Friedman Simon - February 2020





A Split-Second Decision That Led to 35 Happy Years

If there’s one lesson both attorneys and doctors are constantly reminded of, it’s that bad things can happen quickly. Car accidents, falls, dog bites — catastrophe can come out of nowhere and leave a person changed for the rest of their life. Being reminded daily of this bleak fact is tough — which is why I want to provide a counterpoint. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to share something that happened very quickly and lead to the happiest years of my life: my marriage to Alissa. We first encountered one another as college students in an apartment in Boston — and using the phrase “love at first sight” wouldn’t be accurate. You see, the first moment I saw Alissa, she had her back to me, facing a record player and singing along to a Linda Ronstadt track. It was March of 1980, and I can still remember being awestruck by her voice. So, I suppose it was love at first listen. But of course, at that moment, I had no intention of dating Alissa, much less marrying her. After all, she was dating my friend — whom I went up to Boston to visit that weekend. He wanted to go out while she stayed in, so I never really got a chance to

Three years later, I’m working my way through law school as a bartender in Lido Beach when I get word from Alissa. She and my friend had split up, but he was looking to possibly rekindle something. He wanted to take her on a date, but she felt more comfortable having other people come along. So, Alissa invited me and her sister along. Between my studies and my late-night bartending schedule, I almost didn’t go on this double-date. Now, I’m so grateful I did. Alissa and I ended up talking the whole evening. I was struck by how warm and full of life she was — and still is. The next morning at my aerobics class (this was the ‘80s after all) I confided in my instructor that I’d never met anyone quite like Alissa. So, I resolved to stay in contact with her. We wrote several letters back and forth between Lido Beach and her home in Toronto, and then on May 11, 1984, she gave me a call. She was in New York and wanted to hang out. I went to meet her, and we’ve been together basically every day ever since. In fact, our bond was so strong that on July 4th of that

way I did to my parents. I was actually living with them at the

time while I finished up school. All three of us were in the kitchen and I was hunting for something to eat. Briefly, I stuck my head out of the fridge and told them, “By the way, I’m getting married.” Contrary to what you might expect, my mother was ecstatic. You see, she was very ill and was so excited she’d get to see me wed. In fact, we actually moved up the date of the wedding to make sure of this. So, on a snowy, day in January 1985, Alissa and I got married after being together just seven months. I’m sure plenty of bets went around that night on how long we’d last together. And yet, 35 years and three beautiful kids later, we’re still going strong. In fact, our daughter recently got engaged herself — though to a guy she’s been dating for a long time. It’s fantastic news, and like most good things, this engagement took a while to develop. And yet, looking back over the last 3 1/2 decades, I can say with certainty that sometimes, great things really do happen in a blink of an eye.

same year, at age 25, I asked Alissa if she would marry me. If one of my own kids got engaged that quick, I would have had a heart attack — especially if they broke the news the

“All three of us were in the kitchen and I was hunting for something to eat. Briefly, I stuck my head out of the fridge and told them, ‘By the way, I’m getting married.’”

talk to her that first night. We’d become acquaintances later on, but even then, I would never have guessed this beautiful woman would one day be my wife.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

516-800-8000 1 ––––-Roger Simon

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