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Love Story: When best friends fell in love, she had to move out

Margaret and Andy Staib of Greenlawn on their

Margaret and Andy Staib of Greenlawn on their wedding day in September 1996. Credit: Ray O'Connor

Margaret Staib of Greenlawn recalls falling in love with her best friend, her husband, Andy.

I was a sophomore at Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset in 1985 when I first met Andy Staib through our mutual friend Chris Kline

I was Margaret Marsh then and living in Cold Spring Hills. Andy lived in Huntington Bay and was attending Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. We were both 16.

We hung out together with our friends during the summer and on school breaks. He was very handsome, funny and easy to talk to, but I had a serious boyfriend all through high school and Andy was busy dating lots of girls.

We remained friends after we graduated from high school in 1986. I attended Framingham State College in Massachusetts while Andy went on to Providence College in Rhode Island.

After we graduated from college in 1990, Andy and Chris rented a house in Huntington Station and had a housewarming party. Andy gave me a tour of the house. I noticed an empty bedroom and asked, “Who is living here?” He said they were looking for another roommate. I happened to be looking for a place to live and said, “I’ll be your roommate.” Andy and Chris were fine with the idea, and I moved in the next day.

The house, which had a little sign outside that read “The Meadows,” became a place for our many friends to hang out. We had epic Halloween parties, television show viewing sessions of “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Seinfeld” and dance parties in the street.

Andy and I were still dating other people. I was even setting up dates for Andy with girls I knew. After all, he was my best friend.

Then, in 1993 while we were at a friend’s wedding at The Head of the Bay Club in Huntington, a man began bothering me. Suddenly, Andy appeared at my side and said, “She is here with me,” and he led me onto the dance floor. While dancing to Frank Sinatra’s recording of “Summer Wind,” he kissed me — and we both knew we were in love.

We thought it was awkward to date while we were still roommates, so I moved to a house in Greenlawn with a girlfriend.

On July 11, 1995, Andy took me back to The Head of the Bay Club, where that telling dance took place, and proposed to me. We returned there again for our wedding on Sept. 21, 1996. We spent our honeymoon in Hawaii. That year we also bought our home in Greenlawn.

We have three beautiful daughters. Andy owns DWS Printing Associates in Deer Park, a company that has been in his family for five generations. I own a landscaping business called Grateful Gardens.

Being best friends is the strong foundation of our marriage. In 2004, I developed alopecia, an autoimmune disease  that caused the loss of all my hair. I am bald. Although I no longer have my long, black hair, Andy has always made me feel nothing less than beautiful. When I am upset about it, he listens to me like it’s the first time he is hearing me express how I feel. I started a support group through the National Alopecia Areata Foundation in 2009, running monthly meetings at Harborfields Public Library in Greenlawn.

Last year we celebrated our 22nd anniversary with a trip to San Francisco.

We enjoy playing golf, exercising, listening to live music and just enjoying life together. We are blessed to have friends and family we love so close by. Most spring and summer nights we’re on our front-porch swing with a cocktail in hand toasting to life.

— With Virginia Dunleavy

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