Marie Battaglia of Harbor Isle recalls her introduction to future husband Anthony.
We met in the summer of 1963 on Rockaway Beach, Queens, at 36th Street. I was 16 and Anthony was 17. We were both with a group of friends. I was Marie Fugalli back then. The boys flirted and joked around with us. I could tell Anthony liked me by the way he teased me.
They lived in Ozone Park and we were from East New York, Brooklyn. At the end of the day, we all walked to the train station. My friends and I boarded our train to Brooklyn, but before the doors closed Anthony grabbed my beach bag and wouldn’t give it back until I got off the train. While waiting for the next train, we made plans to meet in the fall at the St. Michael’s Church dance in East New York.
That October, Anthony and his friends showed up and he danced with me all night. We continued to meet there every Friday. When I hear the lyrics of the Four Seasons’ song “December, 1963” I think of Dec. 1, 1963, when Anthony asked me out on our first date.
We continued dating, usually going out with our friends to the Sunrise Drive-In in Valley Stream or meeting up at local diners in our neighborhoods.
Anthony went to John Adams High School in Ozone Park and I went to William H. Maxwell Vocational High School in East New York. We both graduated in 1964. Our proms fell on the same weekend. We went to Anthony’s prom on Friday night and afterward saw Neil Sedaka at a nightclub on Flatbush Avenue. On Saturday, we dressed up again and went to mine. After my prom we rode back and forth on the Staten Island Ferry, something we’d often do on dates.
Anthony became a UPS driver and took some college courses. I worked as a secretary for Burlington Mills in Manhattan. By the time I was 19, I knew he was the man I wanted to raise children with, so I proposed. I told him I loved him and said it was time we got engaged. He agreed, and on Dec. 2, 1967, we were married at St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Brooklyn. Our reception was at The Queens Terrace in Jackson Heights. We went to Puerto Rico for our honeymoon. It was the first time either of us had been on an airplane.
In 1984 we moved from Ozone Park to Howard Beach, and have been in our present home in Harbor Isle in Nassau County for the past five years. Our son and daughter, their spouses and our three grandchildren, the loves of our lives, live within blocks of our house. Family means everything to us.
Anthony retired in 1999 as a New York City school bus driver. While working that job, he also owned and ran a retail clothing store and later a restaurant. I retired in 2001 as a teacher’s aide at St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy in Ozone Park. We now vacation several times a year and have visited Italy, Aruba, California and Florida.
We recently took a trip to San Diego for our 50th anniversary and plan a trip to Florida with our family.
I admire Anthony’s honesty and generosity. He is loyal to family and friends. He’s funny and still makes me laugh.
— With Virginia Dunleavy