Harvey Sandig of Islip Terrace tells how his romance with his wife, Laura, almost ended before it began.
In January 1998, I was living in a basement apartment near Kings Highway in Brooklyn. I was going through a bad time because I was unemployed and, due to a busted pipe in the foundation I had no heat.
I was job hunting, so I bought a copy of Newsday's Queens edition and I decided to also browse through the personal ads. An ad from "a 37-year-old interested in baseball, bowling and comedy clubs" caught my eye. These were hobbies that also interested me.
I called the ad's voice mail at 2 a.m., and a couple days later Laura called me back.
She was recently divorced, had a teenage daughter and was living in Bohemia. We hit it off right from the start and talked on the phone numerous times for hours. We had such a good time that, despite the distance, we decided to meet halfway in Lynbrook.
I didn't own a car and was going to take the Long Island Rail Road but being a last-minute Charlie I missed the train by two minutes. When I didn't show up, Laura didn't plan to see me again, but her mother convinced her to give me another chance. Two weeks later we met in Babylon. The date was Feb. 21, 1998.
When I got there I saw a gold Mercury Cougar driving up and down Deer Park Avenue. It turned out to be Laura, checking me out. She approached me and jokingly said, "Are you waiting for somebody, Bub?" We went for coffee and talked like we had on the phone.
Despite the long distance, we wanted to continue the relationship. I moved to Lynbrook in April, but she moved farther east to Eastport.
During the next five years we broke up numerous times, but we always got back together. I guess we couldn't live without each other.
We were married on Aug. 22, 2004. I was 52 and Laura was 44. Laura is Catholic and I'm Jewish, so we were in a quandary about where to hold the ceremony. We decided on St. Peter and Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Manorville, where Laura was a parishioner. The ceremony included both Hebrew and Christian portions of the Bible. Our relationship has truly been a miracle and gift from the heavens.
I'm certainly thankful I answered that ad in Newsday.