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One Photo; One Story: First Kiss

You always remember your first kiss. The butterflies in your stomach, the moment you muster up the courage, the gamble that could end up exhilarating or become an embarrassing devastating mess.


For most it’s a stolen kiss at a high school dance or some other moment that presents a right of passage from adolescence to young adulthood. When we dial in that memory it brings a smile to our face and our hearts flutter at the thought. Movies and novels are written about this most wonderful experience.

My first kiss came from who my parents tell me was Patty Casey. I was four years old. I’m not sure Ms. Casey knows this but it’s the story I remember.

In the 1960’s, my dad, his brothers and friends worked for a plumber and heating expert named Jim Casey. Jim had a very successful company that serviced homes and businesses all over New Jersey. Dad would work for Mr. Casey on his down time from his regular job on the Erie Lackawanna Railroad.

The guys were all close. On weekends we would visit my uncles, the Mahoney’s, Sykes, and Casey families for barbecues, birthday parties and celebrations.

In the summer of 1964, we went to see Mr. Casey’s family at their house on the Jersey Shore. While our parents talked in the kitchen, they noticed the kids became “too quiet”.

Mom went off to find out why. She always had her Kodak Instamatic Camera. She snapped a photo of me with a young Patty stealing a kiss in a back bedroom.

I was reminded of this photo many times in my younger years. Every time my parents came across the photo, I would be flush and crinkle my nose as my parents teased me about it.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the photo. I found it in a small box of memories and just talked with my dad about it today. He still remembers the smiles and laughs they had about it that day long ago.

For me, I do not recall the moment after all I was four. I do remember the photo. Patty Casey most likely has no idea the photo exists nor does she know the years and stories told about it during my young life.

It does make me smile now. Thank you Patty Casey wherever you are.

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