Barbara Steinour didn’t date after her divorce.
She had no interest, no desire to marry again, but nine years ago, she graciously accepted an invitation for a blind date.
A mutual friend wanted Barbara, the mother of three, to meet Scott Klovensky, so they emailed each other first, sent photos and chose Panera Bread in Hanover for their date.
“I thought OK, I’ll go for 15 minutes. Then, two hours later, I had to pick up the kids from school. It was pretty awesome,” Barbara said.
Scott, also divorced, knew right away.
“It was different than the hundreds of dates I was on before,” he said, and as he told the story, they both laughed at the word “hundreds.” “No, I wouldn’t say hundreds. I’d say the last two or three.”
They moved in together – in Scott’s home in Wellsville – after about seven years together. The idea of marriage had come up, but Scott wasn’t moving quickly.
Two summers ago, they were in a Cape May, N.J., restaurant with Barbara’s brother and sister-in-law to celebrate Barbara’s birthday. Scott pulled a “chintzy” ring out of his pocket and showed it to Barbara.
She said to her always-joking boyfriend, “Very funny.”
He then pulled out a real engagement ring and said, “Will this do?”
Her response: “Are you kidding me? You better not be kidding me.” Then, when she knew he was serious, she said yes.
But the wedding went on the back burner as life wrapped them up in day in and out details. Scott works for the Pennsylvania State Police, and on the side, he drag races cars and works at the Mason Dixon Dragway in Boonsboro, Maryland, on the weekends. Also busy, Barbara has three adult children and a full-time job working for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit as a teacher’s assistant in a classroom for children with autism.
Now and then, the subject of a wedding would arise: “Are we gonna do this?” one of them would ask. Until finally this spring, Barbara said it was time.
“Barb was getting a little antsy,” Scott said.
Their only living parent – Carol Klovensky – is in the memory care support unit of Country Meadows of York because she has dementia. How much longer will she be able to participate fully in their marriage, they wondered.
So Barbara called Country Meadows’ Trolley Road campus in West Manchester Township. She didn’t want to ask the retirement community to step outside of its obligations to patients during the coronavirus pandemic, so Barbara asked if the ceremony could be held across the street. Then, could they perch Scott’s mother under a tree to watch from across the road.
Carol had loved Barbara all these years, Scott said. His mother wanted to see them marry.
Instead of agreeing to that arrangement, Country Meadows’ staff invited Barbara and Scott to have their ceremony safely on the back patio of the retirement home. The home’s chaplain, Michael Fischer, would officiate.
And that’s what they did. The date Country Meadows offered was Sunday, Aug. 2, Barbara’s birthday – the very day two years earlier that Scott had proposed to her.
The staff created a sign with flowers, prepared a fruit tray, and bought balloons to decorate.
Weddings and birthdays have happened before on the grounds. Even during the pandemic, Country Meadows arranged a virtual 93rd birthday party for a resident, as the family toasted her with tea – her favorite – on a Zoom call rather than in person, said Crystal Friend, executive director of Country Meadows’ Trolley Road campus.
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For the Klovensky wedding, Barbara’s three children joined: Nicholas, 25, Karissa, 21, and Alex Rusinko, 20.
“We consider the children our children because he’s been in the picture long enough that he’s helped raise those kids,” Barbara said.
Barbara’s two sisters, brother, sister-in-law and best friend of 40 years attended, all masked and distanced. Sitting in a wheelchair behind her son, dressed up by Country Meadows’ staff with makeup and mask, was Scott’s 83-year-old mother, Carol.
The ceremony was simple, short, and blessed with sunshine. “Perfect,” according to Barbara. No reception during this pandemic and no honeymoon … yet.
Instead, Mr. and Mrs. Klovensky went home for a spicy shrimp dinner to celebrate.
“It came together better than we both expected,” Scott said. “That’s just the lord doing his work, sending his love on down to us.”
Kim Strong can be reached at email@example.com.