Within a year, we were committed and married 2 years later; our wedding reception in Bellport and honeymoon in Italy. He was at my side during the loss of my oldest and only son in a tragic accident in Michigan, a grief that remains with me always.
It was a whirlwind time; I completed my Bachelors degree at SUNY and entered the Graduate School of Social Work at Adelphi. Our extended families meshed; he was a wonderful father to my 3 daughters who loved him dearly, a son to my parents and I grew to love his daughter and son who had re-located to Colorado and Florida. We sold both houses and purchased a piece of land off Gardiner’s Bay in Springs, Easthampton and built a contemporary salt-box at Lion Head Beach.
In the late 80’s, I was offered a 2 year Clinical Supervisor position with the Pentagon in Europe, setting up an adolescent alcohol & substance abuse program for US Dept. of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS), throughout the NATO countries. My school district (I had been re-hired as a School Social Worker after completing graduate school) granted me a leave of absence and my husband submitted retirement papers to his school district and off we went. It was the adventure of a lifetime….. he satisfied his dream of skiing the Alps while accompanying me to all the countries I was assigned while we were headquartered in Berlin for 2 years; it was a remarkable experience that satisfied our adventurous natures. After I retired from my school district in 1999, we maintained a studio apartment in Manhattan and a condo in Key West, a different type of adventure.
Despite our differences, we had a wonderful marriage but it wasn’t perfect. There were many painful and hard times when one or both of us would disappear emotionally from the other but paradoxically, our very differences brought us closer together afterwards.
John passed away in 2008, shortly before our 30th wedding anniversary but I was grateful for having hosted a gala 80th Birthday celebration for him earlier, which was akin to a Greek wedding, lasting 3 days, with family and friends. Needless to say, his birthday cake was the first in 30 years to display his name alone!
I now reside on the North Fork of Long Island, off LI Sound and near one of my daughters. The loss of John has created a vast emptiness in my life because I liken our marriage to 2 goldfish, swimming independently in the same goldfish bowl but always at eachother’s side for assurance, loyalty and love. The only regret we both shared was never having the opportunity to thank Jerry for introducing us……John was a blessing that changed my life and I shall always have the beautiful memories of 2 astrological Leo’s, luxuriating at Lion Head Beach after truly finding love under the Disco Ball.
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