Brownie Points, and So Much More
Betsy (Tracy) Keller '84 and Charles Keller '85
Ours is a good one! My husband and I met during my junior year, his sophmore year, at DeSales University. Frau Ellis--the German professor--hosted a Christmas party at her house, and Chas and I both went to the party because we were not doing particularly well in our respective German classes (brownie points!). I arrived in a friend's Camaro, and when we got to Frau Ellis's home, there was a nice Barracuda blocking the driveway.
My friend and I went in to find out who's car it was, and it belonged to Chas. I told him how much I liked his car, and he thought it was neat that someone riding in a Camaro liked his car.
As the night continued, a seminarian brought out a guitar and started playing and singing. It was awful! I asked if I could have to guitar to play some rock and roll. Chas sat right in front of me, bobbing his head to the music.
The night after the party, Chas showed up at my dorm. I thought he was there to see me, but he was actually there to visit another girl who liked him. Still, he ended up hanging out with me and my roommate the whole time.
The next day was the start of Christmas break. Chas came by to help my father and me load up suitcases, and I headed home to Maryland. While on break, I received a card from Chas that said "From Across the Miles" on the front, and on the inside he wrote--"I know I've only known you for about 24 hours, but I really like you and I would like to go out with you. Give me a call if you want to go out." He then listed activities he enjoyed and asked me to pick one from that list--we could make that our first date.
Chas and I dated through the second half of my junior year and all through my senior year. Two months after I graduated, he proposed.
We have been married for 22 years, we have two children, and I still spend a lot of time at DeSales University during sporting events (especially volleyball).
A Case of Mistaken Identity
Patty (Bannon) Brockett '85 and Tom Brockett '86
I guess you could call our story fateful--Tom and I are from different states (Connecticut and New York, respectively), and I was a year ahead of him. We did not know each other, but we applied to the same three colleges and both ended up at DeSales. Yes, I think it's fate.
On the first day of class in my junior year, I was looking for "Amore," Dr. Amore, that is. I had a psychology class with him. Funny that I should walk into Tom's business class and have him point out that I was in the wrong classroom. I remember our eyes meeting for a second, and I also remember thinking, "What a jerk," because he was such a smart aleck when he redirected me. But I did remember him!
I saw Tom around campus a few times, mostly from the windows as he walked by the dorms or from the other side of the cafeteria. He always seemed to ignore me, so I figured the little spark I thought I noticed was my imagination. (I found out later that he couldn't see past a few feet in front of him because he wouldn't wear glasses. He wasn't ignoring me, he was just vain!)
Then in December 1983, while a bunch of us were studying for exams in the library, Tom and I crossed paths again. We were in the small room on the second floor and were both with our friends, who, of course, were not studying. Tom and I were studying--sort of. I thought it was getting too loud, and decided that I could use some of the hot chocolate and donuts they were serving in the commons. I looked up and found Tom watching me. Now this part is corny, but true. It was like there was no one but us in that noisy room. We both got up and I guess a few of our friends decided to do the same thing, because we all went for hot chocolate as a large group. I remember having a short conversation with him, but mostly I remember the eye contact ( I guess it was a good thing he didn't wear those glasses all the time!)
After the Christmas break, I was over on Tom's floor with one of his wingmates and my friends before a dance and I saw Tom was in the room so we started talking. Now, usually the guys come up with winning lines to grab a lady's attention (or turn them off), but I guess it was fate that I should do it because I found myself saying something lame.
"You know, you sound like someone famous," I told him.
Little did I know that he had told anyone who would listen that he had been mistaken for The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, recently in New Haven. So he automatically assumed I meant Gretzky (even though I didn't know who the heck he was a the time.) I guess I endeared myself to Tom, because we ended up kissing shortly after that. We went to the dance and have been together ever since.
