By Tom Blake
In the summer of 1988 while surfing at Doheny State Beach, I met a guy named Alex Rentziperis.
Between waves as we chatted, I asked, “What kind of work do you do?”
Alex said, “I’m a barber. And, in a few months, I’m going to open my own barbershop not too far from here in Dana Point. How about you?”
I said, “I’m going to open my own deli, also not too far from here in Dana Point.”
That was the start of a friendship that has lasted for 30 years. Later that year, Alex opened the Sports Barber at the corner of Del Prado and Golden Lantern, above where StillWater Spirits & Sounds restaurant is now located.
In December 1988, I opened Tutor and Spunky’s Deli on Pacific Coast Highway, next to the Dana Point Donut Shop across from Rubens Imports.
Since 1988, we’ve done a lot together. Most notably, after my divorce in 1994 and after putting up with some unsavory roommates, I finally was going to get to live alone in my Monarch Beach home. That was before the phone rang. It was Alex calling from his San Juan Capistrano home.
“Toot,” he said, which was the nickname he had given me, “I’m getting a divorce. She asked me to leave. Got a spare bedroom for a short time?”
So, Alex moved in. Turned out to last for about a year. He often repeated vehemently that he would never marry again.
We took many camping trips to the Sierras together. I can still picture him standing on a huge rock, trying to master fly-fishing, casting into the icy waters of Lake Mary. He got a little too far forward on one cast and did a belly flop right into the lake. I told him he’d never make the Olympic team as a diver.
Alex’s passion is ocean fishing. He has a boat and is out on the water once or twice a week. He taught me how to catch sea bass near the kelp beds. He’s featured on the cover of Western Outdoor News, the largest weekly fishing and hunting magazine in the country.
Four years ago, Alex attended an age 55-plus singles meet-and-greet event at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli. Alex’s sister, Faye Dalton, encouraged a recently divorced client of hers named Carolyn Young to attend the same event to meet her brother. I remember that night. Carolyn and Alex seemed enamored with each other. They’ve been a couple ever since.
On April 21, with many members of Alex’s big Greek family and members of Carolyn’s family in attendance, Alex and Carolyn were married in the backyard of Faye and Doug Dalton’s San Clemente home. Mark Rentziperis, Alex’s brother, was the best man.
Christine DiGiacomo, a San Clemente resident, whose business card reads, “Pastor Woman…for such a time as this,” (www.pastorwoman.com), married Alex and Carolyn. Christine and Carolyn have known each other for years. I heard many of the guests compliment Christine on the beautiful, unique ceremony she performed.
My partner Greta said, “This is the finest wedding I’ve ever attended.”
To conclude the ceremony, Pastor DiGiacomo added an unusual touch: Instead of the traditional “You may kiss the bride,” she turned to Carolyn and said, “You may kiss your new husband.” Very cool.
Alex still owns and works at the Sports Barber. Carolyn works at a local bank. They live in Dana Point. Good to see an age 55-plus wedding so hip and fun.
Goes to show. Even though you’re over age 55, you never know when or where love might come along; it might even happen at a singles function at your local deli.
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his websites www.findingloveafter50.com; www.vicsta.com and www.travelafter55.com. To receive Tom’s weekly online newsletter, sign up at www.findingloveafter50.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.