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Love Story: They fell for each other over garlic bread and games

Rachel and Larry Walsh, who celebrated their 33rd

Rachel and Larry Walsh, who celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary this year, love living in Brightwaters because they both enjoy the beach and bay. Credit: Joshua Sanders

Rachel Walsh of Brightwaters talks about meeting her future husband, Larry.

Back in 1983, I was 22 and living in West Bay Shore. My last name was Meltsner, and I had just graduated in December with a teaching degree from Dowling College. It was April 9, and my best friend wanted me to meet Larry Walsh, her boyfriend’s friend, who she thought I’d like. She said he was cute and had charisma.

Larry was 23 and living in Long Beach. After some hesitation, my mother said to me, “Go, it’s only one night in your life.” So I went and met him at my friend’s parents’ house. It turned out to be our first date. We made garlic bread together, drank wine, played cards and had a great time along with my friend and her boyfriend. While doing a crossword puzzle together, Larry wrote out a message by putting letters in each letter box: “Can I have your phone number?”

My friend was right! Larry was funny, cute and charismatic. It was love!

We started dating and enjoyed going to the beach, camping and going out in the city. At the time I was a special-education teacher in Brentwood's Northeast Elementary School (the same school I went to), and Larry was an account manager at Gene Brown Advertising in Rockville Centre.

After dating about three years Larry proposed to me in the kitchen of his Long Beach apartment. He had told my parents ahead of time. Of course, I said yes. We headed right over to see the friends who introduced us to share our news.

We got married Aug. 9, 1986, at my parents’ house in The Admiralty, a town-house community on the water in West Bay Shore. We were married by a priest and a rabbi in The Peacock Gardens on The Admiralty grounds. We had two receptions that day to accommodate everyone we wanted to invite. The first reception was for family, and the second one was that evening for friends. We honeymooned in Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands.

We came home and moved into a house we had just bought in Bay Shore. We lived there for six years before moving to Brightwaters.

I stepped down from my teaching job when I got pregnant with our daughter, Sarah, who just turned 26. Larry is the East Coast director of sales for the Arts and Entertainment Network in Manhattan.

We love living in Brightwaters because we both enjoy the beach and bay. We have an inboard Chaparral boat that we use to zip around the Great South Bay and try to catch the sunsets. We also enjoy going into the Manhattan to see our daughter, who is an actress and a Set EMT. Larry and I enjoy going to New York City music venues, the theater and enjoying great restaurants.
Larry is a golfer and plays drums with a group of friends whenever he can. I like to walk, having built up to doing about six miles a day. I also like to shop and hang with my mom, who still lives in The Admiralty. We lost my dad in May 2018. 

My husband is one of the most generous, caring and fun people anyone could ever know! He is always willing to lend a hand to anyone, whether he knows them or not. He has always taken care of me, our daughter and, now, my mom, with the utmost sensitivity and love.

We celebrated Larry’s 60th birthday with a trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast in September. After 33 years of marriage, Larry still makes me laugh.

— With Ann Donahue-Smukler

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Access the online form at — or send an anecdote along with your phone number and a photo to Love Story, Newsday, 6 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, NY 11747; or email, or call Ann Donahue-Smukler at 631-843- 2520. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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