Sunday, April 23, 2017

Falling for Phil: Love at First Sight!


Ginny Nodhturft

I fell in love with six men:

The warm, loving supportive man, always putting his needs and ambitions on the backburner to provide me with opportunities to advance my education and career.

The romantic man who sends me love notes in every birthday, Christmas, and anniversary card, with a bouquet of flowers and an invitation to go to my favorite restaurant for dinner.

The sentimental man who has tears running down his cheek when we reminisce of our fond memories.

The adventurous man who with excitement travels with me to cemeteries, court houses, historical societies, museums, and civil war battlefields as we research my ancestors’ history.

The handyman who fixes everything around the house that breaks down and makes little special items for me.

The fun man who laughs so hard that he almost strokes out on me. A man who sees the humor in the simplest things.

All of these men are wrapped into the one man I fell in love with at first sight when I was in high school: Phil Nodhturft, Jr.

Phil moved up from the New York City to attend Walden High School when he was a junior.

The word spread throughout the three local towns (Walden, Maybrook, and Montgomery) that this handsome hunk of a guy from The City was now attending Walden High School. He was called the “The City Slicker.”

The girls were absolutely wild over Phil. Not only was he the most handsome guy in his class, but he was athletic and one of the best football players on the team.

Word spread through the towns that he was also a great dancer, doing splits and dazzling the girls like crazy. No one ever saw anybody dance like that before. All the girls prayed that he would invite them to the school dance. You achieved instant status if you danced with him and even more status if you had a date with him.

I couldn’t wait to see this Phil Nodhturft who “Barrel Assed” into town. One night I was out with my boyfriend, Bobby Pulver, and I asked him if he knew Phil.

He said “Yeah, sure, he’s in my class. We call him ‘Pearly Whites’ because he has such beautiful teeth. He told me he works in the ‘Pig Market.’” (Like a pre-Walton Wal-Mart). “Do you want to meet him?”

I said, nonchalantly, “OK.”

Meanwhile, I was over-joyed at the prospect of meeting him. So, Bobby and I drove down to the Pig Market to buy a blanket because we were going to the drive-in movie that night, and we went in looking for Phil. We went up and down all the aisles looking for him.  Lo and behold, Bobby found him by the canned vegetable aisle, stacking cans on the shelves.

I took one look at this gorgeous hunk of a man and fell in love with him instantly. First sight, and I was in love! My heart was beating fast, my face flushed, and I felt uncontained excitement. Bobby introduced me, and Phil checked me out from head to toe during the introduction. All I could think of was what a good looker he was. I’m not fooling! My heart was pounding as we talked. I couldn’t wait to tell all my friends that I had met the “famous Phil Nodhturft!”

A week after meeting Phil, I was driving through town with Bobby Pulver in his convertible car (Bobby was one of the few kids that had a car). When Bobby stopped at a stop sign, Phil came out from nowhere, ran out into the middle of the street, holding up traffic, and jumped in the car. He put his arm around me and starting singing the song “Only You,” by the Platters, which was playing on the radio. Not only was Phil so good looking, but he had a beautiful voice and he smelled so good. As he sang to me, I was melting and feeling exhilarated.

At this point, Phil was flirting with me, and I was giggling, and Bobby was getting royally ticked off.

Bobby finally said, “OK, Phil, out! Ginny and I are going for a ride.” 

So, Phil got out and said goodbye. I was disappointed that Bobby told him to get out.

Shortly after that encounter, I saw Phil at a school dance and I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was out on the dance floor in the gymnasium with all of the hottest chicks in the school, doing splits and all kinds of fancy moves. It was almost intimidating to dance with him because he was so good.

I remember thinking what will I do if he asks me to dance with him? I was afraid if he asked me to dance that I’d look like a “klutz” out there making a fool of myself. So, I tried to avoid him, but I could not take my eyes off him. On one hand, I’d give my right arm to be able to dance with him, but I was too scared to take the risk of making a fool of myself. I never danced with him that night.

I started to see him regularly at the football games. I was a JV cheerleader, and he was a varsity football star, first-string impact player. All the girls just drooled over him. He was totally oblivious to how the girls perceived him. One time at a football game there was a huge fight between the players of both teams. Fans started getting into it too. There was a massive pile of people in nearly a pyramid formation on the ground. The referees started peeling the people off the pile and, lo and behold, there was Phil’s father on the bottom of the pile.

Phil and I started to date, but we never went anywhere fancy, like to a place for dinner, or to a bar or to a pizza joint, because he never had any money to participate in those kinds of dates. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be with him. Usually, he’d find someone who had a car, and we’d double-date just riding around town or going to someone’s house or just hanging out or to a school dance. I’d invite him to some of my friend’s house parties, and on a rare occasion we’d go to a movie.

Phil gave me his ring to wear around my neck on a chain, which in those days meant you were “going steady” and were a couple.

He graduated and went off to the military when I was a junior in high school. He wrote to me, telling me how much he missed me. One time he was home on leave and his mother dropped him off by the school, so when I came out he’d be there in his uniform. I saw him, and he looked so handsome in his uniform! I was very proud to be his girlfriend. His leave was up, and he had to go back. We said goodbye, and eventually broke off due to the long distance between us.

The next time I saw him, I was in college, and he was dating a girl who was actually in some of my nursing classes. He became engaged to her when I was in a relationship with a boyfriend, Joe Falvela.  In 1964, after my first year of nursing at Horton Memorial Hospital, I went to the Albany VA to work.

I lost track of Phil at this point in my life, although I thought of him often and wondered what he was doing. 

Reunited With Phil

Eight years after I graduated from high school, I went back to college to get by Baccalaureate Degree. Little did I know that Phil was out of the service, not married, working at IBM, and going back for his Baccalaureate Degree at the same school, Mount Saint Mary College, too.

One day, as I was walking down the hall, I saw what looked to be Phil. I didn’t want to see him, because I looked awful that day, so I ducked into a chemistry lab and knocked over a tray of laboratory vessels filled with liquid. The vessels fell off the tray onto the floor and broke. Glass and liquid was everywhere. It made a deafening sound that bellowed through the entire floor.

Of course, Phil was “Johnny on the spot” and came in to see what the commotion was. He said, “Is that you Ginny?”

I said “Yes, how are you, Phil?”

He replied, “Let’s get some coffee and catch up with each other.”

We had coffee, and I learned that the girl Phil was engaged to had cheated on him, and that was the end of his relationship with her.

We dated regularly during this time and the bells and whistles of that love feeling that hit you in the gut were still there, as strong as  in high school.

We married in 1970, and I have been in love with him ever since, 47 years later. I still love him today as I did back in high school, and I still wonder how I was the lucky gal that won Phil’s heart and mind.


Published with permission of my dear friends Phil and Ginny Nodhturft, a friendship that goes back over a half-century and has remained true.

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