Jack Stein of Coram recalls the night he met the love of his life, wife Anna.
I'm originally a Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, boy. It was a weekly Friday night ritual to go to Park Circle Roller Rink near Prospect Park with my neighborhood friends. One night in March 1951, a friend of mine from Flatbush brought along a neighbor named Anna.
When introduced to Anna, I fell in love in an instant. I was 17 years old. I was too shy to ask Anna for her telephone number, so I asked my friend to give it to me. A week later, I mustered up enough courage to call her.
We had our first date three months before Anna's 16th birthday. We went to a movie and dinner in Downtown Brooklyn.
When Anna turned 16 in June, I remember taking a picture of her with my Brownie camera. She was sitting on the stoop of her home on East Second Street. She posed for me in a beautiful dress that she handmade.
We started dating fairly steadily, with a couple of bumps in the road here and there. Once, after dating for some time, we had gone out and I was supposed to have Anna home by 11 p.m. It was a hot summer's evening, and we didn't get back to Anna's place until 11:45. Her mom and dad were sitting downstairs on the stoop. I guessed the apartment was hot and thought they were waiting for us to come home as well. I said, "Good evening folks, I'm really sorry that I got Anna home a little bit late." Her dad, Sam, cut me off. "Anna, you are to go upstairs right now, and good night, Jack." He never raised his voice, but we both got the message. I never brought Anna home late again.
We got engaged in March 1953, and were married on March 6, 1954. After living in Queens for many years, we moved to Stony Brook in 1967. Ten years ago we celebrated our 50th anniversary with our three children, their spouses and our six terrific grandchildren on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas cruise ship. Anna and I followed that up with a trip to San Diego.
For our 60th anniversary this year, we spent precious time with our family. It has been a great life, and we hope to keep on living the great life for as long as we are able. Anna and I are each other's best friend and we are still in touch with the few friends we went skating with at Park Circle Roller Rink.
I retired in 1995 as an administrator at Suffolk County Community College. Anna ran her own beauty supply store in Islip until we sold it in 1993. In 1994, we moved to a condominium in Coram, where retirement has been wonderful.