Jim Meyer of Westbury talks about meeting his wife, Roberta (Brooks) Meyer.
It was 1969, and it all started with statistics. I was 27 and doing graduate work at Columbia University. A man who sat next to me in a statistics class struggled with the coursework and asked if I could help him — and I happily did. On the last day of class, he took me to lunch in thanks and said he wanted me to go to Queens College to consider a position there and to meet a girl he knew. A few days later I headed to the college, accepted the position and met Roberta, who likes to be called Bobbi. I was attracted to her immediately and got her phone number.
Our first date was challenging. Bobbi was sick, but I talked her into going out. Out of concern, I brought a can of chicken broth that I lifted from my mom’s pantry because I couldn’t find chicken soup in any local store. We picked Winston’s Steak Pub in West Hempstead from a restaurant list I received with my new credit card (cash was tight). It was a great night, and we soon started dating. We both loved to dance at Wednesdays, a nightclub in Manhattan, and attend concerts.
How many women can say they slept with their boyfriend’s mother after meeting her only twice? My family had a home upstate on Lake Guymard, and I invited Bobbi to join us Memorial Day weekend. Two bedrooms went to aunts and uncles, and my parents had the master bedroom. Bobbi and I were going to sleep on the sofa convertible, but out of respect for my aunts and uncles, I slept on the sofa with my dad, and Bobbi slept with my mother in a double bed. The next morning, I found Bobbi shivering in our screened-in porch where she had sought refuge from my mother’s famously loud snoring.
Meanwhile, Bobbi was living in a basement apartment in Flushing, Queens, and I had a studio in Riverdale. I played a lot of basketball in local leagues, and after one game in Richmond Hill, I stopped at her apartment. After I hit my head on a basement pipe for the 10th time, Bobbi told me: Either we’re getting married or I’m going to Ohio State for my doctorate. I said, "OK, let’s get married." She said, "Can I call my mother with the news?" We were so romantic.
We married at the Swan Club in Glen Cove on Nov. 25, 1970, and moved to an apartment in Flushing. We both taught physical education at Queens College. Our daughter, Michele, was born the next year. When she was 6 months old, we moved to our current home in Westbury. Two years later our son, Michael, was born.
When Michael turned 6, Bobbi went to work in the box office at Nassau Coliseum, and six years later became box office manager at Colden Center at Queens College. I served in the New York Army Reserve National Guard 69th Infantry while teaching at Queens College, where I later worked in administration. I’m now self-employed in the financial industry, advising charities on planned giving. In addition to travel, Bobbi and I like to bike, golf, exercise, ski, and snowshoe. Plus, Bobbi plays the piano, and I play the guitar and banjo.
Bobbi is a devoted wife, a fantastic cook, a caring mother and a phenomenal Nana to our two grandkids.
COVID-19 has delayed our 50th anniversary celebration in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, for a year. We’ll have our kids and grandkids with us after Christmas for a small but sweet celebration.
— With Ann Donahue-Smukler
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