Stuart Held of Glen Cove recalls a teenage courtship with his future wife, Nina.
I was introduced to Nina Wallison by a friend who was breaking up with her. It was 1953; I was 16 and she was 14. We were standing in front of her house at 255 Ocean Ave., across the street from Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
I was immediately attracted to her. When I returned home, three blocks away at 412 Ocean Ave., I told my mother I had met the girl I was going to marry. She made no comment, which was surprising. If I thought that was what I wanted, she would back me up; she always had my back. When I introduced Nina to my mother, they bonded immediately. It was like I didn’t exist anymore.
We both attended Erasmus Hall High School. She was a sophomore and I was a senior. I was president of the Boys Glee Club and convinced Nina to join the Cantata, the girls singing group. There were many concerts, especially for the Christmas holidays, and our groups sang together.
I never formally asked Nina on a date. We would hang out with our group of friends, either congregating around the benches outside Prospect Park, or going to a movie or for a pizza together. Eventually, Nina and I began double dating with our friends.
Four years later, we decided to marry. Since I wasn’t yet 21 and was considered underage, my mother had to sign a permission form for us to get a marriage license.
On June 30, 1957, we were wed at the Hotel Granada in Brooklyn and spent our honeymoon in Bermuda. For our 39th wedding anniversary, we took a cruise back to Bermuda and stopped at the Elbow Beach Surf Club, where we stayed in 1957. I mentioned this to a woman there and she introduced us to one of the “cabana boys” who had worked there since 1957. He wasn’t impressed.
We moved to Glen Cove in December 1964. Nina and I continued singing in community theater, at our temple and with various choruses throughout the years. She still sings with the North Shore Community Chorus. We have three children, a son-in-law, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.
We both retired in 2010. Nina worked for the Nassau County Board of Elections for 17 years. I worked in the photographic industry, first spending 20 years with Nikon USA until leaving in 1979, and then as part-owner of several photography businesses. In 2001, I became an assistant to the Nassau County parks commissioner.
The Glen Cove Senior Center approached us to host a one-hour weekly radio program on the LIU/C.W. Post station, and wcwp.org. We agreed and have been broadcasting “Senior Moments” every Tuesday at 11 a.m. since Sept. 18, 2012.
Our daughter hosted a 60th anniversary party for us in June at her home, with family and friends of all ages gathered to celebrate.
I am 80 years old and my wife is 78. We hope to have many more years together. I’ll end this story with the tag phrase we use to end our radio show: Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
— With Virginia Dunleavy