Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 07 February 2014 00:00
While half of marriages end in divorce today, one New Hyde Park couple has a word of advice to current and future newlyweds: patience. Sal and Frances Chiusano will be married for 56 years on June 7 and for the fourth consecutive time, will renew their vows on Valentine’s Day at Harbor Links in Port Washington.
“Have patience and respect one another,” said Frances. “Don’t be hasty. Work things out and stick it out. This vow renewal is a happy occasion. Everyone there is happy and willing to do it.”
Frances, 84, met Sal, 90, on a blind date set up his sister and her mother. Frances was so nervous, she brought a friend with her to the date with Sal at a night club in Jackson Heights.
Fast forward 18 months and they were married in Maspeth, Queens. They lived in Elmhurst before moving to New Hyde Park in 1981. They have two children and one grandchild.
“If I wanted to walk out of the date, I could,” she said with a laugh. “I had my escape all set.”
Sal worked in a machine shop in Brooklyn; he’s still with the Local 3 metal workers union. Frances, 90, worked as a bookkeeper, but became a school aide at PS 14 in Corona, Queens.
While Sal is a former machinist, he has an artistic side to his strong exterior. He paints still-lifes and builds art from leftover scrap laying around as well as woodworking.
“I went after her and she’s accepted me so far,” Sal joked. “Artwork is a lot of fun,” he said. “I was just messing around it just stuck.”
Frances’ favorite thing about Sal? His kindness. Sal’s top quality in his wife is her independence.
“He’s very compassionate,” she said. “He helps around.” Sal interjected, “you never told me that,” smirking. “There was many a times, when she’s cooking or whatever, and I always ask and it’s always no. She wants to do things on her own.”
Town Clerk Wayne Wink will help facilitate the vow renewal on Valentine’s Day. He’s taken the advice from families like the
“It’s such an uplifting ceremony,” he said. “I can tell you personally, for someone who has been married 11 years, there are days I need all the advice I can get on how to make it to 12 years.”
Wink feels the vow renewals highlight the stable nature that marriage can be, even though the trend today may be converse to lengthy bonds.
“These couples are a testaments to the fact that if you put your mind to it, be able to compromise that you can really achieve anything, including being married such a long time,” Wink said. “What makes the Chiusano’s unique is they’ve been together so long and have made it work.”
The Chiusano’s children live in Pittsburgh and Florida, which they routinely visit. They also travel to Pennsylvania with local New Hyde Park senior groups, like the Knights of Columbus.
“We’re all in the same group,” she said. “We stick together.”
The vow renewals will be on Friday, Feb. 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.