That was January 20, 1984. We have been married for 19 years. I guess I have to thank Wayne Gretzky for his fame at the time. Tom thought he was a dead ringer for him, and over the years I have humored him. But you'll recall I said Tom sounded like someone famous. I still am not quite sure who I meant, but I think it was probably someone more like Rocky--kind of slow speaking, deep voiced, and sexy. And anyone who was at our wedding remembers the song we entered to at the reception. It wasn't the Canadian National Anthem in honor of The Great One. It was the theme from Rocky. Now the truth is out, Tom!
It Takes a Little Time, Sometimes
Candace (Valentine) DePaola '99 and Vincent DePaola Jr. '99
In September 1995, I was introduced to a young man named Vinny and my life was never the same. It was the beginning of the school year and we were visiting rooms across the hall from each other in Comny Hall. We were introduced, but I thought nothing much of it and went on with my day. We were both starting out as freshmen. I was a city girl with lots of rings and a slight slang and attitude, and Vinny was a suburban guy who wore khaki shorts and had a shy demeanor. From that day on, Vinny visited me often in my dorm room, usually sitting on my top bunk bed while I did school work.
Vinny did eventually ask me to go out with him, but I declined because I thought I was not interested. Shortly after this, I got word that Vinny was dating someone else. It wasn't until then that I realized I had feelings for him. After letting him know this, he decided to date me and let the other girl down easy. Vinny and I dated for about a year. We were always together on campus between classes or in the cafeteria, and we even made trips home together. He introduced me to the world outside of the city, and I showed him the city life.
Vinny and I had our ups and downs, as every relationship does, but after about a year, we realized that our worlds at that time in our lives were simply to different to come together. We decided to just be friends.
At first that was a hard change to get used to, but Vinny and I eventually became inseparable. We did everything together, including family events, vacations, and even the senior dance at DeSales. No one believed that we were just friends, but that is what we were, and that is what we stayed for the next several years. We graduated, got our own apartments and jobs, and continued to be close friends.
It wasn't until four years ago, after seven years of growing and bonding, that our feelings began to change. We were older, more mature, and we knew what we wanted. In July 2003, Vinny and I became engaged. Every family member and friend that we had told us they knew we would be together again.
One year later, we married. We are now not only husband and wife, but best friends. In 2004, we became parents to a beautiful daughter, Julianna. Who knows, maybe one day our children will also meet their future husband or wife at DeSales University.
A Different Vocation
Kathie (Hall) McGonigal '87 and Joseph McGonigal '87
Joe and I met the spring of my freshmen year, 1984, at the school-sponsored retreat. I asked Br. McGrath who that nice young man was who was helping Pat Ciccarelli. He said it was "Fluff," like I should have known who Fluff was. He turned out to be a sophomore at the seminary. It was a year before I knew that his real name was Joe.
I didn't see Joe again until my junior year when he returned from the novitiate. As luck had it, Br. Larry Shannon, Joe, and I took Fr. Bernie Donahue's integrating semester course Geopolitics. During that semester we became friends. Our friendship continued through the summer as we corresponded--he with tales of life at Camp Brisson, and me with stories of working at a nursing home and waitressing at a local diner. Our very plutonic relationship continued into the fall, although Joe's mom will tell you that she knew something was up when an Oblate van full of men and one lone woman traveled to New Jersey for a McGonigal birthday party the first weekend of September. Honestly, it was just coincidence.
As an Oblate, Joe's ministry senior year was to assist with a youth group at a local parish. He thought it would be a great idea if the group was also exposed to a college girl's view. He asked his formation director, Fr. Joe DiMauro, OSFS, who readily agreed.
Joe is a better man for his years with the Oblates, and his decision to leave was not an easy one. He left the order Thanksgiving weekend of our senior year, and the following weekend, he was my escort for homecoming. I don't know who was more surprised when we were named king and queen--myself or the announcer and president, Fr. Daniel Gambet, OSFS. We were engaged in June 1987, a month after our graduation.
Joe and I now have two children, Paul, 18, and Colleen, 16, and we recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.