Mike Lapolla, Coast Guard

Mike is Margaret's husband and served in the Coast Guard for 20 years. He sat down with me to tell me about their life together, their travels, and his years in the service.

My name is Mike Lapolla and just to tell about myself, I'm a native of Bristol, Pennsylvania. I currently live in Levittown, Pennsylvania, just across the tracks. And I graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. In 1975, which is the year I graduated from high school, I joined the US Coast Guard. I'll get to the complete Coast Guard story in a few minutes.

But let me tell you about myself and my wife. Her name was Margaret Madara and we married in 1998. We were married for 15 years. Margaret was a native of Levittown. She was from a family of four brother, and herself, and her parents. I didn't live very far from Margaret and through a mutual friend, we were introduced. And we met, I believe, don't quote me, in January. I think it was on a snowy day. Margaret said it was. Her memory was always better than mine. And I believe we met at her house. And her mother was a typical old-world Irish woman who liked the idea of the old-fashioned way of doing things. The guy sits on the other end of the couch until the blessing was given even though I was in my late thirties and Margaret was in her early thirties. I still follow whatever was told to me.

We dated until 1998 and we were married August 1 of 1998 at St. Michael's Church (Levittown, PA) and we had the reception at Pennsbury Maor. I'll tell you a bit more about that later. But Margaret was a volunteer there so we had our reception there which turned out to be an absolutely perfect day. From there we went on our honeymoon which was in Cape May, New Jersey. We stayed at a bed and breakfast called the Captain Mey's Inn and I think we stayed there for a week. Again, short memory.

(At this point I interrupted with a question - well, you skipped your first date. You said you met at the house. Was that it, the first date was at the house?)

Okay, let's go back to the dating scene. We met at the house and we went on several other dates and that was a movie date. I don't remember the name of the movie. Then we went out on dinner dates. We also would go out to her brother's placee for either Halloween or the Christmas scene, you might say. A couple other dates, we would go out and buy some things and she would kind of get mad at me and hit me in the shoulder or something like that.

We didn't do a whole lot of going out dating things between before our marriage. I was going to school at the time. I forgot to mention that. When I left the military, I had gone to The Restaurant School in Philadelphia and graduated from there. At that time, we were dating. So whenever we had a chance, we got together and did some things, but not a whole lot.

So some of the vacations that Margaret and I took… actually the first vacation we took was the second year we were married. I kind of surprised her with a trip to Hawaii. I did a little sneaky thing and I stuck a ticket inside a funny looking egg on the tree. And I told her there was another gift and I made her find it, so it was kind of fun for her. But I took her to Hawaii. We went to Hawaii for a week. We went to Maui and stayed in a nice hotel. We had a grand time. We got to meet the artist Lassen. He's a designer of paintings and sculptures and stuff like that, usually of sea creatures. It was fun.

Another trip we had taken, we stayed at a bed and breakfast, we liked to do bed and breakfasts, was a place in Pennsylvania. I don't remember the exact name of the place, but it was outside of Bird in Hand (yes, this is a real place in Lancaster County) in Pennsylvania. And then another was in Cape Cod, another bed and breakfast, just outside of Hyannis Port. There was a cute little cottage and it was a little tudor sort of place and it was cute. It had kind of a neat bedroom.

We took a trip on Route 6 which runs across the northern part of Pennsylvania. We stopped in Strasburg which has the Railroad Museum. Then we stopped at a place outside of Strasburg. It was an antique shop and I saw this beautiful dining table, which I still have, an antique 19402 art deco table. And I said, "Margaret, I'm gonna have that." And she looked at me like, "No!" And I said, "Well, I gotta have it." And she said, "oh…" And I said, "Okay, great, we can get this?" She said yes. "So can I have the slot machine, too?" She goes, "What?!!!" then "Ok." So I got the slot machine, too. So here we are traveling and we're spending all this monet we shouldn't be spending, but we had a good time.

From there, on the same trip, we went to Watkins Glen, New York, which is up by the Finger Lakes and has a very nice walking trail. You go up through a ravine. It's nice. Then we came back to Route 6 and stopped at the Little Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. We stopped at the, I can't remember the name of the town, where the Baseball Hall of Fame is, Cooperstown.