Peter and Debbie Curcio of Commack worked together when they were teenagers. Peter recalls an awkward first meeting.
In the spring of 1981 I had the tremendous good fortune of accepting a job as a security guard at the now defunct Times Square department store in Elmont. That is where I met the girl of my dreams, a 17-year-old strawberry blonde named Debbie Walsh. She was a senior at Elmont Memorial High School. I was 18 and was starting classes in the fall at New York Institute of Technology in Brooklyn.
Debbie worked mid-store in the men's department while I was posted at the front of the store. We made eye contact throughout our shifts. Unfortunately, when I finally got the opportunity to go over to say hello, she was folding men's underwear and was obviously embarrassed. It was very awkward and I quickly walked away. Over the next couple of months we managed short conversations. She told me she was leaving for a two-week vacation upstate. I gave her my address and asked her to write. I still have the letter she sent that said she was thinking about me and included her home phone number.
When she got back, and after negotiating with my two brothers for use of the green 1973 Dodge Dart that we shared, I called to ask her out. We went to a comedy club in Roslyn for our first date and thought we were lucky to be seated in the front row. We found out the hard way that by sitting close to the stage we became the subject of the comedian's jokes. It was fun, though, and it turned out to be a magical night.
We were soon going steady. I would often run the three miles from my house in Queens Village, Queens, to Debbie's house in Elmont when we were dating. I also remember being chased on more than one occasion by neighborhood dogs along the way.
We married on March 26, 1988, at St. Boniface Church in Elmont and honeymooned in Hawaii. We went back there recently on vacation with our three daughters.
Debbie is a full-time homemaker and heads a group called Singing Angels, our middle daughter's charity. I retired in 2009 as bureau chief with the New York City Department of Correction. I am currently chief operations officer at Arrow Security in Smithtown and serve as an adjunct professor teaching criminal justice studies at several local colleges.
We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a party and renewal of our vows aboard a cruise around Manhattan with family and friends. Our love story continues, and we can't wait to see what is in store for the future.