Saturday, February 21, 2009

Love At First Sight

It was a spring day, I was 17 and my girlfriends and I decided to go to a dance at the Irish American Club in Cleveland, after all we were invited by a very popular sorority from the West Side, who would want to miss that. I remember the dress I was wearing a deep v-neck princess, a-line, linen ivory background print with light turquoise images or faint flowers on it. In those days I had a 23" inch waistline and felt really good about myself, but now that I think of it that dress was God awful!!

I was having a very good time, enjoying the music and dancing and the music ended and it was time for us to leave. However, 2 Irish boys who thought I was pretty and cool, wanted to take me home. Ummm! My mother would have never approved of this, it was 1955 for Pete's sake. In those days you would be considered a hussy! Wait there is more.

Well from across the dance floor I spotted a very good looking (20 year) older man, tall dark and handsome, who looked to me like "Dean Martin!" "Oh my gosh he is walking over to me", well my heart started pounding and palms started sweating -- this guy was awesome. I have never felt like this before." In today's language they would say he was really hot!

Tall, dark and handsome (who was actually there with a date), came to rescue me from these 2 Irish boys who he said "had a bad reputation and that it wouldn't be a good idea for me to let them take me home." But would I like to go up on the rooftop with him? Ummm! The night was beautiful and the stars were shining brightly and there we were together and he kissed me and asked me for my phone number. Bells were ringing and it was like rockets exploding on the 4Th of July! Could this be "love?" Love at first sight? Have I met "Mr. Wonderful?" Somehow in my heart, I knew I would marry this man one day. After all I was dating someone else at the time!

So I didn't go home with the Irish boys and went home with my girlfriends like a good girl. I found out later that Mr. Wonderful took his date right home and never saw her again. He called me the next day and asked for a date and took me to his old neighborhood called "Little Italy."
We drove around and he showed me all his favorite haunts, where he was born, his school and hangouts and also took me to see his family ---- on the first date, imagine that. It was history from that point on, as he told me I reminded him of Kim Novak -- what a compliment, she was a movie star, she was a "hottie"! What a boost for my ego. Could I be so lucky that I was HIS "love at first sight?" I found out later and yes, I was!

I invited him to my senior prom and showed him off to all my west side school friends. Prom was an event I'll never forget and very special. The dancing, music, flowers, prom dress the whole nine yards. After high school graduation I landed a very good job working in the office of an oil company downtown. We continued to date and fall deeper in live and our favorite restaurant was in Little Italy, a place called Roman Gardens now called Trattoria On The Hill, and is still there. We had "our" special table to the left as you walk in by the bar.

The next year, 1956, I was devastated to say the least. My family moved to California, as my Dad got a job at Hughes Aircraft in Culver City. I also worked there as a secretary. I didn't want to leave the love of my life. We corresponded daily (by US mail) for a few months and he couldn't wait to fly out for a visit. I knew that if it was meant to be, our love would last in spite of the distance and miles between us. That Christmas he came out to fetch me and bring me back to Ohio to marry me. However, things were not so good for my Mom, as she got so homesick for her mother Dad decided to move the family back to Cleveland, lock stock and barrel. Wow I was so happy to return to my Mr. Wonderful, and so was he.

Guess what? A year later my family wanted to move back to California! Mom was better and Dad got a job at Litton Manufacturing. I didn't want to go and leave my Mr. Wonderful. He didn't want me to go either and it was then that he asked me to marry him and within 3 weeks, we planned a wedding for 250 people, purchased a dress, 2 bridesmaids dresses, booked a hall (from a cancellation), hired a caterer and planned a honeymoon to Niagara Falls. Everything went smoothly and without a hitch -- it was truly meant to be! After a memorable wedding reception, it was great by the way, as we were leaving for Niagara Falls in his new 1957 Black Ford Contractible Hardtop, it was the happiest day of my life and the saddest, as my family was leaving me to hit the road to California the next day.

Fifty years later, an accomplishment in this day and age, we have had many lovable moments with it's many peaks and valleys as I said in my first blog called "Life Is Good" and have created 3 beautiful children who have produced 7 wonderful blessings, our grandchildren -- the joy of our lives, our legacy! Dean and Kim are alive and kicking!

I hope you can experience your "Love At First Sight" someday. Make yourself a wonderful life!


  1. I hope so too! What a great story, it gives me the sense of finding so many puzzle pieces to how my family is so united! Thank you for this--and I can just imagine how pretty you looked in your dress at the Irish club.

  2. I'm so glad that I now know this story. Thank you for posting this!!!!!