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Love Story: Their romance started on a dance floor in Queens

Marie and Tom Rinckey of East Meadow at

Marie and Tom Rinckey of East Meadow at a St. Patrick's Day party on March 20, 2021, at their daughter's home in East Meadow. Credit: Dawn McCardle

Marie (Ingoglia) Rinckey of East Meadow talks about life her husband, Tom.

I was 22 in September 1969 and living in Woodhaven, Queens. My friends and I went to a dance at the Cresthaven Country Club in Whitestone. I was sitting by myself when I noticed a cute boy kept looking my way. I thought he was going to ask me to dance. In those times, girls didn’t make the first move. Eventually he got up the nerve and asked me to dance.

Afterward, we walked to a quiet area to get something to drink. His name was Tom and he had just returned from a year in Vietnam. Right from the beginning we felt a rapport, an instant communication, and discovered we had a lot in common. We lived a town apart, were both only children, and our dads had worked at the same company. Tom asked me out for the following Saturday night. I remember coming home and telling my mom I had met the nicest young man that night.

Our first date was at Quiet Village in Levittown where they had live entertainment on Saturdays. Little did we know that we would eventually be living only a few miles away.

We dated for two years and married Oct. 16, 1971, at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Woodhaven. We honeymooned at Las Brisas, resort built on a mountainside in Acapulco, Mexico. Each couple had their own cottage, swimming pool and Jeep, the last being the only way to get up the mountain. No one knew how to drive Jeeps then. It was crazy. I was positive we would be killed on our honeymoon, but we survived.

The next two years were happy times, especially so with the birth of our son, Greg, in November 1973. As with all marriages, there are happy times and sad. My mom died in August 1975. The same year, Tom lost his job and was unemployed for a year, and I had a miscarriage. It was a rough year, but we supported each other. Then the sun came out with the birth of our daughter, Dawn, in October 1978, and Tom was employed again through International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3. Soon after, we purchased our home in East Meadow.

The years passed and we were busy with our jobs and children’s activities. When Greg was 19, he and Tom joined the East Meadow Fire Department. Life is different when a husband and son are firefighters. It means missed meals, missed sleep and leaving the house on a minute’s notice. For me it meant my heart beating a little faster until they safely returned. I joined the Ladies Auxiliary to feel a part of the department. After 27 years, the fire department is still a large part of our lives.

Tom retired after 38 years in the union and electrical trade. I retired after 20 years working as a bookkeeper for Yours Ours Mine Community Center in Levittown

We were enjoying life — Tom at the fire department and me volunteering at Nassau University Medical Center and our church food pantry. We traveled and spent fun-filled time with our five beautiful grandchildren. Then the virus came and, like so many, we went into quarantine. Tom discovered how good he was at doing jigsaw puzzles, and I learned how calming reading and coloring in adult coloring books could be.

With the vaccine, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in October. Our life together has been wonderful — full of love and laughter. Here’s to many more happy years together.

— With Ann Donahue-Smukler

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Access the online form at newsday.com/lilovestory — or send an anecdote along with your phone number and a photo to ann.smukler@newsday.com, 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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