jumped at it. Bridget tells their story.
Bill and I grew up in Westbury. He started to notice me when I was 12, and to hear him tell it, I was "the most beautiful girl in Westbury." He waited until 1956, when I was a sophomore and he was a senior at Westbury High School, to ask me out. Our first date that fall was a ride in his car during lunchtime. He took me to his senior prom.
We dated steadily until Bill joined the Navy in 1958. He was a flight engineer with the Aviation Division and was assigned to several air bases in the Pacific. We only saw each other when he was on leave.
We continued writing, but by the end of 1960, we went our separate ways. Bill was honorably discharged in 1962. I married and moved to Islandia, and Bill and his wife moved to East Meadow. We each had three children.
In 2009, a high school friend searched my name on the Internet and contacted me. I was living in Ocala, Fla. She invited me to join her and a few classmates from Florida for a mini-reunion in Orlando. Little did I know what would be the outcome of that weekend.
Another school friend, Louise, was there. It turned out she and Bill's oldest sister, Rosemarie, had once attended the same church in Virginia.
About a year later, I was on Long Island when I received a call from Louise. She had contacted Rosemarie, who then called Bill and asked if he remembered me. He did and told her to give me his phone number. Both of us were widowed, so everyone wanted to play matchmaker.
Louise gave me Bill's number with orders to "call now!" I did and we talked, but we did not get to see each other since I was heading back to Florida the next day. We continued our phone conversations, and a month later I came back to Long Island. This time we did see each other and had the same old feelings.
We had a civil wedding and reception in Ocala with local friends and family on Nov. 4, 2012. On Jan. 12 we had our fairy tale wedding, at St. Raphael Church in East Meadow. Our bridal party consisted of my two grandchildren and Bill's five grandchildren. Bill's sister Rosemarie was matron of honor, and her husband Otto was best man.
We had a wonderful reception at Fox Hollow in Woodbury. As Bill says, "God, friends and family brought us back together, and we could not be happier." That's our love story, happily ever after.
Bill worked at Grumman for 37 years and retired in 2000 as project manager. I worked in customer service with Cingular Wireless Service and retired in 2004.