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Long Island

Former Long Islanders turned $1.80 dates into 65 years

Lucille and Louis Gallina, former Plainview residents, in

Lucille and Louis Gallina, former Plainview residents, in April 1951. The couple, who reside in New Port Richie, Fla., were married in September 1953. Credit: Gallina Family

Louis Gallina, a former Plainview resident, recalls his courtship with his wife, Lucille.

Lucille and I both lived on Kosciusko Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. She was 16 and attending Bishop McDonald High School in Brooklyn. I was a 19-year-old freshman at The City College of New York in Manhattan.

In May 1948, my younger brother Al, who was attending Brooklyn Technical High School, gave me two tickets to his school’s senior dance. I told him that I didn’t have anyone to ask. He said, “Ask Lucille Proscia.” “How do you know she will go with me?” I asked. He replied, “Just ask her.”

I then remembered Lucille’s birthday party. Al and I had chipped in to buy a Frank Sinatra album for her as a gift. At the time I did get the sense that she liked me.

The next morning, I waited outside hoping to meet Lucille on her way to school. When she did walk by, I stopped her and asked her to the dance. She said, “I have to ask my mother. I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

I thought this was a “no” in disguise.

The next day I again waited for Lucille. This time she said, “Yes.” She had wanted to reschedule an appointment she had on the same day as the dance before she accepted the invitation.

We began dating after that dance. We often rode the Dekalb Avenue trolley to downtown Brooklyn for a Sunday matinee at the Loew’s Metropolitan Theatre on Fulton Street. The round-trip trolley fare was 20 cents; the movie tickets came to $1.10. Afterward we had sundaes at an ice cream parlor for 50 cents. The total cost of the date was $1.80!

In the summer we’d go roller skating or meet friends at Coney Island or Jacob Riis Park. Lucille was a big fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. We’d see them play at Ebbets Field. One time her father gave us tickets to a doubleheader and made veal cutlet heros for us to take to the game.

Lucille graduated from high school in 1950 and worked as a data-entry clerk for Continental Insurance in Manhattan.

The only time we have been apart was when I was drafted into the Army in January 1951, during the Korean War. I had been a draftsman in civilian life and was assigned to the 48th Engineer Topographical Battalion at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. From there the battalion was assigned to Fort Drum in upstate Watertown, then Fort Hood, Texas, to produce maps of the terrain being used for warfare maneuvers.

I finished my military service in January 1953 and, on Sept. 26, 1953, we were married in St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Our reception was nearby at Arion Temple Ballroom. For our honeymoon, we went to Strickland’s, a resort in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.

Lucille and I lived in apartments in Queens, Brooklyn and Commack. She worked until 1954, then became a full-time mom and homemaker. I took evening classes at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and received my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1958.

In 1959 we purchased a house in Plainview, where we lived for 35 years before moving to New Port Richey, Florida, in 1995.

I retired in 1991 from Servo Corp. of America as senior vice president of operations.

We return to Long Island during the summer and at Christmas to be with our family. We have four grown children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

In September we celebrated our 65th anniversary with them at A Touch of Venice restaurant in Cutchogue.

— With Virginia Dunleavy

Correction: Lucille Gallina attended Bishop McDonnell High School in Brooklyn. The name of the school was incorrect in the “Love Story” in Sunday’s LI Life (Pg. 12 2/6/19)

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