Whether it took place last year or decades ago, it's one of those rites of passage that folks don't often forget, whether you were 12 or 40 years old when it took place.
In this second installment of the York Daily Record/Sunday News' "Remember. . ." oral history project, we asked readers to share with us the stories of their first dates.
Betty Neary's tale takes us back to a time when far-flung couples corresponded with letters, and living together before marriage was taboo. Her first date was the start of a slow-blossoming romance, but one that lasted for decades.
Seven-year courtship ends in marriage
Although it was many years ago, I can remember what I consider my first date as if it were yesterday.
I was not allowed to date until I was 16.
I had seen this young man in high school and asked one of my friends if she knew him, and she did.
I said, "He's really cute."
She, in turn, told him that and the next thing I knew, he was peeking at me through the windows of the classroom. He finally came over and asked me if I would like to go to the movies.
I asked my parents and got permission, and we went to the movies. Ironically, the next day he was leaving, as he had joined the Navy.
So when we got home from that first date -- we went to the movies, we had to ride the bus, we went to have some ice cream as we did in those days -- and when we got to the front door, he kissed me goodnight -- a very pristine kiss -- and he said to me, "I'm going to marry you."
I didn't think much of it.
The years went by, he went into the Navy.
Then, he was discharged, and he came home and went to school. The years were passing, and we were still dating -- of course we didn't live together as people do now.
Then he went to Washington, D.C., where he worked, and in 1952 -- which was seven years after we had first met -- we decided it was time to get married. He had a job, and we could look forward to a good life together.
So in August 1952, we were married. I moved to Washington, D.C., to join him, and there we lived until 1997 when unfortunately, God took him home and left me here to continue whatever there is he wants me to do. Our life together was wonderful.
So without Jim, I am lost. But I know he's in a better place, and someday we will be together again.
And I thank him for putting up with me for all those years, because I was not easy to deal with I'm quite sure.
Betty Neary, 79, Shrewsbury
My first date was on July 1, 1950, as far as I can recollect.
My wife, who was my girlfriend then, came out in a pink lacy dress with a white pocketbook and shoes, and I'll tell you she was a knockout. Of course, she asked where we were going to go.
We went to Williams Grove Speedway, and that was our first date. And while we were at the stand getting something to eat, I forgot her name. Her name was Norma, and my sister's name was Norma, so that's how I got it.
I tell you, we had a real nice date, and we dated for 48 years.
Now, since then, she has gone to be with the Lord in 1999. . . . She was really a nice girl. I married her on Sept. 6, 1951.
Boyd Fulton, 79, Windsor Township
Falling for a redhead
I lived at the YW on East Market Street, and my roommate asked me to go out to something that was a yearly event at the William Penn High School. They had a frolic, I think it was called. She asked me to go with her boyfriend's friend, and she told me he had red hair.
And I said, "No, not in your life. I never went with a redhead, and I'm not going with one."
And I was going to sing in a choir, and I wasn't giving up my choir date. That was a month ahead. Every week she said, "Oh, he's very nice, he's OK.
I said, "No way."
Each week she'd remind me.
And the last week before the frolic she said, "Oh, if I didn't have my boyfriend, I'd go with him.
And I thought, "Well, if she'd go with him, he would be all right. So we went to the frolic, we had fun, and I married him. And he accused me of falling for him. And I did. I fell on the floor. And there's more to that . . .
Cora Riese, 88, West Manchester Township
I met my husband back on April 13, 1990. Six months later we were engaged. Three years later, we were married. We have two kids, and we are going to be married 15 years this April. We met on Friday the 13th, and it's been the greatest years of my life with my husband.
Debbie Doughty, 36, York
Boyfriend a big teddy bear
I first met my boyfriend almost two years ago, on May 12, 2005. We went to dinner and we went to the movies and we played miniature golf. It will be three years this May . . . He's just a wonderful guy. He's loving, he's kind. He's just wonderful, he opens the door for me. Our first anniversary he sent me roses. Last year, he sent me a teddy bear and roses. He made a scrapbook of our first year together, and I made one of our second year. He's just a kind, gentle, loving person. He's always there when I need him; he's a big teddy bear. He's just an amazing person. He's just awesome.
Teresa E. Warner, 35, West Manchester Township
Dinner and a movie
I met my husband, Kenneth Smith, through Matchmakers in April of 1989. We went to dinner at Hoss's, and from there we went across the street and watched a movie, and to this day he still remembers the name of the movie that we saw, which was "Rain Man." We were married six months after we met, so we are married for over 18 years. He is a very, very quiet man. Except when he's at home with me.
Pat Smith, 61, York
Cool sailor a turn on
I met my husband in 1974, on the Outer Banks. I was 14, and he was 18. It was two weeks before he went into the Navy.
Our first official date was early in 1975. I was at the Junior Achievement Trade Fair at the York Mall. He met me at the York Mall.
I was standing in front of the Penney's perfume department -- and had just sprayed myself with Cachet -- when he came around the corner. He was wearing his Navy peacoat and a Greek fisherman's cap. It was in the days of silky shirts -- he had this blue shirt with lighthouses on it.
He looked so cool when he came around the corner. He looked like the Old Spice man.
We went to see "The Towering Inferno." It was a great date.
We've been married for 28 years now. And he still looks so cool, every time I see him come anywhere near me.
Laura Brown, 47, Springettsbury Township
About this series
The "Remember" series is a monthly feature that challenges readers to remember poignant moments in personal, local and national history. Each month, we're asking readers to share their memories on different topics.