A Love Story in Their Own Words: Wedding at The Briarcliff Manor

The Love Story

In Josephine’s Words

Looking back, by the end of 2009, I had gone through one of the worst economic downturns and I was ready to get out. However, it wouldn’t be for a few more years as I endured the hardships that were brought on as a small business owner.  I finally sold my business in September 2004. I was ready to make a change. It’s funny, as I looked back, the first thing I did was not to go out and seek out a new social life but rather an inner retreat back to who I missed the most… ME. 

I think I slept for weeks and then I stepped out of the humdrum of my life and began a slow recollection on what made me feel better. I changed all the fast-paced maneuvers I was used to as a businesswoman and started to look inwards. I began journaling what my life had become in the last 10 years and I did some soul searching as I realized that being single and alone should be one of the first things that would need a change. I longed to find love again, but it wasn’t as if I could just go to a store and buy some.

Then there is your family and friends, as they are the first to try to pawn you off – they advertise you like furniture at a garage sale. They say nice things about you like “Trust me, she’s really nice,” “Believe me, she’s a beautiful woman,” “Oh and you should meet her.” But I don’t do well with being advertised as goods, so after much thought, I decided that online dating was worth a shot. 

Quietly, without any announcements, I took a chance and joined In the beginning it felt surreal and kind of strange to be looking for a possible mate on the web. My emotions were unabated, nor did it help that I was not very positive or held a belief that indeed, the internet is where I would find that special one. When you are in the later season of your life, you become a bit skeptical. However, my curiosity got the best of me as I went into investigation mode and looked up the profile of a perfect stranger that had added me to his watch list. 

At first, I felt a little disappointed that he had not contacted me to say hi, but had just opted for a look into my personal profile. I guess he might have felt the way I  did. But it was reassuring that I did in fact wind up on his list of possibilities. It began to feel reassuring. 

But it would be me to get this engine started. I developed the courage and I reached out first. My email was short and sweet – “Hi, I would like to know more about you.” I wasn’t expecting for him to respond, but to my surprise, I got an email the next day asking, “What else would you like to know?”
I was astonished for two reasons – 1) I realized that he had responded and 2) What did I really want to know? The fact was clear and his profile said it all. He described himself just as he is. I was touched by his sincere and kind words. The one thing that was the most profound was the fact that he was looking for a friend but open to romance, and if the right person would come along, he would be ready to give that special one the world if anything were to happen romantically. 
Prior to finding Pen, I immediately began to lose hope, as I found myself reading profiles that were focused more on appearance and came across as superficial. Pen didn’t claim any of that. he came across clear to his intentions, true to who he was – a simple, respectful, and kind man from a middle class upbringing, a man who had a heart of gold. 
On our first date, it was evident as I felt that special connection, I knew immediately, we were meant to be together. After dinner, we ended up spending 4 hours just talking. Two people trying to figure out if this had possibility. Pen, as everyone knows is one of the most talented people in his field. But he is so much more than that. He’s truly one of a kind – a great humanitarian, a wonderful father who adores his children, he cares deeply about life and the people he loves. Pen cares about the entire planet! His cool sense of humor is beyond limits, just like his intellect. On that first date, I had been given a chance. I would have stayed and talked to him endlessly. I went home that night and found myself skipping up the stairs to my apartment. He made me feel rejuvenated. I immediately texted and thanked him for a wonderful evening. I knew right then and there I was hooked on Leroy Leon Pendarvis!

Marriage was not the first thing on my mind. I was merely looking for a longterm, respectful relationship. In one of our first conversations, I remember the words we used. We came up with a saying “Long Term, Last Term.” I made a t-shirt for Pen with our special saying, which he wore all during our first Summer together. Marriage was in our destiny and after three blessed years together we were ready.

I am Catholic and he is Baptist. We are both religious and have a strong faith in God and the Universe. He is an important part of our daily lives. Pen and I strongly both believe that it was His divine power and Love that delivered us and brought us together. Our commitment still remain the same as it did when we agreed in the beginning in the loving promise that our union would be one of “Long Term, Last Term.”

Our love has grown deeper with each passing day and marriage is just another way of affirming our love for each other in front of our loved ones. Today, I am beyond just words, as I stand here, to become his wife.


In Pen’s Words

I’d been single for probably about 5 years, and felt that I was ready to seriously date again. In hindsight, there was always someone trying to put me together with an acquaintance or a friend.

As I reflected, did it really matter how I would go on to meet a new friend, partner, or even someone that could be so much more? Did it matter whether I met someone through a friend or even at a supermarket? I really began to look to the internet for finding a love interest, or just a companion. Choosing to go on the web was just another forum… a modern day forum.

And so there is where we met, online via Match. Jo actually initiated the contact, basically asking if I would tell her more about myself, to which I responded, “What would you want to know?”

I found Jo’s communications “classy,” and though brief, it was well thought out. She seemed pretty sincere, without hype, I invited her to go out to dinner. And after we met in person, much to my delight, on our first date, I was impressed with the comfort and ease we had communicating. 

I sometimes have the tendency to dominate conversations, but this was very different. This was not the case. What stood out was her delightful sense of humor, which was one of my requisites for a partner. Jo has a heart of gold, is very supportive, honest, caring, and sincere. Virtually everyone who meets her is impressed with those qualities. She and I are very similar in some respects, and obviously different in others. There are more times than not where we are finishing and starting each other’s thoughts. 

I believe we complement each other – what one lacks, the other has. It’s like two halves making one whole. It wasn’t long till I realized that there was something different going on. Particularly in the early stages of dating. Especially when we found ourselves going to each other’s doctor appointments. I began to realize how easy we were with one another as we began to comfortably share intimate details about each other and THAT was another attraction for me. We quickly became more than friends – it was a big component of our relationship.

I asked myself the question, “Where do we go from here?” And it became clear and one of the reasons that motivated me to propose on Easter two years ago.

Hopefully with God’s blessings, it will be years and years of a healthy and happy relationship. Life is full of uncertainties, but as I move forward I also look back, for life is a pool of reflections and I have much to be thankful for. 

Today, marriage is the way to further solidify our commitment to each other. I look forward to wearing my wedding ring and all that comes with it. Very proud of having Jo as my bride. 


Photographer- PhotoDH
Decor by Vincenza ( InHouse Decor Specialist at The Briarcliff Manor)