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Love Story: It all started with a high school dance

Peggy and Manny Felouzis of Medford on Father's

Peggy and Manny Felouzis of Medford on Father's Day in 2019. Credit: Felouzis Family

Manny Felouzis of Medford celebrates 50 years of marriage to his wife, Peggy Felouzis (nee Cohen).

I first saw Peggy in the fall of 1967 as she was walking to school with her sister. It was our junior year at what's now Patchogue-Medford High School, where she had recently transferred. I knew right away that I needed to find out her name and ask her out — and did, in the spring of 1968. When we met, Peggy seemed to me like a "big city girl." Her family had moved to Medford from lower Manhattan in the summer of 1967. I was from Elmont, and my family moved to Patchogue in 1964 when my father opened the original Island Grill Diner.

Our first date was a school dance, where we listened to the music of The Rascals, The Temptations and other popular groups of the era. Love was in the air. We continued our courtship, going to the senior prom together in June 1969. In July 1971, I proposed to Peggy at Southaven Park in Yaphank.

We were married at St. Sylvester Roman Catholic Church in Medford on Aug. 28, 1971, and our reception was at Mickey Felice’s of Patchogue (now Lombardi’s on the Bay).

Our relationship faced challenges, yet we moved through troubled waters. For example, the day before our wedding, Long Island was hit with heavy winds and rains from tropical storm Doria. We learned that the catering hall had lost power, and we weren’t sure we would have a reception at all. My home also had lost power, and I had to go to a relative’s home to get ready for our big day. All this played on our nerves, our determination prevailed: the power was restored by 3 p.m. and the reception began at 7 p.m.

Afterward, we set off for Montauk Point for a short honeymoon. Then, we settled in Medford, where we have lived for 49 years.

Both Peggy and I are retired educators. I taught special-education secondary social studies for 33 years for Eastern Suffolk BOCES and then spent another 10 years at Patchogue-Medford Schools as a substitute teacher and proctor, continuing in retirement to proctor SAT, ACT and AP exams.

Peggy worked for Patchogue-Medford Schools as a kindergarten aide for 15 years, and then Eastern Suffolk BOCES as an individual aide for special-needs secondary students for 14 years. She served on the Patchogue-Medford Board of Education for six years, two as president.

Peggy and I were honored by the Patchogue-Medford School District in 1997 as Volunteers of the Year, and in 2019 we were recognized as 50-year honorees during the Patchogue-Medford High School graduation. This recognition is bestowed on graduates who remain active in the community and school district through volunteerism and dedication to the students in the community.

My wife is a woman who does not let adversity stop her from achieving her goals and enjoying life. She has been a devoted wife, outstanding educator, community leader and mom to three very special children, not to mention "Nanny" to four loving and talented grandchildren.

Marrying each other has given us much happiness and success; we’ve learned by observing others and were able to avoid pitfalls that other young couples run into. We listen to each other and respect each other’s opinions.

We will be celebrating our 50th anniversary at home with family and friends, since the COVID-19 crisis has limited what we can do and where we can go. Once life returns to normal, trips to Ireland (where Peggy’s mother was born) and Greece (where my father was born) are being planned.

— With Laura Mann

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