Mary Beth Dark of Farmingville recalls meeting her future husband, Richard, the pre-internet way.
In November 1991, I submitted a singles personal ad to Newsday. My name back then was Mary Beth Pfister. The ad stated I was a 26-year-old college-educated “SWCF” — single, white, Christian female — looking for a long-term relationship. One response was a card with a teddy bear on the front from Richard Dark.
He was 30 and wrote that he liked skiing, felt comfortable on a dance floor and had his own business. To me, this meant he was physically active, comfortable with himself, sociable and an entrepreneur. He was also good-looking, from the photo he included. I was cautious, and we spoke on the phone a few times before deciding to meet at Coco’s Water Cafe in Huntington.
On the evening we met, we learned that our backgrounds were remarkably similar. Richard lived in Port Jefferson but had grown up in North Babylon along Deer Park Avenue, a few miles from the house where I grew up and still lived in with my family, on Deer Park Avenue in Deer Park. Both our families relocated there in the early 1960s from St. Albans, Queens.
When he asked me for a date, I told him I was leaving that week for a vacation in Mexico. He then asked if he could stop by the next day to meet my parents and take me to a movie. I thought, “Nobody has ever asked to meet my parents.” So I said, “OK.”
The next day, as my mother watched Richard walking up to the front door, she said to me, “This is the man you are going to marry.” During a conversation with Richard, my parents realized they knew his parents from the old neighborhood.
After I returned home from vacation, Richard and I went on a few dates. I told him I had decided to meet some of the other men who responded to my ad. He completely understood. The men I met were all very nice, but I was now certain that Richard was the one for me.
A few months later, we began talking about marriage. I expected Richard to propose to me at a party on July 4, 1992, while we watched the fireworks. It was very close to my birthday. When he didn’t, I was disappointed. He explained he was looking for the perfect diamond and asked me to pick the setting. He found the perfect diamond. I chose a beautiful ruby setting and waited. The ring was finally ready in October and we became officially engaged. On May 31, 1993, we were wed at St. Matthews Roman Catholic Church in Dix Hills.
Richard, a chiropractor for 32 years, has his own practice, Complete Chiropractic Center in Farmingville. I am a quality manager with Package All Corp., in Bayport. I am also a yoga instructor and have my own studio, Yoga for Everyone, in Farmingville.
With three children, we have seen our fair share of unexpected bumps, traumas and good times as well. On our 10th wedding anniversary, we returned to the Huntington location where we first met — now a restaurant called Prime. Our 20th anniversary was celebrated with the kids on a cruise to Bermuda, where we spent our honeymoon.
We have several trips planned this year to celebrate our 25th anniversary. It has truly been a most excellent lifetime together, beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you, Newsday, for bringing us together.
— With Virginia Dunleavy