To be a successful love story, it has to have a happy ending, no matter how long it takes. Throughout history, contained in novels, and scripted in Hollywood movies, a romantic love story must have twists and turns and unforeseen circumstances and irony. A love story sometimes has strong conflict. Shakespeare said, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” Bill knew a thing or two about love.
Sometimes true love is separated by distance, by absence, or by time. There once was a young man who was a big fan of Joe DiMaggio, so he began collecting photos and newspaper stories of his favorite baseball player and putting them in a large scrapbook. A few years later he started a new collection of memorabilia at the other end of his scrapbook for his favorite actress, Marilyn Monroe.
Within time, the plot thickened — or in this case the scrapbook thickened. It became full as the stories and photos of Joe DiMaggio and the stories and photos of Marilyn Monroe met at the center of his scrapbook. It was around the same time that these two celebrities met and fell in love and this scrapbook took the form of a real life love story of its own.
Though as Shakespeare described true love, Joe and Marilyn’s love never did run smooth, but DiMaggio’s dying last words were, “now I can be with Marilyn.” How often does one find true love in a lifetime? Once? Twice? Maybe never. The infrequency of it causes the human soul to yearn for it and treasure it when it occurs.
The theme of improbable romance and marriage has a local story in Trenton’s Daniel Cadigan and Terri Shiebold. The origins of this relationship began with Danny’s mom, Lena Dibiasi, and Terri’s mom, Norma Beech — classmates and 1950 graduates of Lincoln Park High School. Unbeknownst to them, their lives would parallel as they would both soon marry and within three years they and their husbands would move to Trenton — specifically the Owen school district. It is at Owen Elementary School where our love story begins.
Interestingly, the Cadigans moved to Newman Drive, where young Danny watched across the street and saw the complete construction from the ground up of this state of the art grade school. Young Danny saw a pretty little dark haired girl in class named Terri Shiebold and never stopped admiring her for the way she printed her letters. She was the best in class, and he still remembers her breaking her lead printing the letter “E” — noting little things about an individual are an indication of admiration.
Danny and Terri had Mrs. Sietec for kindergarten and Mrs. Doyle for first grade, but were never in another class together again at Owen. In fact, they went to Slocum Junior High and Trenton High the same years and were never in the same classroom. Dan would see Terri in the office at Owen when Terri was an assistant to the principal’s secretary, Mrs. Duley. Occasionally Danny would have to see Mr. Wendt, the principal, when he misbehaved (hey, we all had to visit the principal from time to time).
They would graduate from Trenton High in 1972, go their separate ways, get married, raise families and get divorced. The decades flew by — the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and these two never had any meaningful contact. Then, in March 2016, Danny found Terri on social media and contacted her, and after a bit of cajoling he managed to take her out to dinner. The chemistry was present and Terri was in love. In a few short weeks and like an old-time movie they made plans to wed. The wedding was set for Oct. 16, 2016, at (where else) the top of the bridge at Elizabeth Park, by Riverside Drive.
The next decision was choosing the wedding party. Danny’s choice as best man was Vince D’Alosio, a longtime friend who had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Danny shared his short months of engagement to Terri with Vince, spending hours and days at Vince’s house, hoping for Vince to attend; it was an honor for both men. Danny was with Vince until the moment he died, a bittersweet part of this romantic story. Vince and Dan were true friends.
Another mutual childhood friend, Tom Summers, who also frequently spent time visiting Vince during his illness, was now the appropriate choice for best man. Terri’s maid of honor was her lifelong friend Donna Seneski, a nurse residing in Florida. All four of Terri and Danny’s elderly parents would attend the wedding, and Terri’s parents would be on the same flight as Donna Seneski from Florida to Michigan.
The wedding day came, and wouldn’t you know it? It rained. An invitation came from Pastor Heidi Reinker at First United Methodist Church on West Jefferson, and the wedding was moved from Elizabeth Park to indoors. The wedding was officiated by Pastor Chuck Holt, and had more than 230 attendees — the largest wedding in memory. The reception was held at TV’s Grand Event.
Little did Terri’s and Danny’s moms know in 1950 waiting in line for their diplomas at Lincoln Park High that they would be in line in 2016 to celebrate their daughter and son’s wedding. Equally ironic that Danny Cadigan, in first grade, so mesmerized at Terri’s printing, would see Terri writing Mrs. Cadigan at the bottom of his checks … and they lived happily ever after.
Tony Mazzella welcomes readers to friend him on Facebook, where he frequently shares recollections about some of the interesting people and businesses in Trenton’s past.