The stories he could tell

Today, I found out one of my favorite patrons died. 

Peter Reale was feisty. He was full of stories from his days in the Navy and his time spent as a hair dresser. I got to know him while working at the library. He and his wife, Anne, would come in and read the newspapers together.

They’d chat with us at the check out counter. Peter could talk for days, and Anne was so patient, always waiting for him to wrap up his conversations. The story of how they met is adorable, and I got the chance to write a bit about it while working for CM Life.

After getting leaving the Navy, Reale married Anne in 1949 after meeting her in their state board exam for cosmetology licenses in New York. Reale said he saw her at the exam and knew he had to talk to her.

“She got done, and I said wait for me,” Reale said. “I just yelled it across a room (while) taking an exam.”

He met Anne down the street at the Paramount Theater. They saw the feature film, then watched the vaudeville show after. The two got dinner at a local diner and have been inseparable since.

“It cost 65 cents each for us to have dinner,” Reale said. “Can you imagine that? I had $10 to last me a week. It was so expensive.”

I’m grateful to have gotten to know Peter and Anne. Their love was stronger than a lot of things I’ve seen. I can’t imagine what Anne is going through. My heart goes out to her.


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