Gerald “Gerry” and Sandra Bogatz of North Bellmore have been married 65 years. Gerry recalls how it all started.
I grew up across the street from my future wife, Sandra Rubin, on East 92nd Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. We’d hang out together from time to time as part of a crowd of guys and girls who lived on that block and on East 91st Street, but our love affair didn’t start until the summer of 1948.
My best friend, Charlie Hudes, and I were invited to a beach party at a friend’s house in Neponsit, Queens, located on Rockaway Peninsula. Charlie approached Sandra and her best friend, Bernice Goldstein, and asked them to join us. They accepted the invitation.
Early in the evening at the party, Charlie paired off with Sandra and I was with Bernice. A bonfire was built on the beach, and while we were cooking hamburgers and hot dogs and roasting marshmallows, we somehow switched partners. This led to a happy turn of events for us all.
Sandra and I struck up a conversation. She told me she was starting classes at Long Island University in Brooklyn and would major in retailing. I was taking science courses at Brooklyn College. By the end of the night, I knew that Sandra would be my soul mate and the love of my life.
She was 17 and I was 19. We began dating, usually going out on double dates with Charlie and Bernice. Sometimes the four of us would go into Manhattan to see a movie and dine out.
I proposed to Sandra on Dec. 19, 1949. To save up money for our wedding, she got a job as a bookkeeper and I switched to night classes so I could work during the day.
On Nov. 22, 1950, we were married at the DeLuxe Palace in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Bernice and Charlie tied the knot the following year. We are all still the best of friends.
In 1958, Sandra and I moved to North Bellmore (we are the last original owners on the block), where we raised our family. We are truly blessed with three wonderful children, two great sons-in-law, four grandchildren and my granddaughter’s husband, whom we consider our grandson.
We have traveled to Mexico, taken a cruise to South America which we won in a raffle and vacationed in Aruba several times.
Sandra retired in 2012 as a claims manager at an insurance agency in Garden City after 28 years. She now enjoys baking for friends and family. I was a hardwood flooring contractor before starting my own home construction business, Dalger Building Corp., working in Freeport, North Merrick and East Hampton from 1977 to 1990. Since then I have worked at Home Depot in Farmingdale as a mill work specialist.
In November, we celebrated our 65th anniversary with a family dinner at our favorite restaurant, The Carltun in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.
— With Virginia Dunleavy