Francine Altman of Massapequa recalls seeing double when she met her future husband, Ron.
Ron and I met In May 1970. I was as a clerk at Central Certificate Service, a subdivision of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan.
One day I noticed a young man who worked on the delivery dock was looking very different. Normally he dressed in overalls and a bandanna, but he was now wearing a suit. I remarked to a co-worker about how good he looked. My co-worker laughed and said, “That’s not Leon. That’s Ron, his identical twin.”
I was told Ron had recently finished his military service and was returning to his old job as a senior clerk. He had been drafted into the Army in 1968, the year I started working at the company. He had served as a personnel specialist stationed in Okinawa.
Ron and I were introduced. My name was Francine Baiata. He lived in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium. I was from Howard Beach, Queens. We were both 22 years old.
There was an immediate attraction. We would flirt with each other in the office and occasionally go to lunch or hang out with our colleagues after work. Six months later, Ron asked me out on a date.
We went to see a movie. After the movie, Ron told me he’d like to continue seeing me outside of work. I explained that I was in a relationship with someone else and that I would need time to think about things. Ron said, “Take all the time you need.”
He meant it and, in January 1972, when I was single again, we officially became a couple. One evening that April, we were on the subway going to my house when he gave me my engagement ring and asked me to marry him.
We were married on Jan. 13, 1973, at St. Helen Roman Catholic Church in Howard Beach. His twin brother, Leon, was Ron’s best man. Since they both wore tuxedos it was almost impossible for most people to tell them apart. But I had no trouble.
We had a beautiful reception at the Riviera in Massapequa and spent our honeymoon in Acapulco, Mexico.
I left my job later that year to become a full-time mom. We have three devoted daughters. We moved to New Hyde Park in 1990, then to Massapequa in 2012.
Ron is a wonderful husband and father. He always attended our daughters’ sporting events. He would go straight from work to a softball game and coach third base while still wearing his suit! He also took evening classes and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration in marketing from Baruch College in Manhattan.
We both love to travel. One of the highlights was a wonderful trip to Greece in 2014. Each summer we rent a house on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, and we take along our three beautiful daughters, three wonderful sons-in-law and our five amazing grandsons. We spend as much time as we can with our grandsons.
Ron left Central Certificate Service, which had become Depository Trust Co., in 2001 as operations director. He then worked as a pari-mutuel supervisor for the New York Racing Association until he retired in 2019. He occasionally works on a part-time basis for NYRA. I have worked several part-time jobs over the years. Currently I’m a fragrance representative at Lord & Taylor in Garden City, distributing samples to customers.
Recently, Ron dealt with a serious health issue. He again showed us his strength and pulled through. Ron has always been my hero.
In January we celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary with a trip to Naples, Florida, with friends. I’m so glad Ron waited for me.