Frank and Norah Gusmerotti of Deer Park love to go dancing. Norah recalls their first dances together.
I met my husband, Frank, in 1961 at the Tuxedo Ballroom on East 86th Street in Manhattan. My friends and I went dancing every weekend, either at the Tuxedo, the Lorelei dance hall, the Hotel Taft or the Cresthaven Country Club in Queens, anywhere we heard there was a dance. Frank was there with his brother and friends. He was 22 and I was 20. We danced together quite a few times. He seemed very nice, was good-looking and a great dancer, so when he asked for my phone number I gave it to him.
He lived in Ridgewood, Brooklyn, and I lived in upper Manhattan near 207th Street, the last stop on the A train, so he had to travel quite a distance. On our first date, we took a boat ride to Rye Playland with another couple. I was embarrassed to tell him that I got sick on amusement rides, but, of course, when I turned green, he found out.
His parents were from Italy and he came from a large family of six sisters and two brothers. My mother was from Ireland, also from a large family, but my father died when I was a baby, so I was an only child. My mother's family had a lot of parties in my aunt's basement out in Whitestone, Queens, where my uncles played Irish music on the fiddle and the accordion and we danced traditional Irish dances.
It was a bit of a culture shock for Frank when I brought him there. He came to visit one Friday and we told him it was "Italian Night" and proceeded to open up a couple of cans of Franco American spaghetti. That's when he turned green. When my mother invited his parents for dinner, we worried whether they would understand one another. My mother had an Irish brogue and his parents spoke with Italian accents. We invited his brother and sister to help translate. We worried for nothing. They understood each other just fine and we had a great time.
Frank joined the New York City Fire Department in January 1964 and we were married April 18, 1964, in Good Shepherd Parish in Inwood, Manhattan. We moved to Deer Park in 1965. Frank loved being with the FDNY and retired as a captain in 1989. We had always wanted to travel and see the United States, so over the next few years we made three cross-country trips in our camper, including one up to Alaska.
We are active in our parish, SS Cyril & Methodius RC Church in Deer Park. Frank and I volunteered in our outreach ministry for 10 years. We have three beautiful daughters, three great sons-in-law and seven wonderful grandchildren, with whom we recently celebrated our 50th anniversary in Las Vegas.
We have been well and truly blessed and still love to dance. The Spangle Drive Senior Center in North Babylon has great dance music.