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LOVE STORY: Tom and Loraine Huemmer of Freeport

Tom and Loraine Huemmer of Freeport were set up on a date by a mutual friend. Loraine recalls the night they met.

My best friend, Margaret, and I attended an all-girls Catholic high school, Dominican Commercial, in Jamaica, Queens, commuting from Baldwin every day.

In 1967, our senior year, there was a class dance. A friend at school offered to set up blind dates for us with her friends Tom and Louie. They all knew each other from spending summers in Flanders with their families.

During lunch period we kept changing our minds about which boy we would date. I was about to switch once again when the bell rang, ending our conversation.

Our friend first set up Margaret and Louie on a double date, and they hit if off right away. Then I was to meet Tom at a party in his honor. Tom was a Navy Seabee on leave from Vietnam. He was 21 and lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The party was at a pub in Queens.

Margaret's father drove us there and expressed concern about us going into an "establishment like that." Margaret quickly explained that it was a private party in the party room, and we jumped out of the car. Louie was going to be at the party, too.

When Tom entered we all yelled "surprise," but no one was more surprised than Tom and me because for us it was love at first sight.

My father picked us up at 11 p.m., and we were given the same lecture on the ride home about "that kind of establishment," but neither of us cared because we had stars in our eyes.

Before we left, Tom said, "Aren't you going to ask me to the dance?" I did, he accepted and then he asked me out on a date!

The next evening when Tom came to pick me up for the date, my father glared at him, and Tom began to apologize. He had seen my father the night before looking into the party room. Thinking he was one of the bar patrons, Tom had shut the door in his face. The apology was accepted and these two important men in my life grew to enjoy each other's company.

Tom returned to Vietnam for a second tour of duty. We married on Nov. 29, 1969, after he returned home and was discharged from the Navy. We have a daughter, a son and five grandchildren. Margaret and Louie married in 1970. It was a very good thing that we did not switch our blind dates for a final time.

Tom is a construction project manager with LiRo Group in Syosset. I'm a clinical research manager at South Shore Eye Care in Wantagh.

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