Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Forever Friends

Emanuel Lagatta carefully sliced bagels and prepared coffee for his friends in the Bethpage Senior/ Community Center while his wife of 53 years, Louise, gushed about how the key to a good marriage is putting friendship first.

“You need to be friends before you can be lovers,” she advised. And being a good friend comes easy to this amiable couple, who enjoys preparing breakfast for their companions.

Emanuel (Manny) diligently continued his morning ritual, as Louise explained how their relationship began in Hicksville.

“I was from Brooklyn and he was from the Bronx, but my aunt lived in Hicksville so I had always been coming here for holidays. When a mutual friend in Hicksville gave Manny a picture of me, he called me up and the rest is history,” she said, her eyes sparkling brighter than her glittery blue sweater.

“We met on Jan. 31, 1957,” said Louise, “and we kept on dating even though we didn’t live close. Manny would have to drive from his house in the Bronx to work in Farmingdale and then to Brooklyn to see me.” At the mention of their first date, she pulled out a photo of them from that day, smiling warmly for the camera despite the dreary Manhattan day.

A blissful, snow-white wedding was the result of two and a half years of dating and the start to a long, happy marriage. As Louise showed off a few wedding pictures, you could hardly tell the photographers had to stand over them with umbrellas to ward off the snow.

“Can you believe it snowed in April?” Louise remarked.

Since the chilly, spring day in 1959 when they first exchanged wedding vows, the Lagattas have renewed their vows twice, as their daughter says, “to make sure it sticks!” The first time was after 50 years at a party the couple hosted and Emanuel jokingly said, “We did it the first time so I had to do it a second.”

The Lagattas were slated to join Ed Mangano, County Executive, and other longtime couples who were renewing their vows for lunch at The Coral House for Valentine’s Day. Louise’s smile gave off her excitement and it was clear that after 53 years of marriage, two daughters and four grandchildren, the couple still enjoys going out together.

“We’re best friends. You have to be,” said Louise. “Work together, play together and pray together,” she said as she revealed a recent, yet youthful-looking picture of her and Emanuel in a photo booth with a funky background. The pictures of them throughout the years may have faded, but the proof of their happiness is as clear as the snow on their wedding day.

As I left the Bethpage Senior/ Community Center and watched Louise and Emanuel exchange endearing smiles, it was clear that their marriage is as fun and loving as the first time they exchanged vows.