Michael Castellano of New Hyde Park talks about meeting his wife, Angela.
Angela and I first met in 1971. We were 19 years old and freshmen at St. John's University in Jamaica, Queens. We dated for three years and were inseparable. Angela lived with her family in Flushing, Queens, and I lived at home with my parents in nearby Bayside. We were very young, and in 1974 we decided to go our separate ways.
The years passed, and I went on to get married. I was out one evening in 1988 with my good friend Ebher (who would later be my best man), when I heard someone call my name. It was Angela! At first, I didn’t recognize her. She told me she was sorry to hear about the death of my father, Carmine, and said she heard I was married and had two children. I told her yes, I was married, but had two Old English sheepdogs — not children. We laughed, made small talk and then went our separate ways.
My marriage ended in 1988. I was self-employed as a wedding photographer and living in New Hyde Park. I dated but wasn’t finding that "special someone." On Christmas Eve day in 1990, I got a call from my mother, who worked in the hosiery department of Bloomingdale’s in Fresh Meadows. She said she had run into Angela and had a nice chat with her. Mom suggested I give her a call.
After about a week, I got up the nerve. I didn’t have her phone number, so I wrote a letter and sent it to the Flushing address I had from 20 years earlier. A few days later I received a message on my answering machine. It was Angela! We agreed to meet for coffee at the nearby Blue Bay Diner. We ended up having lunch at Cafe Baci in Westbury and then dinner with her parents that night in Flushing. We caught up on each other’s lives and began to date again. Angela was a sales coordinator at Looseleaf Law Publications in Flushing. She told me that she, too, had not yet met that "special someone." That was about to change, I said to myself.
In May of the next year, Angela’s younger brother, Michael, got married, and I was her date. It was 19 years earlier that I had been Angela’s date for her brother Joe’s wedding.
In November 1992 I asked Angela to marry me. The engagement ring I gave her held the diamond from the engagement ring my father had given to my mother some 40 years prior.
On Feb. 26, 1993, we both said "I do." It was the day of the first attack on the World Trade Center's North Tower. Several guests worked in that building but had taken the day off to attend our wedding.
After honeymooning in Disney World, we lived in my New Hyde Park home (where we still live). By then I had my own photography business, and Angela was an administrative assistant for a financial planner in Manhattan. I retired in 2006, and Angela retired in 2017, but we both do freelance work in our respective fields.
Angela and I are very community minded. I’m president of the local civic association, and we are both very active in the New York Police Department’s 105th Precinct Community Council, covering the easternmost section of Queens, including part of New Hyde Park.
Angela and I don't have children of our own but are blessed with loving nieces and nephews. I look forward to enjoying every day Angela and I spend together. She is the butter to my bread, the breath to my life.
— With Ann Donahue-Smukler
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