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Love, Love, Love

Three “Meet Cute” Stories to Warm Your Heart



Mark Shallin and Rita Thomas

What’s your “meet cute?” Did you both order caramel macchiatos at Starbucks? Bump into each other on a crowded subway train? Or maybe sparks flew when you met, hiking the Appalachian Trail? The term “meet cute” dates back to the early 1940s and was insider shorthand for the scene in a film where future couples meet for the first time in a manner that is deemed funny, unusual, or utterly charming. We asked Wiltonians to send us their meet cute stories in time to share for Valentine’s Day. 

Rita Thomas & Mark Shallin
(Pictured on the left)

“Thirty years ago we worked together at Caldor’s on Route 7 (now WalMart). I thought Mark was the most adorable 19-year-old I’d ever seen. I carved my first name and his last into the side panel of my cash register. only to be caught and reprimanded by my manager.

“I didn’t fit into the blond-haired, blue-eyed community that Wilton was back then. I was an awkward 17-year-old who found it hard to look at a boy. But I always remembered the flutter in my heart as Mark would walk by me and smile. He could have had his pick of the girls in town, but he asked me to play tennis. (I showed up at the Wilton courts wearing my jeans, not understanding the wardrobe protocol in an affluent community.) But then Mark disappeared without any warning and my imaginary love affair ended abruptly.

“Thirty years later, after a very rocky marriage ended in divorce, my daughter said, ‘Mom, you’d love Facebook. Let’s open an account.’ Mark was my first friend request. I messaged him to see if he could possibly remember this insecure girl he’d worked with at Caldor. He responded, ‘Of course I remember you. You were adorable.’

“That was the beginning of my fairytale. After a long-distance relationship, Mark left Laguna Beach, California, and returned to Wilton. We’ve been together for four years. He rescued me and I know I rescued him right back.”

Hellen Quach & Chris Previte

“Our first date was my junior prom 29 years ago. We met at a party when a friend of mine went up to a nice-looking boy and said, ‘My friend needs a date for prom. Her date backed out because he has a game.’ To our surprise, Chris said yes. I didn’t really think he would, but he agreed and we met the following day to discuss the details. We attended the prom as friends and had a great time. That’s all I thought it was going to be. But afterwards, he called to ask me out but got my father on the phone instead. He told Chris, ‘She’s in China!’ 

“I am Chinese and was raised in a very strict and traditional household, which meant no dating until you were ready to get married, and no marriage until after college. Chris showed up at my parents’ laundromat in Stamford and I happened to be working that day. We started dating and my parents were not happy. They barely acknowledged him. We continued to see each other when I went away to college. Even after we got engaged, my parents tried to set me up with the son of their close friends. Chris’s mom wasn’t too thrilled with our romance either. She is old-school Italian and had something different in mind for her son. But Chris and I loved each other. In 1995 we got married. Now we have two great kids, Hana (17) and Tyler (14). And our parents? Now both families adore us.”

Mandi Boehly & Bill Schmauch 

“Bill and I met on a blind date. I was a 25-year-old Upper East Side girl living beyond my means in Manhattan. I was a serial blind dater and had met a lot of crazies. But then I met Bill. He arrived in front of my swanky doorman building in a big red truck, and it was intrigue at first sight. I still have the note my roommate left me wishing me luck with my potential Prince Charming. And Prince Charming he was! We went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant, had way too many glasses of wine and giggled the night away. Five days later was September 11th. I really think we bonded more quickly during that awful, tragic time. 

“My ‘Sweet William’ was, and is, my rock. He’s my best friend. I am so lucky that after a ton of bad blind dates I found such a gem. We’ve been married for ten years, have been living in Wilton since 2008, and now have a son Tanner (8) and a daughter Liesel (6).”

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