Elizabeth Liberatore of Medford recalls how she met her husband, Freddy.
My family and our large, extended family lived on 110th and 111th Streets in Corona, Queens. One day in 1954, I was at my cousin Allie’s house when his friend Freddy stopped by and saw me sitting in the living room.
Allie introduced us. My name was Elizabeth Celentano. I was 13, and Freddy was 16. Freddy tells everyone that his heart skipped a beat when he saw me. He said to my cousin, “How did you keep her a secret from me. I want to go out with her.”
Allie told me Freddy was interested in me and, being a prankster, Allie secretly recorded me saying I didn’t like Freddy and thought he was conceited. He played it for Freddy. Freddy wasn’t discouraged though. He always sought me out and would usually say something very charming to me.
I decided to get to know him better. My aunts, uncles and cousins were always at my parents’ lake house in upstate Westchester County during the summer, so I asked Allie to bring Freddy with him.
At the lake, Freddy and I took a rowboat out. He’d never rowed before. The oars got tangled in the weeds, and we went around in circles. I took over and maneuvered us back to shore. That evening we went to a barn dance, and we won the Lindy dance contest! Well that did it. I began to fall for Freddy.
We started dating. He was so sweet. In 1955 he took me to his senior prom at St. Francis Preparatory High School, then in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and afterward to the Copacabana in Manhattan. I was a sophomore at Flushing High School.
In 1958 we became engaged; we married on July 5, 1959, at Our Lady of Sorrows in Corona. Our reception was at Queens Terrace in Woodside. I was 18, and he was 21.
We first lived in Jackson Heights, then in Flushing until 1977, when we moved to Bayside.
Freddy, after briefly attending St. John’s University, became an electrical technician at Sperry Rand. I was a secretary with Pan Am. We both worked in Long Island City. When my father became ill, Freddy worked nights at Sperry and helped my mother at our family’s seafood market during the day. Eventually, we opened Blue Water seafood markets in Queens and Manhattan with our partners. We later bought the Flushing location and ran it until in 1987.
Freddy then opened a disco in Lindenhurst called His N’ Hers before going into car sales. I went to New York Institute of Interior Design and had my own interior design business, Liz Carole Design, and a store called Out of the Box in Great Neck.
We are blessed with four children and eight grandchildren. Sadly, we lost two other daughters who were born prematurely.
In 2013 we both retired. Freddy had been manager of an Acura car dealership in upstate Scarsdale. We moved to our home in Meadowbrook Point Links and Spa in Medford. Freddy loves golf; I learned the game, and we play with other couples. We have such gracious neighbors.
Freddy sang professionally with two bands in the 1950s and 60s at clubs and events in Queens. He still sings at community events.
I am one of the producers of the docudrama “Zizi and Honeyboy.” I also produce a radio show, “The Boys from the Garage,” on 88.1 FM at LIU Post University in Brookville; and I’m an executive producer of music videos.
Freddy and I celebrated our 60th anniversary last week. Our beautiful community is not far from our children, so we have the best of both worlds.
— With Virginia Dunleavy
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