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Love Story: Susan Mahler and Ron Larson, Floral Park

Ron Larson and Susan Mahler of Floral Park

Ron Larson and Susan Mahler of Floral Park reconnected after 40 years. Credit: Larson family

Susan Mahler and husband, Ron Larson, of Floral Park dated as teenagers. Susan recalls how they reconnected four decades later.

I met Ron Larson in 1962 during confirmation classes at Christ Lutheran Church in East Meadow. We were 14. Ron is standing behind me in our confirmation day group photo. We would see each other at church Youth Group meetings and trips.

Ron asked me out for the first time in 1964, on a double date with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend to see the Broadway musical “Show Boat.” We dated occasionally over the next two years.

In 1965 we both graduated high school, he from Wellington C. Mepham High School in Bellmore and I from East Meadow High School. Ron was drafted into the Army in 1966 and stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, before being sent to Quan Loi, Vietnam, where he was an infantry medic. We exchanged letters while he was away.

I graduated from Adelphi University’s business school and became a teacher’s assistant in the Westbury School District. Ron finished his service in 1968 and graduated from Hofstra University in 1972. He then went to graduate school at the University of South Florida and settled in Tampa after graduating in 1975. We lost touch for 40 years.

In 2008 I Googled Ron’s name and found a mailing address in Florida. I sent a small, teal colored card with a note saying “I’m in search of someone from my past,” and hoped I had reached the right Ron Larson. Two weeks later, Ron replied. It was the right address, but he had moved six months earlier and had just received the card. He included his email address and we began catching up through emails and phone calls. We were both divorced, and I have two daughters.

After talking for several months, Ron flew to New York for Memorial Day weekend. I met him at Kennedy Airport. We spent the weekend seeing friends and going to the Jones Beach Air Show.

The chemistry was there, but I thought he wouldn’t want to continue a long-distance relationship. I was wrong. Ron invited me to Florida, and I spent the rest of my summer break with him. We began commuting back and forth.

We got engaged in 2013 on Christmas Day and had a masquerade-themed wedding on Sept. 19, 2015, at the Metropolitan in Glen Cove. My daughters wore teal gowns, the color of the card that reconnected me with Ron.

We both retired in 2014. Ron was senior health physicist at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and I was assistant to the school nurse at Park Avenue Elementary school in Westbury. I’m a watercolor artist and serve on the board of the Independent Art Society in Plainview/Old Bethpage.

— With Virginia Dunleavy

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