I met both of my wives at Our Lady of Mount Carmel grade school in Astoria. After 23 years of marriage my first wife, Barbara, left me for another man. Although I had known my second wife, Kathy, in grade school we had lost touch with each other over the years.
After the divorce I decided to attend my grammar school reunion. Barbara didn’t show up but Kathy was there and we really clicked. Eventually we decided to be together – I’m the type of person that likes to be with someone and Kathy was the same way.
We dated for a few years and then went to Las Vegas and had an Elvis impersonator marry us in a 1950’s Cadillac on the Vegas strip. That’s how we were, a fun loving couple – we had the same issues every other couple has but we always had a good time.
We had a mutual friend that worked for Royal Caribbean cruises who would give us good deals, so we went on over 65 cruises during the course of our relationship! We traveled to Asia, the pyramids in Egypt, Russia…all over the world.
My favorite memory of her is from a cruise we took to Mykonos Island in Greece. We were walking through these tiny little streets in a walled city that was built for defense against pirates when all of the sudden we came upon a woman in an alleyway. The woman only spoke a little bit of English and Kathy only spoke a little bit of Greek, but somehow they became fast friends. The next thing I knew the woman was showing us all around Mykonos. At the end she even took us into her apartment and showed us pictures of her family!
But that’s how Kathy was – she had a magnetic personality that drew people to her wherever she went. We were married for 16 years; she passed away three years ago.
Do you see that tall building across the river? I used to meet Kathy right there at a candy store on 31st Street in Astoria.
I’ve gone on long walks for most of my life. I enjoy it and it’s good for my mental and physical well-being. When Kathy died I tried all sorts of therapies and counseling, but they didn’t work. The only thing that works is going for long walks – they seem to help me get my thoughts together.
Now I live in Northport so I take the train into Woodside and then walk through Astoria, over the RFK Bridge, down the east side of Manhattan and back over the 59th street Bridge into Queens (a distance of 13 miles). I especially enjoy going through Astoria because I walk through the streets I grew up on which are filled with memories of my childhood and memories of Kathy. When I walk there it’s like I’m walking back in time and she’s by my side.
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