Paul and Francine Friedman of Kings Park fell in love at first sight on a blind date. Francine explains.
I was a freshman at Brooklyn College in 1962 and worked part time at a wallpaper company near my neighborhood of East New York, Brooklyn. Most of my co-workers, all women older than me, were determined to fix me up with their sons, nephews or cousins. I assured them I had no problem getting my own dates, but these matchmakers were relentless. I could never say I had nothing to do on a weekend or they would pounce.
One day at work, everyone was talking about a baby shower they were throwing for a colleague. One woman innocently turned to me and asked if I was free on Saturday. Thinking this was in regard to the shower, I said, "Sure." She quickly replied, "Great, my cousin will call you tonight for a date." Trapped! That night, Paul called and asked me out. I was too polite to say no to him.
Date night arrived, the doorbell rang and there was Paul, tall and handsome. I introduced him to my parents before we left to see the movie "Light in the Piazza." Afterward, he took me to an Italian restaurant for dinner. Paul was 22 and lived in Rosedale, Queens. He didn't mind at all that his cousin was playing matchmaker. We spent the rest of the evening driving around and talking for hours. He was a perfect gentleman. He took me home, kissed me good night and asked me out for the following week. I accepted. The next day I told a friend that I was going to marry him.
My parents knew we were in love by the way we looked at each other when Paul picked me up for our second date. He proposed to me that night but I had to turn him down. I wasn't yet 18. We saw each other every night. He'd often pick me up from school and we'd go for a snack at Nathan's in Coney Island or to the movies or bowling.
Paul and I were married on April 5, 1964. His parents booked us on the cruise ship Homeric as a gift for our honeymoon. Our cabin, about the size of a closet, had bunk beds! We assumed all the rooms were the same and had a good laugh when we saw another couple's cabin had a regular bed.
We have raised two loving and wonderful children, a son and a daughter. They have given us a dear daughter-in-law, a terrific son-in-law and our greatest treasures, five amazing grandchildren.
In April, we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a Caribbean cruise. This time our cabin had a real bed and a balcony. Paul retired in 2009 as a mechanic with Hub Truck Rental in Farmingdale. I work part-time at Kings Park Stationers in Kings Park. We have had a wonderful 50 years together and are looking forward to many more, thanks to his cousin the matchmaker.