Jenn Barry of Patchogue talks about the gradual pace of the love story that led to marrying Roland Barry.
Roland and I met in Mrs. Zukowski’s kindergarten class at Canaan Elementary School in Patchogue when we were each 5 years old. We always had a connection. My last name then was Train and everyone always said “chugga chugga choo choo,” and because his first name was Roland, kids would say “row, row, row your boat.”
Fate continued to work hard to connect us. Skipping to our high school years and more connections, we shared a limo during our Patchogue-Medford High School senior prom though we weren’t each other’s date. We grew up around the corner from each other.
Turns out Roland and I had the same likes and dislikes. After graduating from high school in 1996 each of us traveled internationally though never met up. We lost touch until 2009, when one day in February I saw on a MySpace post of his that he was going to be at Gallo Tropical,, a restaurant and bar in Patchogue now known as Gallo Restaurant.
I messaged him and asked if I could “crash his quesadilla party.”
He said, “Sure! Come on down.”
When I got to the restaurant I immediately saw him talking and laughing with a very pretty girl. I was crushed until I found out it was his sister. Roland and I ended up talking to each other the whole night and started dating exclusively soon after that.
One day eight months later, Roland made plans for us to go to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River, where, unknown to me, he was planning to propose. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain and Roland ended up getting down on his knee and proposing to me at my house.
We were married Oct. 2, 2010, at the United Methodist Church in Patchogue with a reception after at nearby Sunset Harbor. Our wedding was perfect. At the end of the night, Roland surprised me with rose petals in our hotel suite. He read from Walt Whitman’s "Leaves of Grass" as I lay in his arms. We honeymooned in Europe and settled into my home back in Patchogue. We have been blessed with four children — three girls and one boy ranging from 2 to 8 years old.
Roland works as an engineer for a zip line company, and I do birth work as an educator, doula and lactation professional. I’m also chief executive and a volunteer at Birth and Beyond Resources, a nonprofit organization.
Roland came into my life very slowly but then all at once. I waited so long to find him and once he was there, it was: “yes, this is it.” And he has always been there. He was in my kindergarten class, my limo at the senior prom, living a mile away. From the very start, he has been different from anyone I’ve ever known. He doesn’t hold back. He values people. He values people’s feelings. He cherishes and protects my heart daily. We live our wedding day vows by following the same pact: Stay close and together. Wait for each other. Give each other respect and love with all of who you are.
— With Ann Donahue-Smukler
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