John Diolallevi of New Hyde Park recalls how he met his future wife, Linda Ann, at work.
In the summer of 1974, I was 19 and working in the produce section of Bohack supermarket in Elmhurst, Queens, when an attractive new cashier named Linda Ann Dzwonek was hired.
Whenever it got busy, the guys in the other areas of the store were asked to help the cashiers bag groceries. I’d always volunteer for Linda Ann’s register and we’d talk.
She told me she was 16 and that in the fall she would be starting her senior year at Newtown High School in Elmhurst, my alma mater. I lived in Corona and was taking classes at Queensborough Community College in Bayside. She impressed me as being a real go-getter. She knew what she wanted to achieve in life and was persistent in reaching her goals. She also had, and still has, a big heart and is helpful to all. Six months later, I asked her out on a date.
I picked her up at her house in Elmhurst in my new 1974 Chevy Nova — she was impressed that I had my own car — and I met her parents.
On our first date we went to see “The Godfather: Part II,” at the Midway Theater on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills. Afterward we went to Baskin-Robbins around the corner on Austin Street for ice cream. We continued dating. It was the disco era and we’d often go out dancing, usually to Community Gardens on Jamaica Avenue in Queens Village. I was now working as a mechanic for Mercedes-Benz. Linda Ann graduated high school in 1975 and got a job with a bank. That year, after asking her dad for his blessing, I proposed to her at her house.
We were married on July 9, 1977, at St. Bartholomew’s Roman Catholic Church in Elmhurst, followed by a reception at Queens Terrace in Woodside.
On July 13, while we were in the Poconos for our honeymoon, we learned there was a citywide blackout. All five boroughs were affected. We called our parents and told them we were coming home the next day, a day earlier than expected.
We were renting an apartment in Whitestone. At the time, my parents also lived in Whitestone, so my mom prepared a big meal. She invited both sides of our family, more than 20 people, to have dinner together in their backyard.
We moved to New Hyde Park in 1988 and raised our two children. I retired in 2013 as lead auto technician with the United States Postal Service in Garden City. Linda Ann is a teacher’s aide with the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Union Free School District. We enjoy taking walks on the beach.
Our children recently got married, adding a daughter- and son-in-law to our family. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary this year with them at Positano Brick Oven Pizza & Ristorante in Williston Park. Linda Ann and I also celebrated with a trip to Hawaii.
— With Virginia Dunleavy