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Love Story: They've been dancing since they met at a Sweet 16 party

Loretta and Morton Laurence of Melville, seen in

Loretta and Morton Laurence of Melville, seen in a recent photo, celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary in 2018. Credit: Laurence family

Morton Laurence of Melville recalls his first dance with his wife, Loretta.

We first found each other at a Sweet 16 party in the spring of 1949. Although I had other plans, my friend talked me into going to the party.

At the party, I noticed a very pretty young lady and I asked her to dance. Her name was Loretta Linker. She was 17 and lived in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. I was 20 and lived in Coney Island.

We talked and danced together all evening. We found we had similar interests and there was definitely a strong attraction. I had graduated from Brooklyn Tech and was attending CUNY Brooklyn College. Loretta was about to graduate from Abraham Lincoln High School.

We began dating, and I escorted her to her high school senior prom. After graduating from high school, Loretta got a job as a legal secretary in Manhattan. We enjoyed going out to dinner or to a movie, but we really loved to go dancing. Loretta and I frequented a restaurant in Manhattan where we could dance to a live band. We only had to order French fries and a soda.

In December 1951, I was drafted into the Army and sent to Arkansas for basic training. I was then assigned to counterintelligence school at Fort Holabird in Maryland and began doing security clearances, investigations and surveillance of military personnel.

Loretta and I decided to get married. I requested a furlough and on Aug. 31, 1952, we were wed at the Kings Highway Jewish Center in Brooklyn. At the end of the wedding reception, I panicked when I suddenly realized we hadn’t booked a room for the night. And it was Labor Day weekend. With the help of a friend, I was able to get a very small room for us at the former Commodore Hotel in Manhattan.

Not long after the wedding, I was assigned to the 108th Counter Intelligence Corps in midtown Manhattan. We found an apartment on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, and I was able to go home each night to Loretta.

I finished my military service in December 1953 and got a job as a housewares buyer at A&S department store until 1957, when I began my career at Playtex Inc. I also worked as a freelance wedding photographer on weekends for eight years. Loretta had become a full-time homemaker in 1955 after our son was born.

In 1964, I was promoted to western district manager and we relocated to Canoga Park, Calif., with our three children. When we returned to New York in 1967, we bought a house in Elmont.

I retired in 1994 as sales administration director of trade relations with Playtex Inc. Loretta worked for the Sewanhaka School District. She retired in 1995 as an administrative supervisor.

In 2004, we moved to The Greens at Half Hollow in Melville. Loretta is involved with Hadassah and The Greens at Half Hollow women’s groups. She also enjoys playing canasta and mah-jongg. I became involved with golf and bowling as well as singing and acting in our community’s theater shows.

We have six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Sadly, we lost our youngest daughter in 2016 to breast cancer.

Loretta and I love to travel and have visited the Far East, Europe, the Caribbean and South America. Cruising has given us the opportunity to continue traveling with our family. We previously celebrated our 65th anniversary with them on a Carnival Cruise to the Caribbean. This past August we had a quiet celebration with our family for our 66th anniversary. We have been blessed.


— With Virginia Dunleavy

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