Serendipity, Two Matchmakers + a Call from Charles

Serendipity, Two Matchmakers + a Call from Charles

Charles Novacek (1928-2007)

People often ask how I met my late husband Charles. I say it was serendipity. Being in the right place at the right time. There was a certain magic about it all. Something supernatural or as Shakespeare wrote: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune…” (Brutus to Cassius, in Julius Caesar).

It was 19 years ago today that I first heard Charles’ voice. We had been “matched” by two women artist friends, Electra and Lula. They were patrons of the library where I was director.  Charles was taking art classes from Electra at the University of Michigan in Dearborn.

One day Lula came to visit me at the library specifically to tell me about “this man” – Charles Novacek. An artist. Born in Czechoslovakia. Great sense of humor. Spoke seven languages. Owned a house in Venezuela. Loved to travel.

Lula said Charles was also a practical man and an engineer. He had drawn up a list of specifications for his potential companion including things like “must love books, writing and travel. . . ”

I thanked Lula and told her I had no time or energy for dating. Charles sounded fascinating and exotic. But I was too busy.

As I walked away toward the biography section I realized how thoughtless my response had been. If I didn’t like Charles, I could just turn him down. So I turned around and told Lula she could give him my name and phone number. What I didn’t know at the time is that I was going to be “on a list.”

The list had three women, and by coincidence, my name ended up on the top. When Charles saw the list, and saw my name, he said he just stopped and realized that I possessed many of the qualifications he was looking for.

One morning in early June I received a phone call. It was an unfortunate time because I was in the process of putting my beloved collie dog down. My first husband was there to help me as we had joint custody of the dog. As I was leaving the house to go to the vet’s, the telephone rang. I hesitated, but answered it anyway. I heard an alluring male voice. Charles. He was very kind, and told me he had also lost his dog and that he would call me later. That night, and for the following weeks, we became fast friends. It was surely serendipity for me.

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