A Chance Encounter At Love, 35 Years Later

On our wedding day in August 1988, with Maid of Honor Cathy DeSalvo, Best Man Kimberly D. Lane, Ring Bearer Daniel DeSalvo and Flower Girl Julie English.

By Ed Wendell | projectwoodhaven@gmail.com

It was 35 years ago this month that my wife and I walked down the aisle at St. Thomas the Apostle, vowing to remain together forever and ever. Time has passed by so quickly that it’s hard to fathom that it was that long ago.

Long before I got married, I worked behind the counter at Phil’s Cheese and Cold Cuts, right next door to Jason’s Toy Store. I was about 16 at the time and this young lady came in and asked for a pound of liverwurst, with wax paper between each slice.

People asked for wax paper so the liverwurst wouldn’t stick together, making it difficult to use. But since it took extra time and since I had the patience of a 16-year old, I just sliced the liverwurst and said ‘the heck with the wax paper.’

Well, about twenty minutes later, Phil’s phone rang and shortly afterwards I was called into the back kitchen. The Liverwurst Girl’s mother was in a rage. Phil made me slice another pound and deliver it personally and took the cost of the liverwurst out of my pay.

I would have been quite happy if I never saw The Liverwurst Girl again. As an aside, later on I found out that the liverwurst with the paper in between was actually for their dog.

Phil’s Cheese and Cold Cuts closed for good about 15 years ago, but it is remembered by many residents of Woodhaven.

A few years later, in 1984, I was a young man in my first year of college. I was now driving, had my own car (a green 1967 Mercury Montego).

One day, I found a parking spot in front of my house, but couldn’t get the car to go into reverse; the transmission had gone. I drove around for a while looking for a spot I could just pull into without having to go into backwards.

I finally found a spot I could drive into just a few blocks away. I returned to the car the next day and looked under the hood. I put in some transmission fluid; I put in more oil, more windshield washer, etc. Basically, I did all the things that people who know nothing about cars do when something’s wrong.

I slammed the hood down and went home, totally discouraged. Nothing good was coming of this day, or so I thought. It turns out that I had parked my car in front of The Liverwurst Girl’s house.

In my frustration, I left my dipstick out and The Liverwurst Girl grabbed ahold of it. The next day she gave it back to me and we both saw stars. You ever see those scenes in cartoons where people fall in love and their eyes turn into hearts? That was us.

A few days later we went on our first date, to see Purple Rain, starring Prince. It was August 31st, 1984. And at the end of August four years later, The Liverwurst Girl and I made it official at St. Thomas, followed up with a reception at Le Cordon Bleu.

It was lucky that my car broke down where it did. It was towed away a few days later. My wife Josephine still has the dipstick, though. She never let go of that.

My wife Josephine with the dipstick that led to our meeting in August of 1984.

It’s hard to believe that the years have passed by so quickly. 35 years can pass by as quickly as a two-week vacation and in the meantime, your life can change immensely. On the eve of our anniversary, we brought out the old wedding album and looked back on that day so long ago.

We were 24 and 25 years old that day and surrounded by so many members of our family who are no longer with us. We’re older and slower these days, older now than our elders were on the day we got married.

Words of advice to any young readers out there – don’t squander any of it, don’t waste a single day. Because it will pass just as quickly for you as it did for everyone else that came before you.

The older you get, anniversaries and birthdays are subtle reminders that we have more days behind us than up ahead, and we better make every one of them count. And make sure when you get to our age, the memories you have to look back on are happy ones. This way, when you say Happy Anniversary to each other, you’ll really mean it.