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Love Story: Jack and Pearl Hayne, Old Bethpage

Jack and Pearl Hayne of Old Bethpage celebrated

Jack and Pearl Hayne of Old Bethpage celebrated their 65th anniversary on June 7, 2014. Photo Credit: Hayne family

Jack and Pearl Hayne of Old Bethpage discovered mother knows best when it comes to matchmaking. Jack explains.


On July 17, 1943, during World War II, I was a 19-year-old Army private stationed at Fort Totten in Bayside, Queens, trained as an ammunition loader and gunner on 40 millimeter anti-aircraft guns. I had a weekend pass and decided to visit my grandparents, who were spending the summer in the Catskill Mountains. My family was from Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

I hitchhiked 120 miles to the small town of Mountain Dale where they were staying. Getting a ride was easy, as everyone was glad to help a serviceman. Upon arrival, I found my mother was also visiting. She invited me to take a walk into town so she could introduce me to some of the girls. I thought, "Uh oh, this could be bad." But not wanting to disappoint her, I went along.

She took me into a store and introduced me to a very busy, gorgeous brunette named Pearl. Her family owned the store. Later, mom left but I stayed on to help.

Pearl, 16, put me to work setting up a display. A few hours later, my future mother-in-law handed me a deposit slip, a bag of money and the keys to the pickup truck. She gave me directions to a bank in the next town and sent me off. Now that was a trusting woman!

From then on I'd hitchhike back to visit Pearl whenever I could get a pass. I found out two months later that my aunt wanted her son, my cousin, to meet Pearl. Knowing I might have competition, I proposed to Pearl, but she was wise enough to decline because of the war.

When the fighting ended, I won an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, an hour away from Pearl. Cadets at U.S. Military Academy were forbidden to have a horse, mustache, car or wife, so marriage had to be postponed an additional four years. We saw each other as much as possible, often at the Academy's weekend dances.

I graduated June 7, 1949, and we were married that day in the Cadet Chapel. We exited through a tunnel of cadets holding their crossed swords above our heads. A year later, the Korean War began and I was deployed for 19 months.

I stayed in the Army and we traveled the world together. Pearl worked in banking near Mountain Dale, then as a teacher in Oberammergau, Bavaria. She has been a wonderful homemaker and mother to our two beautiful children. We now have one grandchild. In 1964, I retired from the military as a captain. I then worked at Grumman Aerospace, building Navy aircraft systems, and retired in 1988 as a project engineer.

We recently celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary with our family at Frederick's in Melville. Pearl has been the love of my life for 65 years. I shall be forever grateful to my mother for playing matchmaker.


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