This is a guest post from my son Vito as he reflects on his college days and how he met his wife Andrea.
It was the spring of 1986 and I was at a keg party at Ohio University. There were plenty of those back in the day but this one was different. What it made it different was this pretty blond girl – the kind of girl who would be at ease whether she was drinking beer in a pub or sipping champagne in a palace.
I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, but there was something about her. Her name was Andrea, and I fell hard. We made some small talk, but not much happened –after all it was a keg party.
Still I remember telling my buddy Mike “The Truth” Townsend that I was going to marry that girl one day. “Good plan,” Townsend said. “Just one minor complication… She has a boyfriend.”
That’s the situation for now I thought… but this is college, and maybe one day she won’t be in a relationship and then I can ask her out.
Over the next few months I would see her around because she lived in the same housing complex as my Ultimate Frisbee teammates. Yeah, Ultimate Frisbee was an actual college club sport.
With spring and Frisbee season behind me, I headed back to Cleveland for the summer. I worked at Boehm’s sheet metal company on 73rd street, hung out at Art’s place, the local Italian Club in our neighborhood, and caught up with my friends from the neighborhood. But I couldn’t get her off of my mind.
Summer melted into fall and I moved back to OU. First day back, who do I run into in the elevator of the building we both were living in? Andrea.
She said “I know you.”
“I know you, too,” I said. But this time I wasn’t as talkative since there was no keg.
Later, I asked a mutual friend about her relationship status and he thought she wasn’t seeing anybody. I told him to make sure because I didn’t want to interfere. So he came back and confirmed that she wasn’t seeing anyone.
For our first date, I asked her to go to the movies and incredibly, she said yes. We went to see ET at the Frontier Room – it was free, and they served beer. Work/Study money only went so far in those days and so I had to be creative.
We were going out for a few months when I thought it was time for Andrea to meet my family. After all I had already met her family. I will tell you, I was little nervous because as you’ve been reading on my mom’s blog – anything was possible with my family.
So we drove up to my parent’s house and everybody was there, my parents, all of my siblings and my grandmother who also lived with us. They regarded me with great skepticism. They thought I would never settle down.
My brother Guido, being Guido, kept calling her Adrian. My dad asked if she needed glasses. My mother and grandmother were gracious and warm, offering food, drinks and so on. My younger siblings were out doing their thing with their friends but not before stopping by to check out the “girlfriend.”
All in all, the weekend was a success. There weren’t too many embarrassing stories about me, and Andrea was not trying to flee in the middle of the night.
Then Sunday morning came around and it was time for church. As we got up to go to Mass Andrea sat at the kitchen table looking pretty relaxed and wondering where we were all going off to?
My brother Guido asks, “Aren’t’ you going to Mass?”
Andrea said, “No, I’m not Catholic, I’m Methodist.”
Everything just stopped, it got so quite in the kitchen you could hear the clock ticketing on the wall.
I thought uh oh, here we go. I was the first in the family to bring home a girlfriend that was not Catholic, and that was a big step – or so I thought.
But leave it to my grandmother, in her infinite wisdom, to find an answer – “That’s okay,” she said. “Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, we all play for the same coach.”
Amen I thought.
We went to church and Andrea stayed home with our dog Pete. That was over 30 years ago. It wasn’t long after that that the pretty blond became my beautiful wife. Oh and one more thing….we got married in the Methodist church. Amen.