Sunday, April 04, 2010

an oldie but a goodie

and tonight, it made me smile. :)

Friday November 4, 2008
No wonder my mother fell in love with my father back then during their prime Gallaudet days. I was leafing through the 1972 yearbook and came across this swim team picture, and was like, "This guy is pretty cute, and considering how it is 1972 and everybody had an afro and a beard. This one didn't." I had to check out who he was so I let my eyes drift down to the roster of the swim team underneath the picture.

My face went this: 😳 when I read the name, which matched the face:
Richard Baldi.
My jaw nearly dropped to the floor. Richard Baldi?! No way. I had to read it again, to be sure I wasn't delusional into thinking it is the same Richard Baldi? The same Ricky Baldi, the one who everybody calls Rick now? The one who I call... MY FATHER?!?! Mom, you definitely had yourself a catch.

How did my parents meet? I love the story. It was rather odd because Mom and Dad had numerous of mutual friends, and back then Gally only had up to 500 students... yet they never met or even knew each other. Until...

My mother's side of the story: 

As a little girl, my mother sensed that she would marry a New Jersey native, dreamed the guy to be Italian, and wanted someone who was hard of hearing.

After graduating from Lexington, she went straight to prep-year at Gally, which she left after a year. During that prep-year, she had the time of her life. They all were seventeen or eighteen, and definitely... *ahem* had a whole lot of fun {just wait until you sit with my mother and her friends when they reminisce on their "those college days"}. She went back home to New York City, then returned to Gallaudet as a freshman two years later. She was young, beautiful, and single. Often times, my mother would say how she and my father had the same circle of friends but she never heard of him and dated around. It was junior year when Marsha, a friend of my mother’s from her prep-year and who also accompanied with her to those “misdemeanors”, kept on telling Mom that she knew the most perfect man for her. Marsha had told her that she just had, had, had to meet him. Mom mentioned how she had rolled her eyes multiple of times when Marsha tried to convince her. Mom was the age as most of us are right now: in her early twenties and she certainly wasn’t married. Finally, Mom gave in and told her she would be willing to meet him. Besides, she claimed, she was... curious.

Even though Mom lived off-campus, Marsha managed to convince her to come to the cafeteria one definite night. She promised my mother that she'd "casually" tell this guy to meet her, pretending it was just like any other random night. I had to laugh when Mom told me this for this sounds like something me and my girls would do!
It was about 7:30pm when Mom was sitting at the table while Marsha was talking to the receptionist, helping her with the headcount. Marsha would turn, assuring my mother that the guy will show up and all she had to do was to sit there, act cool, and pretend she wasn’t waiting for anything or anyone, for that matter.

It wasn't long before Marsha saw, through the window, this Richard Baldi, age 23, walking and then entering the cafeteria. "Cool. Ricky's here! Be cool. Ricky is here." Marsha QUICKLY turned to Mom and absolutely squealed to her {obviously hoping without my father's knowledge}.

He entered the room and my mother remembers exactly what he was wearing. Tweed jacket with brown suede elbow patches, jeans, and brown Earth shoes. He also had a hair full of permed curls. Oh trust me, Daddy looked smooth.

“Ricky, THAT.” Marsha turned her back to him, and exclaimed to my mother.

My mother went, "Ahhh. Thattt?" doing that thing with her mouth when she says, “I see, I see.” (she still does that)

Marsha went to Daddy, playing dumb, brought him to my mother's table, and said, "Come here, come here. Must introduce you both. This is Suzie Berestitzky, and this is Ricky Baldi."

My father flashed his best dimpled Italian smile to her direction, and as soon as he did, my mother knew she would marry him.

It was before she had learned that he is Italian, grew up in a small town in New Jersey... and is hard-of-hearing.

My father's side of the story:

My father was twelve years old and sitting on his front porch in Haddonfield, New Jersey... he saw a car passing by with New York for a license plate. He told himself he’d marry a woman from New York.

When first attending Gallaudet, my father did not know one single sign language. Or one single person. The first person he met who could at least speak was Marsha. My father wanted a lighter for his cigarette, and Marsha had it. There, he found out Marsha could talk. He was flabbergasted going, “you… you can talk?!” From that point and on, Daddy held on her for his dear life (I’m laughing now… remembering how he’d explain this story) until he picked up signs and within a year, he could have passed for a person who knew how to sign his entire life. He learned fast.

He was dating someone else, and that girl was from New York. Apparently, it didn't matter to Marsha when she told my father to go to the cafeteria that very night to meet Marsha, and that it was mandatory. Being totally clueless, Daddy agreed to it. Boy, wasn't he in for a big surprise. So little he knew his fate was sealed that night.

When entering the cafeteria, my father saw my mother sitting on the table by herself, and Daddy said she "looked bored." However, he couldn't help but to notice how beautiful my mother's eyes were. He also saw how Marsha turned her back to him, went to my mother to say something, and then back to him saying, "Must meet my friend!"

"This is Suzie Berestitzky and this is Ricky Baldi," so she went.

My father didn't only find himself trapped by my mother's flirtatious New York eyes; he also knew he was going to marry her. 

Four years after that night at the cafeteria, my parents got married. Even though Mom and Daddy got divorced twenty years ago, Marsha is still the only mutual friend that both my parents faithfully keep in touch with.