When the Best Part of My Life Started

The Islanders restaurant – Lee Duigon

I think our order wasn’t quite this ambitious…

Today is the 46th anniversary of our first date, Patty and me… the day my own life changed altogether for the better. Thank you for that, O God!

I was the managing editor of The Bayshore Independent. She was the bookkeeper. On Dec. 26, 1976, we went to dinner at The Islanders Restaurant in Matawan (they advertised with us–and really, it was a great restaurant: Steve Wong really made it into something special)–followed by a movie (The Voyage of the Damned, bit of a downer)… and then lots and lots more dates. “Don’t you let this one get away!” my mother chode me. Well, I had no intention to.

The Bayshore Independent is gone, The Islanders is gone, most of the movie theaters are gone… but we’re still here. Praise the Lord.

Anniversary: Our First Date, 1976

See the source image

I think that’s a reproduction of The Islanders menu, printed in the print shop at the good old Bayshore Independent, where Patty and I were working in 1976. I was managing editor, she was the bookkeeper. And The Islanders was a slam-bang great restaurant–I had my first Chinese food there, when it opened–which made it a natural destination for our first date.

And we’ve been together ever since.

After The Islanders we went to the movies (Voyage of the Damned–not exactly a knee-slapper) and then to Sam’s Bar & Grill for a nightcap. It was more an old-fashioned tavern than a bar and grill.

All those things are gone by now… except us. I don’t like to think of how our lives would’ve turned out if we hadn’t met: glory and praise to God, who has blessed us with each other.

Our First Date

See the source image

Today is the 42nd anniversary of our first date.

We were working at the old Bayshore Independent newspaper. Patty was the bookkeeper, I was managing editor. We went to dinner at The Islanders in Matawan, a super-nice Chinese restaurant; and they treated us like royalty, the proprietor being very happy with the restaurant review I wrote a few weeks before (thank you, Steve Wong, wherever you are). No, we didn’t have a spread quite like in the photo: there were only two of us. But we had the best.

Then we went to a movie, The Voyage of the Damned, and afterward to my softball team’s hangout, Sam’s Bar & Grill. Somewhere along the way, Patty mentioned the ancient Medes’ capital city, Ecbatana. That’s when I knew I was in love. You can’t easily find a woman who knows about Ecbatana.

All of these places that I’ve mentioned are now one with Ecbatana, but we’re still together. And tonight we hope to take a leisurely spin around town to admire everybody’s Christmas lights.

Forty Years Ago Today…

Image result for images of first date cartoon

Forty years ago this very day, Patty and I went on our first date. Before it was over, we felt we’d known each other for years.

First we went to dinner at The Islanders, a very fine Polynesian/Chinese restaurant whose owner advertised with The Bayshore Independent, the weekly newspaper of which I was associate editor and Patty was the bookkeeper. Then we went to the movies and say Voyage of the Damned, and wrapped things up with a visit to Sam’s Bar & Grill, a cozy old tavern with the best sandwiches in the county.

Time passes; and the only thing that’s left of that date, on Dec. 26 of 1976… is us. And even after all this time, we still have it in us to surprise each other.

Harmless prank: On Christmas Eve I handed Patty a gift-wrapped present and said, “And this is for you, from Deborah Grossman.” Now we don’t know anyone named Deborah Grossman, so you should’ve seen the look on her face…