Later in Love: Love Was in the Cards

Later in Love

Photo: Courtesy of Elaine Mendicino

Neither Elaine, 72, nor Fiore Mendicino, 67, both of Oshawa, had any interest in going on a blind date. But his daughters, and Elaine’s esthetician, all felt deep down it was meant to be.

Elaine Mendicino: I’m a retired nurse. My husband died suddenly in 2011 after 39 years of marriage.

Fiore Mendicino: I was born in Italy, immigrated at three, grew up in Oshawa and worked at General Motors. I have four girls from my first marriage, which ended in divorce. 

EM: Two of his daughters were clients – and friends – of my esthetician, Arezou. She’s Iranian and is said to have a third eye. One day she said, “I have these friends and they have this father …” She told me he’s retired and likes golf. I pictured some old guy and immediately said no. 

FM: I’d been single for about three years and was feeling just fine. My daughters invited me to a barbecue and sprung a set-up on me. I pictured a goody-two-shoes nurse. We had a heated discussion, during which I said I liked my life the way it was, and  left. 

EM: Arezou made me promise to think about it, which I said I would over this river cruise I was taking, but I didn’t. I had his phone number scribbled on a piece of paper in my junk door in the kitchen. One day I found it and thought, like the Nike logo, just do it. I talked to old people for a living, so I knew I could do it. 

FM: I’m younger than her, by the way. I’ll turn 68 in November.  

EM: I didn’t know why, but I hadn’t been so nervous since I wrote my RNs. It was just so surreal. I hadn’t dated in 40 years, and I wasn’t even legal drinking age when I got married at 20. Just the thought of it felt so weird, but I did it anyway. I called on a Tuesday night and interrupted the hockey game.

FM: She was an unidentified caller, so I almost didn’t answer. She introduced herself, and we started talking. I don’t remember about what, and before I knew it, it had been an hour and a half. 

EM: I mostly remember laughing. 

FM: It was just so easy. We had a lot of weird little things in common. Our mothers had the same birthday – April Fool’s Day. We have the same rare blood type. I don’t believe in that third eye stuff, but sometimes it was almost eerie. 

EM: We met in person for dinner that weekend. We picked a small restaurant so we wouldn’t look silly looking for each other. We told each other what we were gonna wear and we had the blind date after all. I was a nervous wreck, but he was so easy to talk to. 

FM: I’m always early and she was late, but she brought me three homemade cookies. And she brought Tupperware for leftovers. I’m trying to be funny here because she was just wonderful. I don’t know if I ever thanked my daughters, but I should because they were right.

EM: He moved in soon and we got married a year later. A year exactly from the day we met. It was small and very casual: mostly family, wear whatever, no gifts. But Arezou, who was a witness and my bridesmaid, had already got us one: a bright blue ceramic third eye. It’s been hanging by our front door ever since. 

As told to Rosemary Counter

Have you had another chance at love? Zoomer wants to hear from you! Send your story and contact information to [email protected] to possibly be featured in the magazine.

A version this article appeared in the Aug/Sept 2023 issue with the headline ‘Later in Love’, p. 30.


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