Marie Iadevia of Westbury recalls the day she met future husband Frank and how her courtship turned into a family affair.
My brother was serving in the Army Infantry during World War II when he met Frank Iadevia during basic training in 1943. My mother wrote to the boys while they served overseas. They were with the Third Armored Division in Normandy, France and Belgium. Frank was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for bravery. When the war ended, they were honorably discharged in 1945.
I met Frank that December. He came to visit my brother at our apartment in Long Island City, Queens, and stayed for dinner. My maiden name is DiMizio. He was 20 years old and I was 19. I had graduated from Bishop McDonald High School in 1943 and was working as a secretary with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Manhattan.
It was love at first sight for both of us. Frank, who lived in Westbury, began taking the Long Island Rail Road to Queens to see me.
Initially, we would go out with a group of family and friends. Aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors were always at our house. It seems that we were hardly ever alone! Our first official date was a few weeks after we met. We went to the local bowling alley, but even then we met up with my relatives and friends.
After only six weeks of dating, Frank proposed to me at the bowling alley with a beautiful ring that my youngest daughter now wears. Everyone thought we were joking. So, to signify our love, we took photos of previous girlfriends and boyfriends from our wallets and tore them to pieces in front of the group.
On Sept. 7, 1946, we were married at St. Mary’s Church in Long Island City. I wore my sister’s wedding gown. We then boarded a train and spent our honeymoon in the Laurentian Mountains in Canada.
We soon settled in Westbury. Frank worked as a carpenter for Nassau County in Mineola and retired in 1990. He has been a Westbury volunteer firefighter since 1959 and has volunteered for countless organizations and associations over the years.
I became a full-time homemaker. When our children were older, I worked as an administrative assistant for the Nassau County Board of Assessors in Mineola from 1976 until I retired in 1990. We were blessed with six children and eight grandchildren, but tragically lost a son, a daughter and a granddaughter.
We have been longtime members of the St. Brigid Catholic Church in Westbury and are now involved with local senior centers. We also enjoy frequent trips with friends, especially to the casinos.
My husband can fix anything, which has come in handy for the whole family over the years. Frank also has the greenest lawn, the prettiest flowers and the best garden. He proudly displays the American flag and loves this country.
For our 50th anniversary in 1996, we took our children, their spouses and our grandchildren to Disney World. Last year our daughter and her husband hosted a party at their home to celebrate our 70th anniversary, with our other children and their families and relatives who flew up from Orlando, Florida. This year, we went to a local restaurant for our 71st anniversary with our children and grandchildren. We are still surrounded by family and friends.
— With Virginia Dunleavy