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3 couples celebrate wedded bliss at assisted living facility in Lynbrook

On Wednesday, the Bristal Assisted Living Facility in Lynbrook marked the wedding anniversaries of three couples — five of the six people live there — who are celebrating a cumulative 190 years of marriage. Credit: Newsday / Shelby Knowles

They met through happenstance — one couple connected when they helped a mutual friend put up wallpaper while another went on their first date after she handled his complaint about a delivery.

But after a cumulative 190 years of marriage, they are still together. 

Wednesday, The Bristal Assisted Living at Lynbrook marked the wedding anniversaries of the three couples — five of the six people involved in the celebration live at the facility.

Phillip Falzone, of Hewlett, was looking for nothing more than a resolution to a problem he had with a delivery, when his future wife, Margaret, answered the phone. Her voice sounded so pleasant that by the end of the call, he asked her if she would like to go out, he said.

“You want to meet me?,” Margaret Falzone recalled asking him. “Come to my house.”

She wanted him to meet her parents before taking her out, he said. And so he did.

The pair, who didn't want to tell their ages, described the moment they first saw one another as love at first sight.

“I realized that she was going to be my wife,” Phillip Falzone said. “I just felt it.”

The Falzones will be celebrating their 63rd anniversary on June 27. They had two sons and have four grandchildren.

Former Cedarhurst residents Elaine, 86, and Herbert Sacks, 87, will celebrate their 65th anniversary just a few days later, on June 30, but they have known each other for 75 years, Elaine Sacks said.

After meeting as children when Elaine’s family moved in as tenants in Herbert’s two-story Brooklyn house, they started dating when Elaine was about 15, she said. They attended the same school and he would even copy her homework at times. They got ready for their wedding in the same house — Herbert, upstairs, and Elaine, downstairs.

With his bedroom directly above hers, Herbert would tease her by dropping a shoe on the floor, Elaine Sacks said. She would patiently sit and wait until the second shoe dropped, but he would never do it.

The couple had two daughters and now have four grandchildren. They both live in The Bristal, as of August of last year. She visits him downstairs at the Reflections Memory Care Neighborhood, either to have lunch or play cards.

The third couple, Eda and Vincent DeMatteis, 92, originally from Brooklyn, are also accustomed to seeing each other at the facility every day.

Eda, 88, who has been in rehabilitation after breaking her hip about five weeks ago, could not make it to the ceremony.  But her husband held up a framed wedding photo of her at The Bristal's outdoor celebration attended by other residents and staff.

“What a life,” Vincent DeMatteis said. “Could you believe that this is the longest time I’ve been away from her?" referring to her surgery and rehabilitation.

The couple met when Vincent was helping a friend put up wallpaper and Eda offered to help, admitting that she did not know anything about it, but was willing to learn, he said.

On June 24, they celebrated their 63rd anniversary, as well. They had two sons and have three grandchildren.

The couples have had their ups and downs. But Phillip Falzone said the only thing he wishes is that he had 63 more years with Margaret. Talking things out and avoiding arguments is their way of maintaining their marriage, they said.

“There’s no secret,” Elaine Sacks, said about surpassing 60 years of marriage. “There’s good and there’s bad. You have to get through the bad, and you have to care about each other.

“You need to have a sense of humor, too,” she said. “You have to smile a lot.”

A prior version of this story had incorrect information about some ages and years of marriage. 

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