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Love Story: Ethel and Ken Lesko, Valley Stream

Ken and Ethel Lesko of Valley Stream in

Ken and Ethel Lesko of Valley Stream in a recent photo. The couple celebrated their 50th anniversary in April, 2015. Photo Credit: Lesko family

Ethel Lesko of Valley Stream recalls the day she and future husband Ken were introduced to each other, again.

I was raised on the West Side of Manhattan and often visited relatives in Richmond Hill, Queens. It was there, as a young child in the 1950s, that I first met Ken Lesko, my cousin's elementary school friend. He was four years older than me. Over the years, Ken and my older brother, Mike Holly, became good friends.

After Ken graduated from high school in 1961, he enlisted in the Navy for four years and I basically forgot all about him. He was stationed in Virginia, aboard the ammunition ship USS Suribachi, where he was second in charge of the boat deck and also served as the captain's personal driver on land and sea.

In August 1964, Ken was coming home on leave and arranged for Mike to pick him up at the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan. Coincidentally, on the same day, at the same time, I got off a bus at the Port Authority after a day's excursion to Palisades Amusement Park with two children I was baby-sitting. I was 16.

Ken spotted me and thought I was really cute. Mike pulled his car over, honking the horn to get my attention so Ken could flirt with me, then realized this was his little sister! Ken, now 21, could not believe I was all grown up.

A romance blossomed and we married on May 1, 1965. We were so young, they said it wouldn't last. We started a family and, in 1978, bought our house in Valley Stream. One can judge how good a man is by his relationship with his mother-in-law. Ken was always kind and patient with my mom, who lived with us until she was 102.

In 1990, Ken retired as a supervisor with the New York City Department of Sanitation in Brooklyn. I got my master's degree in teaching from Adelphi University in Garden City in 1998. I taught elementary school in the New York City public school system, then at Grace Methodist Nursery School in Valley Stream. I retired in 2006. We have two lovely children -- a son and a daughter. They and our daughter-in-law and son-in-law have gifted us with four beautiful, healthy grandchildren. We have been blessed and God has been good to us.

We are members of the Hewlett Point Yacht Club in East Rockaway. Ken joined in 1992 and served as commodore in 1999. I was with the Women's Auxiliary, serving on the board as secretary, vice president and then chairlady.

For our 50th anniversary, we recently took a cruise to the Bahamas with my sister and her husband, who were also celebrating their golden anniversary, and a group of close friends.

It still may not last, but it's been great fun for 50 years!


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