When I Saw His Parents on the Dance Floor, I Knew He was the Man I Would Marry

Thirty-five years later, he’s still learning new moves that thrill me

Karen Traub
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readFeb 15, 2024


Photo by mimi lalaa on Unsplash

We had been together about six months and I was already starting to fall in love with Frank when we drove to New Jersey to celebrate his parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.

The party was in a rented hall with music provided by an old friend from high school. There were aluminum trays of lasagna, stuffed shells, and eggplant. Frank’s Nanny Rosie brought her homemade sausage rolls from Brooklyn. I was still a vegetarian then, but too nervous to eat much anyway. I stuck close to Frank as he introduced me to his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. There were a lot of Ralphs, Joes, and Vinnys.

At the table after dinner, I saw Frank’s father raise an eyebrow as he looked at his wife, then at the dance floor. Frank’s mom put down her napkin, pushed out her chair and stood up. Frank Sr. gave his hand and she took it.

They were an old married couple for sure, but they had an undeniable spark of passion between them. They owned the dance floor.

Frank’s dad, raised by immigrant parents, had started his career as a mechanic and worked his way to the American dream of owning his own successful company. He was a big man physically and his personality was even bigger. On the dance floor, he was light and graceful. Frank’s mom was a traditional stay-at-home mom, but she was a badass who had already beat breast cancer and would live years beyond her doctor’s prediction.

Together the two moved as one.

I stared openly as they twirled and floated around the dance floor. In my mind’s eye, I saw their courtship, marriage, the birth of their children, birthdays, anniversaries. I could imagine that Frank and I would someday look into each others eyes like that on the dance floor.

About two years later, Frank and I visited about a million possible wedding venues before we found the perfect place to celebrate the beginning of our life together. The Greenfield Country Club had an old barn converted into a function room. The natural wood was dark with rough hewn beams thirty feet up, a giant stone fireplace, and sweeping…