Jane Nowisczski of West Babylon recalls how a blind date was arranged for her and future husband Joe.
In June 1965, I was 18 and living in Williston Park. My mother was working at Sperry Rand in Garden City. As mothers will do, she and a co-worker would talk about their children and share photos. One evening I remember my mom coming home and saying, “You might get a phone call tonight from the son of that nice woman I work with, Mrs. Nowisczski.” My reaction was, “Why would you do that?!”
Well, I did get that call from Joe Nowisczski and was asked out to a movie. We went to the Calderone Theater in Hempstead. He was 21 and lived in Mineola. He had a job at Aurora Plastics in Syosset. I was known as Jane Gallagher then and was a typist for Travelers Insurance in Garden City.
Somehow this blind date worked out very well. Joe and I continued seeing each other and fell in love. We’d play miniature golf, go bowling with his friends, walk the boardwalk at Jones Beach and attend the many functions held by my large family.
Then, exactly one year after our first date, Joe came to my house with a letter stating he had been drafted into the Army. He left for Fort Gordon, Georgia, and wrote to me every day. In one letter he asked me to marry him.
I made all the arrangements, and on Oct. 8, 1966, on a weekend leave, we were wed in St. Aidan’s Church in Williston Park. My mother had a reception for us in our backyard. We then packed all our belongings into the car and drove to Georgia. Before long we were packing again, this time for Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
In February 1967 the orders came for Joe to go to Vietnam. This was devastating news. He was given a three-month leave and we drove back to Williston Park, where I would live with my mother until he returned.
I remember the day I took Joe to the airport. I watched the plane pull away and wondered if I would ever see him again. Here I was 20 years old, a married woman with a husband off to fight a war in a country far away.
Joe served with the 9th Infantry Division’s armored tank division. One year later, he returned with orders to report to Fort Hood, Texas. Once again we packed the car and off we went. On July 5, 1968, Joe completed his military service, and we headed back to Long Island and bought our house in West Babylon.
Our traveling days were not over. We flew to Colombia in 1979 and adopted our beautiful daughter. She has been the joy of our lives. Her husband is like a son to us. What can I say about the two beautiful granddaughters we have — except absolutely the best thing ever!
Joe worked in logistics at Cablevision in Bethpage and retired in 2013. I was a clerk at the West Babylon Library, then worked with CNA insurance in the claims department before retiring in 2006.
We both love spending time with our family and recently celebrated 50 years of marriage with a family trip to Disney World, followed by a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas.
— With Virginia Dunleavy