Monthly Archives: July 2015

Summer Love, Part 3: The Proposal


1977 – 1979

About one year after we met, Peter decided to move to Boston, MA to study for a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at Boston University with Rosellen Brown, a well known author. We were dating and very much in love. It was not a surprise when he suggested I transfer to a University in Boston and move there with him. So I applied to several schools and was accepted to all but matriculated at UMass Boston, because I was given a scholarship. Peter’s mom helped us move by driving us to Boson with our stuff loaded in her station wagon.


Visiting NJ from Boston, 1978


Visiting NJ from Boston, 1978

We found a first floor apartment in the middle of the Boston College student ghetto, on Sutherland Road not far from Cleveland circle, but in reality, closer to BC. We commuted to classes and enjoyed Boston and the intellectual climate of both universities. Together we survived the big blizzard of 1978. Peter was making progress on his novel and continued to write poetry. Unfortunately, his money was running out so he took a job as a chemist with  a local company. It was not long before he decided that to be respected in his field he needed to further his education or do “something else”. He applied to several Doctoral programs as well as the Air Force and the Navy. He took the aptitude test to become a pilot.  Keep in mind that he had never flown a plane nor had he ever studied aeronautics.  The results of the test offered him a place in the Air Force as a navigator. He decided that if he was not flying the plane, then he was not going to navigate one, either. Then he received a letter from The Department of The Navy for an interview with Admiral Rickover to discuss Nuclear Submarines.  That was exciting, maybe too exciting and he declined the invitation. UMass Amherst accepted him into their Chemistry PHD program and several other universities did, too. To our great disappointment, he was rejected by MIT. Peter corresponded back to the Department Chair, Dr. Glenn Berchtold and questioned how he could reject a Duke Graduate at the very top of his class in Chemistry? They next thing we knew, MIT came calling and Peter joined Dr. Berchtold’s department as a candidate for a Doctorate degree in Organic Chemistry at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Boston Common

Me, Boston Common, 1978

All this came about suddenly and shortly after receiving the acceptance letter we headed into the city for a day of shopping and fun.  As we walked through the Boston Garden, Peter talked about MIT and moving to Cambridge, MA and would I move with him? Well, hum, I had to think about that. I was not getting any younger, I would be 22 that summer, and as a PHD candidate he would be occupied day and night. I was finishing up at UMass and guys were always asking me out . . . Did I just want to tag along with him to MIT, as the girlfriend, hum, probably not. . .


Boston Hay Market, 1978

By this time we were up past the Red Line subway entrance and the Hari Krishnas, heading down a side street toward Filene’s Bargain Basement. Peter steered us across the street and directly into Stowels Jewelry store. “What if I buy you a diamond ring and we get married this summer before I start the program”? he asked.  Not unlike being asked out to the ballet, I did not hesitate, YES! The diamond was small, but very high quality. I remember having difficulty focusing on school work as all I wanted to do was look at my beautiful diamond ring and dream about our upcoming summer wedding.

MIT Graduate

The Graduate, MIT, 1983

UMASS Boston

The Other Graduate, University of Massachusetts at Boston, 1981


Summer Love, Part 2: Swan Lake


Summer, 1976

As Saturday night approached my dilemma was what to wear to the ballet? My sister had recently bought a beautiful new dress that I thought was perfect for a big night out. Unfortunately, she turned me down when I asked to borrow it. I did get lucky as she departed our house before Peter was scheduled to arrive. I quickly snatched the dress and was ready when the doorbell rang. It was my date and to my surprise, he was tall and handsome! After saying hello and introducing himself to my mom, he escorted me to his car, an older FIAT that he borrowed from his brother.  He opened the passenger door, helped me inside,  and closed the door. A perfect gentlemen. I was impressed.


Me, 1976

He carefully backed out of our driveway onto busy Branch Ave and headed to White Road. We had not yet crossed the railroad tracks when the car started making a very loud noise. Oh, there goes our big night out! Undeterred, Peter pulled the car over to the side of the road and excused himself. He got out to inspect the problem. The muffler was falling off the vehicle. This was not going to stop the Fiat from getting us to the City. He kicked the muffler off the car, popped the trunk and threw it inside. Wiping his hands, on a handkerchief, he slammed the trunk shut and off we roared to New York City and an exciting night on the town!

Shrewsbury River

Shrewsbury River View, 1976

This was the beginning of our lives together. From that night on, we were more or less, inseparable. He wined and dined me regularly in New York or Philadelphia. As a recent college graduate he had a good job and before long a small apartment in Sea Bright. The front window overlooked the Atlantic and rear window the Shrewsbury River. We could see NYC in the distant skyline. One evening when we were cooking dinner in the little apartment, I looked at him and I knew that he was the one. On Tuesday, July 21, 2015, we celebrate 36 years of marriage, two great children, a son, Dan, and our daughter, Lisa, plus a life full of adventure. 

Our Wedding

Summer Love


The Jersey Shore, June, 1976

It was Friday night and everyone was home from college for the summer. My best friends and I decided to have a girls night out on the town. Departing Little Silver with Michelle, Jan and Debbie, we parked at a local bar in Rumson, NJ called Lock Stock & Barrell. We went in and within a few minutes determined none of our friends were there. We departed and moved on to the next bar as we headed East toward Sea Bright. We must have tried a couple more places before crossing the Sea Bright Bridge. We then stopped at different places on the beach as we continued South toward Long Branch. None of the bars held appeal.  Either no one we knew was there, the music was not right or the place just felt boring.  We were searching for fun and friends. Summer love did not cross our minds. Finally, we pulled up across the street from The Laugh In Saloon. It was a crazy place bustling with a large crowd. We all agreed that if nothing else, this place should be fun.


Jan, Me and Buttsy, Michelle, aka Misha at 363 Branch Ave., Little Silver,  NJ, 1976

We entered the bar to the sound of a ringing bell over loud music. When the bell rang the bartender shouted a number and if that was your birthday, you received a free beer. Yes, this place was lively and fun. Before long a guy wearing a leather jacket approached me. He started talking about his motorcycle. Chains hung off his jacket and I quickly realized that he was drunk. Then another guy approached. He was wearing jeans and a polo shirt. His conversation started with a discussion about science and poetry. My friends approached and I gave them the universal girlfriend signal; get me out of here! This second guy must be drunk, too . . .

NAP 1976

Me, 1976


As we headed toward the door to leave, the motorcycle man dropped off or passed out. The scientist/poet followed us. He tapped me on the shoulder and asked my name. I replied, “Nancy”. No, he wanted my full name. I realized that there was no threat in giving him my last name as most people had trouble pronouncing it, let alone spelling it. Over my shoulder, I said “Nancy Aschettino” as I briskly walked away.

My friends and I left the bar and headed home for the night. The following week the phone rang, it was Peter, the scientist/poet from The Laugh In Saloon. I was astonished he had found me! He asked if I would go out with him the following Saturday night. As I hesitated to come up with an excuse to say no, he went on to explain that he had two tickets to see The New York City Ballet’s, Swan Lake.  “I’d like to take you to dinner and the ballet”. Instead of an excuse to ditch this guy, I surprised myself with a quick reply, “what time?” Before we hung up I got his full name and only then understood how he had found me. With the last name, Policastro, my last name was not a problem at all. And as a recent graduate of Duke University with a degree in Organic Chemistry, he was definitely smart enough to find me.


Peter, 1976