Helen Giorlando of Mount Sinai recalls her courtship with Jerry, her future husband.
We met in the fall of 1963 at my friend’s house. I was 18 and lived in Richmond Hill, Queens. Jerry had been invited over by my friend’s brother to meet another one of our girlfriends. My friends and I walked over to Jerry, who was sitting on the trunk of his red convertible.
We were all introduced. My name was Helen Olijnyk back then. Jerry was 19 and lived in Queens Village. My first impression was that he thought he was hot stuff. I found out later that as soon as Jerry saw me he whispered to his friend that he was going to marry me. I was in a serious relationship at the time.
A few months later, Jerry found out that I broke up with my boyfriend. He jumped right in and called me for a date. Jerry took me bowling and to dinner. We then went to a movie and afterward stopped at IHOP. He seemed to want to make a good impression, and he did. I thought, “Wow, this guy knows how to treat a girl.” I realized I had misjudged him. Jerry was very sweet and caring, and we continued dating.
In 1964, Jerry thought he might be drafted into the military. He didn’t want to be away from me, so he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserves. He did his basic training at Parris Island in South Carolina, then served one weekend a month in Garden City. Due to medical reasons he was honorably discharged in 1965.
Two years later, on the night of his brother’s engagement party, Jerry asked me to marry him. He didn’t have enough money to buy me a ring, so he decided to sell his prized possession, his beloved red Pontiac Bonneville convertible. I got my ring and he had no car. However, he did buy an old black something or other that got us around for a while. Jerry was devastated when he heard that the person who bought his car blew up the engine, and he has been in a depression ever since.
On Sept. 24, 1966, we were married at Our Lady of Lourdes in Queens Village, followed by a reception at The Huntington Town House. We honeymooned at the spectacular, world-famous Mount Airy Lodge in Pennsylvania.
We moved from Queens to Ronkonkoma in 1970, and three years later settled in Port Jefferson Station, where Jerry owned a coffee shop with his brother. He left that business and together we opened the Cutting Hut hair salon in 1982, also in Port Jefferson Station. For 32 years we ran the salon together and managed to remain married. We both retired after selling the salon in 2014. Since 2007 Jerry and I have lived in Plymouth Estates in Mount Sinai and have made many lasting friendships.
This summer we celebrated our 50th anniversary in a special way. We took our three children, two sons-in-law, our daughter-in-law and nine grandchildren, whom we adore, to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Our family loved being together and we all had a great time. In September, Jerry and I also took a cruise to Spain with friends. My life with Jerry has never been boring. We look forward to many more years together.
— With Virginia Dunleavy