Invitations to Remember

Robert Anderson Jr. enlisted the help of the East Hampton Cinema last Thursday to ask his girlfriend, Melissa Perez, to be his date for his senior banquet. She said yes. Melissa Perez

Some details from high school may get fuzzy as time goes by, but two East Hampton High Schoolers shouldn’t have any problem remembering two special moments.

Robert F. Anderson Jr., a senior from East Hampton who goes by R.J., and Melissa Perez, a junior who lives in Springs, have been dating for about four months after meeting at Project MOST, where they work as counselors after school. In early April, with the junior prom approaching on May 17, Melissa set out to do something extra special for her boyfriend.

He is always doing sweet things for her, she said. During midterms when she was stressed about exams, he surprised her with flowers after one, and when she was sick he brought her soup. “I just thought he was really special with me so I thought I should make it a big thing. I wanted to surprise him in a way that he would never forget it,” she said.

After looking on websites like Pinterest, she came up with the idea to set up eight colorful signs with balloons on Hand’s Creek Road, so he would see them on his way home from work, asking “R.J. will you go to prom with me?”

Stunned, he called her from the car to accept the invitation. She was already at his house waiting for him.

With his senior banquet also around the corner, R.J. promised her he would find a way to one up her.

Last Thursday, he suggested they drive by the East Hampton movie theater to check what was playing for a date they had planned. He drove very slowly past the marquee on Main Street, and in the middle section, between “Heaven Is for Real” and “Rio 2” was the question: “Melissa will u go 2 banquet with me?”

Of course she said yes.

R.J., who works as a traffic control officer for East Hampton Village and plans to attend the Suffolk County Police Academy in January, said he was definitely trying to top his girlfriend’s request. “What better place than a big sign in the middle of the village?” he asked. He spoke to the manager of the theater who agreed to put up the sign for about an hour if he would make a donation to the Stars of Hope, a foundation the theater chain supports.

“Never in my head did I imagine that. I was really surprised,” Melissa said.


Melissa Perez with her boyfriend, Robert Anderson Jr., pose with the signs Ms. Perez put up asking him to her junior prom. Courtesy of Melissa Perez