Luke and J9: The Beginning

I watched him step out of his red and black Toyota 4 Runner. A tall, dark, and handsome man in a long black coat walked into TGI Fridays. My sidekick, Lisa, nodded her approval, and so I limped toward the entrance to meet my blind date.


Two days earlier.

I finished my evening shift waiting table at Grandma’s Pie Shop on Central Avenue. My plan was to head over to my blind date’s townhouse for a party he and his roommate were having. I had yet to meet him, so this seemed the perfect opportunity. I still lived at home with my younger sister, Michele, and my parents. At age 22, I was in that in between stage of teen and adult.

The weather turned ugly, so my father insisted on picking me up to drive the 45 minutes home. My chance to meet my blind date was thwarted by a wintry blizzard. We talked briefly and planned to meet for lunch. Two more days dragged by as I imagined what he looked like. I had enjoyed getting to know him on the phone and was excited about the possibilities.

The next morning, in typical De Tillio fashion, I broke my toe, cracked my shinbone, and ended up on crutches. I’ll spare you the gory details of how that occurred! I called my blind date. He despaired, fearing that I would once again cancel.

I explained that I would be on crutches and wearing a brown bomber jacket. Easy enough to spot. Lisa and I arrived early and watched for him in the parking lot. After I saw him walk into the restaurant, I decided to leave my crutches in the car. I needed to make some type of impression.

I opened the door and there he stood, leaning against the wall waiting for me. He was ‘the one’ with his Sam Elliott mustache, chocolate eyes, and nonchalant stance. I knew I would marry him.


We talked about soccer, motorcycles, family, and food. We had so much in common, and I couldn’t wait to see him again. As he followed me out of the restaurant, he said, “Nice limp.” His dry sense of humor has carried us through many of my klutzy escapades!

Riding the streets of Maine. We always wear protective gear now!

Our love was a whirlwind of adventures and dreams of our lives together. We married three years later.


I found my soulmate and best friend on this day 30 years ago. We have had so much joy as well as tremendous sorrow, but we have always stood side by side holding one another up.

Dancing in the Woods, 2018

Luke was warned I’d be trouble. He took a chance anyway. He’s known as the fix it guy, but I think we’ve lasted, because he has always let me be me. What more could a gal limping into TGI Friday’s ask for!

4 thoughts on “Luke and J9: The Beginning

  1. Happy Anniversary ❀️
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful beginning. I agree that that the joys and sorrows bond us so tightly together. It is a blessing to be together for so long. πŸ™πŸ˜ŠπŸŽš

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy 30th Anniversary to one of the finest, strongest, most caring couples our family knows. Your story of how you met and how you got to this day is just beautiful. You two have raised two amazing boys. Both of whom have touched both of our children’s lives and ours. Because of you two together, Nick and Stephen became fine young men. To this day, we are inspired by Nick and all he stood for and still does in his own remarkable way of still being present.
    Thank you for all you do for so many children and their families. Thank you for allowing us to carry the amazing memories we have of your Nick forever within our hearts.
    Ray, myself, Greg and Julia are blessed for having met you all of those years ago when Greg and Nick became such close friends. The smiles and positivity are forever recalled and live on.

    Many blessings to you Janine and Luke for the upcoming next 30 years. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for all your fabulous memories and sharing your children with us. I still remember Greg sitting with Nick in the hospital so you and I could go get something to eat. Miss those memories but so glad to have had them!❀️


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