The author Robert Fulghum, in his best-seller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, shared with us the powerful lessons learned seated at those little desks, lessons to guide our adult lives: “Share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, don’t take things that aren’t yours, say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody…”
Sarah Barrett and William “Bill” Costigan III were kindergartners together at Akron’s King Elementary School in the 1989-1990 school year. Not surprisingly, the pair lost touch as they ventured into middle school, high school, college and adulthood.
Lots of life’s lessons later, Sarah and Bill did meet up again, quite by accident.
This sweet story reminds me of another Fulghum truism: “Life is a little weird! And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.”
“In the fall of 2007, I moved to New York City for a work assignment and was eager to meet new people and explore Manhattan,” Bill wrote. “The last thing I expected was to meet the girl of my dreams.
“On a Tuesday night in October, I went to McFadden’s with some colleagues to watch the Cleveland Indians play the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship game. Halfway through the game, a cute blonde sat down next to me. My pickup lines were definitely not provoking much a response; however, we started chatting and quickly realized that we had gone to elementary school in Akron, Ohio. It didn’t take long to discover that we had been in the same kindergarten class almost 20 years prior. In a city of 8 million we were astonished, and both immediately called our parents to share the randomness of our encounter.
“After we dated for about two years, Sarah’s mom pulled out this kindergarten photo and to our disbelief, Sarah and I were front and center next to each other. We couldn’t believe it! I’m convinced we are even holding hands, even though Sarah insists we are not,” Bill continued.
Sarah said she knows for a fact that she was not holding Bill’s hand: “I thought boys back then had the cooties, so there would have been no way I would have been holding his hand,” she said unapologetically.
Obviously she’s evolved into a different thought process, at least when it comes to Bill.
Sarah said when her mother got out that picture, “it took me about 10 minutes to figure out which one he was … I called him and asked if he had blond hair back then.” Sure enough, he was the one standing next to her.
The bride-to-be is the daughter of Dr. Eduardo and Linda Marban of Beverly Hills, Calif., and John and Kathleen Barrett of Hudson. And the groom-to-be is the son of William (Jr.) and Barb Costigan of Akron and the late Linda Costigan.
Sarah attended Hudson High School, then graduated from a suburban Baltimore school. She also graduated from Villanova University with a degree in marketing and works in licensing for BCBG apparel.
Bill is a graduate of Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. He got a degree in economics from John Carroll University and is a financial analyst with Vanguard.
Exactly five years to the week after they met, Sarah and Bill will marry on Oct. 20 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Plans for the “non-rehearsal dinner” are being fine-tuned. It’s aptly called “A Hollywood Affair … with an Akron Flair.” The invitation reads: “Icy drinks, spicy dips, crispy chips … and some really old Zips!”
The couple’s future home will be Philadelphia.
And now one final gift for Bill and Sarah, from the wisdom of Robert Fulghum they may remember from their kindergarten days and we would all do well to follow:
“And it is still true, no matter how old you are — when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org