Cycle of Life | Meri's Operation
| Joanne's Cancer | Love Story
in Newsday's "Love Story" section on January 4, 2009
On Nov. 11,1943, at age 17, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy's V-5 program for pilot training. I was stationed stateside during World War II and was at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when the war ended.
In 1945 I returned home to Flatbush, Brooklyn and was set up on a blind date by an old buddy. He arranged a double-date with him, his girlfriend and her friend, Margie Clancy.
Margie was also from Flatbush. We were both 19 but had gone to different high schools. She attended Erasmus Hall High School while I was at Bishop Loughlin. I had just entered St. John's University Law School. Margie was an AT&T telephone operator and later became an overseas operator. The four of us went bowling. We had a good time, but Margie and I continued to date other people until Sept. 26, 1946. That night I took Margie to Jimmy Ryan's night club in Manhattan where we saw coronet player "Wild" Bill Davison and trombonist George Brunis. On the way home I gave Margie a friendship ring. We were officially engaged on Easter 1947 and planned our wedding for Dec. 27, 1947, during my class break.
On Dec. 26, the day before the wedding, it began to snow. Margie thought it was nice at first and calmly watched the snow fall as she hemmed the petticoat she'd wear under her wedding gown. Snow fell through the night leaving 27 inches on the ground. Our limo could only get within three blocks of Margie's house, and so a neighbor carried her in all her finery through mammoth snowdrifts and into the waiting car. We don't know how they did it, but most of our guests arrived for the celebration that followed.
That evening we had a reservation at the Pennsylvania Hotel in Manhattan. The only transportation available to us was the subway.
We arrived at the hotel to find hundreds of stranded travelers in the lobby. I told the clerk we had reservations, but he replied, "Sorry, no rooms." I pointed to Margie and said, "That's my wife over there." She was sitting on our new luggage wearing her new fur coat with a white lily corsage. The clerk, realizing we were newlyweds, found us a room.
The next day we caught a bus to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania for our honeymoon. A one-and-one-half-hour trip took 6 hours. The snow was welcome. We skied all week.
In 1955 Margie and I moved to Stony Brook. While she was busy raising two sons and three daughters, I set up a law practice. In 1971 I was elected District Court judge then served as Family Court judge, and finally as a justice of the New York State Supreme Court until 1992.
Margie and I now live in Wilmington, N.C., and enjoy frequent visits with family, including our seven grandchildren. After 60-plus years of marriage, we are still excited about what life has to offer and look forward to tomorrow.