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Love Story: Nancy and Richard Sisson, North Babylon

Richard and Nancy Sisson of North Babylon at

Richard and Nancy Sisson of North Babylon at their 50th wedding anniversary party in July 2014. Credit: Sisson family

Richard and Nancy Sisson of North Babylon had a great first date, but didn't go on a second date until six months later. Richard explains.

 

I joined the Navy in 1960 right out of high school and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Shangri La. In October 1962, I was deputy commanding officer of the electronics division when the ship was sent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for six months. I was from Centralia, Illinois, and this was my first time in New York.

Two weeks later, my friend and I went to a dance at Community Gardens in Queens Village. We noticed two young women standing by themselves and asked for a dance. We spent the rest of the night in their company, dancing and talking. They were from Elmont. My dance partner was Nancy Dorrington. She was 17 and I was 20. At the end of the dance, we walked them to the bus stop and arranged to take them out on a real date the following evening.

That first date, on Oct. 21, went well. I told my friend I had found the girl I would marry and spend my life with. He just laughed. This date turned out to be my first and last with Nancy for a long time.

The next day, President John F. Kennedy gave his speech on the Cuban missile crisis. An order came to the Shangri La to transfer senior petty officers to the USS Lexington, which was leaving the Navy Yard and steaming to Cuba. I called Nancy and told her about my transfer and promised I would write. And write, I did; every day, sometimes twice. And I received letters from her almost daily.

I was really falling in love with Nancy through our letters and occasional phone calls. In April 1963, the Lexington docked in Pensacola, Florida. I got leave and came up to Elmont to visit her. I purchased an engagement ring and asked her to marry me. She declined! I went back to the Lexington disappointed.

We continued to build our relationship through the mail. That September, I was honorably discharged from the Navy and, after visiting my family in Illinois, came to New York for good. I got a job and rented an apartment close to Nancy. We continued dating and finally, in November, she said yes when I proposed.

Nancy and I were married on July 11, 1964, at St. Boniface Church in Elmont. We have three sons, who, with our wonderful daughters-in-law, have given us eight delightful grandchildren. Nancy was a stay-at-home mom and later worked as a bookkeeper for several small companies until 2012. I retired in 1988 as a patrol sergeant with the Nassau County Police Department after 20 years on the force.

We celebrated our 50th anniversary by renewing our vows at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in West Islip and with a party at the American Legion Hall in Lindenhurst. We enjoy spending time at Babylon senior centers and traveling the country. I'm also a country-music singer and entertain at nursing homes, senior centers and local libraries.

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