To have and to hold, part 2: Marcellus woman launches menopause Facebook groups

Pictured are Jerry and Susan Garritillo.

Pictured are Jerry and Susan Garritillo. Cheryl Seligman

Part 2: Susan Garritillo. This two-part story package explores the individual accomplishments and undivided love of a Marcellus couple. See Part 1: Jerry Garritillo to learn more.

Susan Garritillo was a wrong phone number that turned out to be right.

“I was a young, military single guy in a college town,” said Jerry Garritillo, Susan’s husband of 25 years this year. “It was late, I lost my ride and back then they didn’t have cellphones.”

Jerry went to a phone booth — “our phone booth,” Susan said, which is located on Margaret Street in Plattsburgh, N.Y. — to call for a friend in his dorm to pick him up.

“Where’s Kenny, room 323?” he asked.

“I’m sorry, you’ve reached a private residence,” she replied. “You dialed 563 and [the dormitories] are 565.”

Still, despite having woken Susan up, the two talked for a long time. Susan said she would let Jerry go each time the payphone prompted him to deposit 25 more cents for another three minutes, but he continued to pay regardless.

Jerry, now an Air Force veteran, 2008 graduate of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), owner of a private family business called the Garritillo Agency, and 2013 recipient of the Richard L. Haydon Veteran-Entrepreneur of the Year Award, called Susan back about a month after his initial call.

“Susie, is this you?” Susan said Jerry asked her when she answered the phone again. “It took me five wrong numbers to get your number. Don’t hang up.”

They decided to meet at the mall — Jerry wore exactly what he said he would; Susan did not, “just in case,” she said.

“I knew it was him the minute I saw him,” she added. “And that was it.”

Today, Susan and Jerry are inseparable, and while she helps him run the Garritillo Agency, he helps her manage three new Facebook groups for individuals dealing with menopause: Menopause Chat, Boomer Bitches and Babes, and Men o Pause Anonymous.

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