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Love Story: He dried her tears with an engagement ring

Monica and Steve Klein of Deer Park, seen

Monica and Steve Klein of Deer Park, seen in a photo taken in July 2020 at a restaurant in Blue Point, have traveled extensively in their 17 years of marriage. Credit: Cathy Withjack

Monica (Morselli) Klein of Deer Park chats about meeting her husband, Steve.

Back in 2000, I was living in Lindenhurst and answered a few personal ads in Introductions, Newsday's singles section. I saw Steve’s ad looking for a SWCW 27-35 (single, white, Christian, woman, age 27 to 35). Back then, users had to leave a recorded message for the person whose ad they were answering. At $2.99 per minute, I needed to speak quickly, yet show my personality, which I think I did.

When Steve responded, we exchanged phone numbers and spoke a few times before meeting at Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern on Deer Park Avenue. I arrived early to watch the door. Several guys had walked in until I saw one who matched Steve’s description and who happened to be very handsome. It was him. Our conversation was easy, and he made me laugh. We enjoyed each other’s company then made plans to see each other again.

Our first date was at Butera‘s Restaurant in Massapequa. I remember how relaxed I felt and how wonderful the date went. It was nice to be with a man who was a class act and treated me nicely. At the end of the night I tested him. I walked to the side of the car and waited for him to open the door for me. When I asked him why he hadn’t opened the door, he said, "That’s not my car." Again, we had another good laugh. We dated for four months before we said the "L" word.

Eighteen months later we got engaged. It happened in June 2002, when we had made plans to go to Block Island for my birthday weekend. Unfortunately, the weather was horrible, and our trip was canceled. We were walking along a beach in Montauk when I started to cry. I really thought we were going to get engaged at Block Island. Steve pulled a tissue from his pocket, not to dry my tears but to present me with a gorgeous engagement ring.

At that moment, an elderly couple emerged from the fog, and I asked them to take our picture. We were married a year later, on July 6, 2003, at Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church in West Babylon. Our reception was at Fox Hollow in Woodbury, and we honeymooned in St. Lucia. We returned to our house in Deer Park where we still live today.

Steve is a water treatment supervisor for the Town of Babylon, where he has worked for 33 years. I work for the Bethpage school district as a sixth-grade social studies teacher. We don’t have any children, so we have been able to travel extensively.

Steve is kind and generous and will do anything for anyone. He is a wonderful provider and is terrific with my parents. He still makes me laugh and keeps me grounded. An example is the night I accidentally lit a towel on fire trying to douse the remains of an hours-old fire in the fireplace of our swanky Newport, Rhode Island, bed-and-breakfast. Not wanting to wake Steve, I started to tamp the smoldering ashes with a wet towel. Bad idea: Up in flames went the towel. Not only did I wake Steve, but all the other guests, too. Fortunately, there was no damage. Steve was typically understanding and, as usual, we ended up laughing.

I’ve always known I did the right thing by waiting until I was 37 to find my soul mate. I found a man who is exactly like my father and grandfather. He’s loyal, loving and a great friend.

— With Ann Donahue-Smukler

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Access the online form at newsday.com/lilovestory — or send an anecdote along with your phone number and a photo to ann.smukler@newsday.com, or call Ann Donahue-Smukler at 631-843- 2520. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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