Daniel Lynch of Glen Head recalls the day he met his wife, Jane, and the memento he gave her.
It was 1966. I was 18 and a freshman at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C. Sacred Heart College was our "sister" school in the same town. My roommate asked if I wanted to go to a mixer (picnic) across the border in South Carolina, with the "all girls" Sacred Heart College. I liked the odds and said yes.
If any one believes in love at first sight, it would be me. She was 17 and wearing white jeans and a black and white rugby shirt. Her name was Jane. My heart was pumping - she was beautiful! I used all my best lines and asked her if she was a "surfer girl." Jane said she wasn't but was from Roslyn, Long Island, and told me she liked my smile. She called me "DC Danny," since I was from Washington, D.C. I drove a red GTO.
As Jane and I were walking along, toward the end of the picnic that first day, I picked up a twig off the ground, broke it and gave half of it to her - both pieces were about 2 inches long. I told her to keep it for as long as she wanted to be my girl.
My older brother, who also attended Belmont Abbey College, just happened to be dating a girl from Sacred Heart, as well. As it turned out, his girlfriend was my Jane's designated "big sister," who was supposed to guide her and show her the ropes. Well, needless to say, the two "sisters" became fast friends.
We dated through college until I went off to the Air Force - but not before asking her to marry me. I served at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas as a crew chief on fighter aircraft and later became a private pilot.
We married April 11, 1970. Right before our 35th anniversary, I asked her if she still had her half of the twig. She went to her jewelry box, and there it was. I still had my half. As a surprise, I had the two twigs mounted onto a small plaque and inscribed, "Camp Thunderbird, S.C., August 28, 1966, Forever." It hangs on the wall in our den as a constant reminder of that day we met. As it turned out, my brother also married his Sacred Heart girl.
We have been best friends since we met, have lived in Glen Head for the past 37 years and have been blessed with a wonderful son, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter, with another on the way in July. We plan on celebrating our 40th anniversary with a trip to Paris. I sold my GTO.