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Love Story: Still sweet on the boy she met at the candy counter in Astoria

Love Story:

Louise and James Loscalzo of Plainview celebrated their

Louise and James Loscalzo of Plainview celebrated their 50th anniversary in September 2018. Photo Credit: Loscalzo family

Louise Loscalzo of Plainview recalls her first meeting with her future husband, Jim.

One day in 1960, my friends and I went to see a movie at the Loew’s Triboro theater on Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens. We lived nearby.

I walked to the candy counter and felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and there was a cute boy. He said, “Hi,” and began flirting with me.

After I bought my snacks, I went back to my friends. Within those few minutes I developed a big crush on him. I even told my family I met the boy I was going marry. I was 13. Everyone laughed it off as a schoolgirl crush.

Two years later, we met again at Gerard’s Pizzeria, a popular neighborhood hangout on Steinway Street. He was working there. We introduced ourselves. He was Jim Loscalzo. I was Louise Rollo back then. I was now 15, and he was 16.

One evening after his shift, Jim was singing doo-wop songs with his friends outside the pizzeria. I enjoyed listening to him sing and stayed until it got close to my 9:30 p.m. curfew. I asked Jim to walk me home. We had a lovely walk to my house but didn’t exchange telephone numbers.

We would often run into each other. In 1963, on my first day at William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, I walked into homeroom class and there was Jim. I still had a crush, but we were both dating other people at the time.

During my senior year, in 1964, my sister died at the age of 21. My family then moved from Astoria to our summer home in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, where I completed high school.

The next year, I took a ride with my New Jersey friends to Astoria. I wanted to show them the old neighborhood. I told them about Jim. I was still crazy in love with him.

We stopped at The Garden Lounge, a place my sister and I used to go to, and lo and behold there was Jim on the dance floor. I called over and said, “Hi, Jim.” He said, “Louise, is that you?” and walked over to me. I was surprised that he remembered me. As corny as this sounds, it felt like we were the only two people on the dance floor. We danced and then talked for more than an hour. This time Jim took my phone number.

It felt like fate when he said he would have been at the so-called Connecting Highway, a popular (though illegal) street drag-racing spot in Astoria, but the rain that night made the road hazardous. Our first date was to a drag race there.

Over the next few years we traveled back and forth between Astoria and New Jersey. In 1967, Jim and his family visited me and my family in New Jersey. His mother brought along cookies she had baked. Inside the cookie jar I found an engagement ring, and Jim asked me to marry him.

On Sept. 1, 1968, we were married at St. Joseph’s Church in Astoria, followed by a reception at Astoria Manor.

We lived in Astoria until 1972, when we moved to Plainview, where we raised our three sons. Our family has grown by two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. We are very blessed.

We celebrated our 50th anniversary with our family and friends at the Hartigan Manor in Bethpage in 2018.

Who would have thought that I would marry the boy I met at the candy counter when I was 13?

— With Virginia Dunleavy

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