Joe and JoAnn Lever of Hampton Bays recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. JoAnn recalls how it all began.
I was born in the Bronx, the oldest of four sisters, and moved to Mastic in 1954 when I was 10. Joe was born in Brooklyn, the youngest of four brothers. He was 11 when he moved to Mastic in 1957.
We later attended William Floyd High School and were aware of each other since I was a cheerleader and he was on the football team.
I graduated in 1962, and the following summer, Joe’s brother and my girlfriend were getting married. We were both asked to be in the wedding party. Since we were to be partners in the wedding procession, we decided to get better acquainted before the big day. Joe was 17 and I was 19. We went on a date to see a movie and continued seeing each other after the wedding.
We enjoyed going to the beach at Wildwood State Park in Wading River and visited the World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens in 1964. We soon fell in love, and within a year he was asking my father’s permission to marry me.
I was working as a clerk typist with the Suffolk County Department of Audit and Control. Joe worked at Entenmann’s Bakery in Bay Shore on the production line.
In 1966, he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey. When we realized he was going to be deployed to Korea that August, we decided to push up our wedding date.
On July 10, 1966, we were wed at St. Jude Roman Catholic Church in Mastic Beach. My parents had a reception for us at their house in Mastic. We spent a brief honeymoon at the Amagansett Motel before Joe left for Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. I joined him there for a month before he shipped out. He served as a radio operator for 13 months with the 3rd Battalion, 81st Field Artillery at Camp Colbern in Korea.
When he finished his service in 1969, we settled in Hampton Bays. At the time I was an account clerk with the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department, but left in 1971 while expecting our second child.
Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in business at Long Island University in Southampton in 1980. He retired in 1999 as vice president of Mendenhall Fuel Oil Company in East Quogue. I returned to the workforce in 1974 and retired as a senior account clerk at Eastern Suffolk BOCES in 2000.
We have two wonderful sons, two terrific daughters-in-law, three handsome grandsons and three beautiful granddaughters. Joe and I love to travel and have been to many places, including Hong Kong, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. In 1984 we visited Disney World and fell in love with “the happiest place on Earth.” We have been to many of the Disney properties. To celebrate our 50th anniversary, last month we took our family to the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World and then on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas.
We look forward to many more years of living “happily ever after.”
— With Virginia Dunleavy