Mary Estock of Lake Grove recalls how future husband Mike got her attention when they were in high school.
I was a senior at Bryant High School in Astoria, Queens, in February 1960. On my first day of an economics class, the teacher asked this tall, lanky guy to get some books in the main office. As he passed the teacher's desk, he tripped right in front of me. He smiled this quirky smile and didn't look embarrassed at all. I admired that because I was shy and would have died if it happened to me. I found out his name was Mike. We were both 17 but hadn't met before this class.
As I was leaving school the next day, I heard a voice behind me say, "Hey, where are you going?" It was Mike. I told him I was walking to my part-time job on Broadway and Steinway Street. He then ran to catch his bus home. This happened for several days in a row. He would say something funny or tease me just before boarding the bus. Something about him attracted me.
Not long after that, I was home sick for a week. On my first day back at school, I found Mike waiting outside my homeroom. "Where were you?" he asked. When I told him I had the flu, he joked, "Yeah, sure." He then rushed to get to his homeroom on the fourth floor. He was certainly making an effort to see me.
After school that day, we decided Mike would walk with me to my job. He actually took two buses home, and the second bus happened to stop in front of the optometrist's office where I worked. We talked and he held my hand as we walked. Our height difference -- Mike is 6 feet tall and I am 5 feet -- gave us an interesting look.
He asked me if I had time for a hot chocolate. I was late for work but said, "OK." As we sat at a nearby luncheonette, I ripped a scrap of paper from my pad and wrote my telephone number on it. "Who said I wanted it?" he teased. Ignoring him, I wrote "Don't lose this" next to my number. Mike put it in his wallet, where it stayed for more than 40 years! We now keep that piece of paper in our family album.
Mike called that following Sunday, and from then on we were inseparable. Some of our dates were at the New York World's Fair, Palisades Park in New Jersey and Rizzo's pizzeria in Astoria. Two years later, we were engaged, and on May 16, 1964, we married at St. Joseph's Church in Astoria. Our wedding reception was at the Huntington Town House. In 1973, we moved to our present home in Lake Grove.
This year, we celebrated our 50th anniversary by renewing our vows and enjoying a dinner party at Lombardi's on the Sound with our three children, their spouses and our seven grandchildren. Mike and I continued the celebration on a cruise. That smile of his gets me every time.