Einar Sorli of Ridge recalls overcoming shyness to ask his future wife, Carol, out on a first date.
I was born in Norway and came to this country with my family in 1951, when I was 10. We settled in Rocky Point. It was a small town of about 1,000 people in the winter but swelled to a population of 5,000 in the summer. One of those summer residents would become my wife.
In 1959, I graduated from high school and was drafted into the Army. I served in South Korea for 18 months, assigned to the 4th Missile Command at Camp Page, first as combat engineer and then with the honor guard.
When I left the Army in 1962, I came back home and got a job as a gas pump attendant and mechanic at Bill Fry's gas station in town. Then, in the summer of 1963, my boss introduced me to the new bookkeeper, Carol Leavy. I thought to myself that this is the girl I am going to marry. However, I had always been shy around girls, a trait my brother, who was very popular with the girls, would tease me about all the time.
So, I began following Carol in my car to see where she lived and where she'd go with her friends after work. I didn't realize she knew what I was up to and that even her friend began asking, "When is he going to ask you out!?"
About six weeks later, I finally got the nerve to do it. We went to the Rocky Point Drive-In Movie Theater to see "The Longest Day," a World War II film about D-Day and the Normandy landings starring John Wayne, Richard Burton and Henry Fonda.
She and her family were originally from Astoria, Queens. They had been coming to their summer home in Rocky Point for about a decade before permanently moving there in 1959. Carol was a country girl at heart and loved living in Rocky Point. She was 24, and I was 23. We began seeing each other on a regular basis, going to the local bowling alley, playing miniature golf or sometimes going out to dinner.
A year later, on July 25, 1964, we were married at the newly built Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocky Point, the first wedding performed there. Our reception was at the Polish Hall in Riverhead. For our honeymoon, we toured the New England states by car. We especially loved Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in Maine, and have returned there a few times.
Carol continued working as a bookkeeper, then as a bank teller before becoming a full-time homemaker in 1971.
I retired in 2002 as a mail carrier in East Setauket after 35 years, then worked as a school bus driver with Montauk Bus in Center Moriches until 2012. We moved to Ridge in 2007.
We have been blessed with two sons, one granddaughter and the best daughter-in-law in the world. On our golden anniversary, our sons threw us a house party with friends and family. It has been 50 years of fun for both of us.