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Love Story: High school sweethearts shared a sense of humor

Larry and Alayne Raskin of Bellmore met when

Larry and Alayne Raskin of Bellmore met when they were in high school. The couple celebrated their 50th anniversary in May. Credit: Raskin Family

Larry Raskin of Bellmore recalls his first date with his wife, Alayne.

One night in October 1963, my friends and I got dressed up and headed to a chaperoned high school sorority dance at the Electchester, a high-rise apartment building complex in Pomonok, Queens. 

I was 16 and in my senior year at Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows. I didn’t go to many dances socially since I played in two bands, which kept me very busy.

At the dance, one girl in a plaid pleated skirt and white bobby socks caught my eye. She was a junior at Francis Lewis. I noticed her in school, but we had never spoken. Her name was Alayne Odintz. I wanted to ask her to dance, but I was shy. I told myself, “Girls liked older boys … right?”    

I finally talked myself into asking Alayne to dance. Turns out we were only six weeks apart in age. We danced a lot that night. I asked her for a date, and she accepted. She was quite popular. I knew winning her over would take some doing. It was worth the effort.

Our first date was on a Wednesday during Christmas break — the only time Alayne was available. We double-dated with our best friends, who were dating. We went bowling, then to Mario’s on Horace Harding Expressway for pizza.

We were having fun and when Alayne laughed so hard at one of my comments that she nearly choked, I knew we had a connection. Alayne was the perfect girl for me — she was beautiful, smart and actually appreciated my sense of humor!

We lived near each other in Flushing and began walking home together from school for the remainder of the term.

We had some ups and downs but continued dating after I graduated from high school in 1964. I went to Queens College, then to New York Institute of Technology, where I received my bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1969.

Alayne graduated in 1965, and we went to her prom. She worked as assistant to the director of fundraising at the American Cancer Society in Manhattan. I continued playing in the bands and working part-time jobs to keep my beautiful girl in “style.” I truly enjoyed giving Alayne mementos of our love. I still do.

In 1967, I asked Alayne to marry me. We celebrated with two engagement parties — one for family and one for friends.

On May 30, 1969, we were married at the Huntington Townhouse and had our reception there. We went to Miami and to Freeport in the Bahamas for our honeymoon.

We lived in Forest Hills, then Briarwood until 1984, when we moved to New Fairfield, Connecticut, a very different experience from Queens. In 1990 I started a new job in Manhattan, and in 1991 we moved to Bellmore, which was like coming home.

Alayne became a full-time mom to our children until they were in school. She then began a 35-year career in the insurance field. She is an insurance broker and an assistant vice president at a large international insurance company. I had a very rewarding career in the information technology industry before retiring in 2011 as regional relationship manager of the Americas for a financial software company.

We have two fabulous daughters and are blessed with two wonderful sons-in-law and three terrific grandchildren. We celebrated our 50th anniversary last week with our family, including my 92-year-old mother-in-law. Thanks to my wonderful family, my life has been very rewarding and complete.

Alayne and I cherish and celebrate every moment we have had and will have with our family. Our love for each other remains and grows stronger every day.

— With Virginia Dunleavy

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 Love Story, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747-4250; or email dunleavy@newsday.com, or call Virginia Dunleavy at 631-843-2923. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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