I met Barbara Eugenia Plociennik on a ski trip of the Boston College Ski Club to what was known as “Killington Basin”, Vermont in 1963. I had graduated the BC School of Social and she was finishing her master’s degree in Education. It was St. Patrick’s Day weekend…we didn’t chat much on those first two days; I played may accordion and the Clubbers danced. I skied, having learned from Don Labrake (SMC ’55). On Sunday, we all went to Holy Mass in Rutland, Vermont…returned for breakfast at the lodge at which we stayed. We all sat at a long table, Barbara sat at one, I at the other end. We all chatted on some topic or another, as it continued Barbara and I began taking disparate views. I remember that as we disagreed, the others’ heads would turn to Barbara and then to me…as watching a tennis match!
Before we left for Boston and Boston College, I took one last ski run. Afterwards I saw Barbara in the ski lodge, and asked her if I called on her would she go out to dinner with me. She thought I was giving her a line. Before I called on her, she wrote me a note, in French, inviting me to her home for an after-ski party at her home in a Boston suburb. I responded, “Yes” — in French (I had taken French in college at SMC). I saw her a few times at other social events in Boston, finally we dated…our first date was with a priest friend of mine and his mother; we went to Easter midnight Mass my priest friend said the Mass.
Unbeknownst to me (I found out much later), she invited her close friends to that party at her home to “vet” me. including her parents and asked her aunts on the Sheridan and Plociennik family side to pray a novena to St. Teresa that I be “the one”. Well, on that first date, I gave her a long stemmed rose which I had laid across the front seat of my car. As we know, receiving a rose after praying to St. Teresa and an intention was fulfilled, the one who made that intention, receives a gift of roses. Barbara thought as she told me later on, “this guy doesn’t have a chance”!
We dated, we got formerly engaged by a Jesuit priest friend at the chapel at the Jesuit seminary at Weston, Massachusetts. and were married. Timeline: we met in March of 1963, were engaged in August of 1963, and married in February of 1964. we have four children all of whom are happily married. (I am writing this love story on what would have been our 54th wedding anniversary).
In 2004, Barbara was diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer’s. As a family, our love was solidified with their full support for all the years of her illness until her death in July of 2016 at St. Elizabeth’s Manor in Bristol, Rhode Island. At the Mass of Christian Burial, we celebrated her life, as one of giving and loving all of us, and her “children” as an Elementary School guidance counselor. We were all at her bedside when she died — talking, remembering, singing, and carrying on as our love became stronger.
Barbara and I fell in love, loved each other, loved our children and our children continue that love.