Dino Gerbase of Islip recalls meeting his future wife, Marion, and their interrupted courtship.
I met Marion Kueber in September 1950 at the Robin's Nest soda fountain in Elmhurst, Queens. It was across the street from Newtown High School, where Marion was a senior. I had graduated from there in January 1949. She was 16 and I was 18. For me it was love at first sight.
We dated for six months, then broke up over a silly teenage argument. It was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. We started dating other people, but I never stopped loving her. She began seeing a close friend of mine, which made it even harder to bear.
In 1952, during the Korean War, I was drafted into the Army and stationed Stateside. Whenever I came home on leave I would inquire about friends also serving in the military. I'd call Marion to ask about my good friend, the one she was dating. With every call I knew that I still loved her and regretted having broken up with her.
When I was discharged in January 1954, I again called Marion to see how she and my old friend were doing. She said she wasn't seeing him or anyone else. I asked if I could come right over. She said yes and I immediately took a bus from Elmhurst to her home in Maspeth. Marion was now 20 and I was 22. We spoke for quite a while, and I asked her on a date that weekend. We went to a movie and had pizza afterward. A year and a half later, on July 10, 1955, we were married at St. Adalbert Church in Maspeth. That year we bought a home in Franklin Square.
I worked as an area supervisor for a food wholesaler and Marion was a department manager at a mortgage service company. We retired to Venice, Florida, in 1995. For our 50th anniversary in 2005, we renewed our vows at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Franklin Square while visiting our family here.
In 2011, we decided to move to Islip to be closer to family on Long Island. Now, almost 65 years from when we first met and two daughters, two sons-in-law, three grandsons and a great-granddaughter later, we celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary by going to a play at a local theater. Our family also took us out to dinner the following weekend and gave us a beautiful anniversary plaque.
We often talk about and regret that silly argument we had as teenagers and the three years we missed not being together. We both now always say, "What is meant to be will be," and with us it turned out to be true. Marion was the first and only girl I ever truly loved and the greatest gift in my life.