Ilene Walker of Plainview recalls how she met her future husband, Steve.
In the spring of 1986, I answered ads and had posted an ad in Newsday’s singles’ section. As a high school business education teacher, it was difficult to meet men, and I wasn’t interested in the bar scenes.
I directed responses to a post office box. I went on three dates that didn’t go well and was about to give up when I received a well-written and sincere letter from Steve Walker. He didn’t send a photo but said his friends thought he looked like Keith Hernandez of the Mets. He included his phone number in the letter and we spoke for an hour.
We had a wonderful conversation on the phone. He was 27 and lived in Bethpage, though he was originally from Long Beach. I was 26 and lived in an Elmont apartment but grew up in East Northport. My name was Ilene Teitelbaum back then. We realized that we had both been undergraduates at Hofstra University around the same time.
When we decided to meet in person, he joked that he would know if there was chemistry between us in 45 minutes. I said I would know in 45 seconds! That June, we met at Houlihan’s Old Place, a restaurant in Roosevelt Field Mall. There was an immediate attraction.
After our second date at Inatome, a Japanese steakhouse in Valley Stream, Steve announced he was throwing out all the other responses to his ad because he had found the woman he was looking for. I also knew something special was happening between us.
Steve, an accounting manager for a contact lens manufacturing company in Woodbury, kindly arranged for my marketing students to tour the facilities. We continued seeing one another and fell more and more in love.
On Oct. 25, 1987, we were married at East Nassau Jewish Center in Syosset. When we returned from our honeymoon in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, we lived in Levittown. We moved to our home in Plainview in 1990 and raised our two wonderful boys. This past spring we welcomed a daughter-in-law into our family.
In 2014, I retired from teaching business education at George W. Hewlett High School after 33 years.
Steve changed careers and worked at several firms selling accounting and then enterprise technology software for more than 27 years before retiring in 2015 as corporate sales manager with HG Data.
He now volunteers at Rebuilding Together Long Island, a nonprofit providing free repairs to low-income homeowners. His hobby is drawing in charcoal and chalk pastels from photographs he has taken. I create tiled frames and chalkboards that I sell at craft fairs.
Since retiring we have traveled to Rome, Venice and Tuscany, taken a cruise from Venice to the Greek Islands and Dubrovnik, Croatia. We have also vacationed in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Antigua.
This year we celebrated our 30th anniversary with a Viking River Cruise from Paris to Germany, and then visited the Swiss Alps.
Steve always jokes that within one year he found his car, an apartment and his wife through Newsday. I am eternally grateful to Newsday for helping me find my soulmate. Steve is a wonderful, compassionate, sweet and loving man. He is always encouraging and supporting me in every way, and we love being together. He is my best friend!