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By Lynne Brosan
My dad became seriously ill when I was 16, and, consequently, there was not enough money to send me to college. My parents suggested that I attend Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School in NYC. This was not exactly a part of my “dreams,” but I knew I had to help. I graduated from high school a semester early, and started Gibbs several weeks before my 17th birthday.
Since it was a secretarial school, we were seated alphabetically! I had the good fortune to sit behind Dorothy Conforti (I was Lynne Cowan), and a lifelong friendship was born. I owe the rest of my life to Dotty who, unknowingly, set the stage for a wonderful, exciting, challenging at times life with the love of my life…George.
I can see him now on our first date. Dotty and I had a short break from school, and she was staying at my house. A friend of hers, Rudy Rose, asked her to go to Jones Beach. He had a friend (George), and asked if her friend would like to go. Being that I was “going steady”, I said I would go as a chaperone. I packed lunch, and we were off to the beach. Now who could resist those blue eyes, blonde hair and that great smile, and above all, that red wool bathing suit???…not I. He asked me out, and my guilt lasted all of 30 seconds. He kept asking me out…he was persistent and determined, an example of life with George.
George finished Fordham and I graduated from Gibbs and started working. We were engaged two months after his graduation. My mom, dad and sister loved him. He worked until he left for Ft. Benning, GA. (our first separation). We were married on July 4th, because he knew he would have the day off!! One thing we knew…..our marriage was strictly for love; we didn’t have any money at all! Before we were married, my mother gave me some advice. “Marriage will have its ups and downs. Don’t expect to move back home when it is down—work it out!´ Wow, what prophetic words!
Our first son, Lawrence, was born one year later. True to many future happenings, he was not there. He was at summer camp at Camp Drum. My mom and dad took me to the hospital. The three of us lived in our one bedroom apartment until Lawrence was 4 years old. Then we got promoted to a two bedroom apartment. We were living in Hollis, N.Y. After Lawrence was born, George took a test for the N.Y.P.D. This did not please his mother who felt his college degree would be a waste. She asked me to talk him out of it—but he made his case, and I knew it was what he really wanted. He was unhappy with his job with the Bank of America. It was undeniable; it was in his blood. His father and uncle were in the N.Y.P.D., and his grandfather was a fireman in NY. He was certainly unlike anyone in my family, and I had a lot to learn about law enforcement life.
George enjoyed police work (with some exceptions). He was active in the Army Reserve, and was going to CCNY for his Master’s Degree. Needless to say, Lawrence and I spent a lot of time together.
Ups and downs……several miscarriages, a stillborn, our first adoption (Terrence), our first dog (Goliath). George had a mentor in the Reserves, Capt. Tom McGrann. He recommended him as an aide-de-camp to Gen. William Esbitt. This changed our life. He suggested to George that he take the Federal Law Enforcement exam. He passed, and was accepted into U.S. Customs. The call for him to become an agent came while I was in the hospital recovering from the loss of a baby boy. Little did I realize how our life would change. I never had seen him so happy. He adjusted to his life in Customs, and put all his energy into being a success. We met some of the greatest characters that I can remember. I loved it as much as George did.
George was promoted quickly in Customs and we were transferred to D.C. The boys were 9 and 2. We were married 10 years and on our way. Nine months after we moved to Maryland, we adopted our daughter Aileen. Our family was complete. However, George travelled a great deal of the time, so I made all the decisions at home and wandered through the measles, chicken pox, bruises, calls from school and the joys of first steps, words and growing up in general. And the ups and downs of childhood and teenage years.
A new department was formed and it was called the Drug Enforcement Administration. George was promoted to Chief inspector. It seemed like everything he had worked for had finally been achieved. As Chief Inspecctor he found some skelatons in the closet, that were not politically acceptable. His punishment was the hardest period of our life up to that time; his period of “isolation”. It was hard on our children. I received a telephone call telling me that they knew where our children went to school. I panicked. This led to our selling the house, moving to Annapolis and getting a box at the post office for a few years. During this period our daughter Aileen had serious ear problems that eventually necessitated five operations. Those were down days.
Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel. George was taken out of isolation by a new administrator, and transferred to Baltimore. Good times were back. We met some wonderful people in Baltimore, who are still in our lives. Baltimore was New York in miniature, and Fordham graduates were everywhere….the F.B.I., Secret Service, Customs. The next administrator of DEA asked George to take over training. We were transferred to Georgia, and resided on lovely St. Simons Island. I could have stayed there forever. However, DEA training was moved to Virginia. At that time, George was offered the position of heading the Maryland State Police. He moved the training up to Virginia, and retired on his 50th birthday. We were home again.
Retirement meant the greatest change in our lives and probably the most interesting. It was also a time to follow our dreams of travelling. Who said growing older was boring. We visited every continent and saw more beauty ever thought imaginable. We have had more second honeymoons than anyone I
Actually the first 25 years of our marriage were a learning experience, and the next 25 years have been applying all the experiences and expertise learned in the first 25 years. That includes parenting, grandparenting, and George sending me through college and finally getting my degree at 55 years of age.
We will be married 53 years this July, and it only seems like “yesterday”. The years have flown by too fast for two dreamy kids from NYC discussing the future……………..without absolutely no idea what life would bring. We shared it all together, and George made sure that I always knew what was going on. I have always known that if I was not with him physically, I was with him mentally. He never forgot his family, and each and every one knows that. He is a great husband, father, grandfather and provider. Who could ask for anything more?
My grandmother told me after my grandfather died after 62 years of marriage that only 50% of her was left, because 50% of her had died. I know exactly how that would feel..
We are one.