How We Met
Barb: I was working in the hospitality industry and had just moved back here from Florida, and a (business associate) kept telling me she had someone tall enough for me. I’m 5-foot-10 – 6-foot with heels on – and Mike is 6-foot-9. Sure enough I said, OK, I’d meet him for lunch, though this was only going to be a pit stop for me. I moved back home because my dad was sick; I was never going to stay here. … But yes, he was tall enough for me and we’ve been together ever since. “¦ We just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. We got married the day after Thanksgiving.
Mike: We didn’t plan on having kids. I was older than dirt, and she didn’t want to be a mom. She had 35 nieces and nephews. She just thought the kids would come visit and then you shoo them away.
Barb: We got married in November 1991. Three months later, we had custody of my brother’s kids: Ambrose, April and Rachel. They were 5, 6 and 8. My brother was killed the year before “¦ and the kids were just in such a horrible situation (living with their mother, who was an addict).
Mike: When all of that chaos was going on with the courts, we were lost. “¦ Then we were introduced to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and that’s when the whole environment of the case changed in our direction. The CASA worker was able to get into the home, talk to the teachers, talk to the judge. That was such a lifeline for us. “¦ After all of that went down, we kind of looked at each other and went, “Maybe we should try this.” And so we did. We were late to the game with Michelina. She goes to Assumption High School. People say why didn’t you have more kids, but we had four: first the three and then Michelina.
Barb: When I first met him, I told my sisters he was the nicest guy I’ve ever met. We had so many family values that were alike, and we were raised in the same type of family where you keep your family close. We just had so much in common and he was just so nice, even though he can go New Jersey (laughs). As if that wasn’t enough, when the whole kid (custody) thing started, I don’t know if the situation would have been reversed if I would have been so open armed. Mike never missed a court date. There were times when I was ready to just lay down and quit, but he wouldn’t let me. He was my knight in shining armor and saved those kids. “¦ He’s just a fabulous father to them and to Michelina.
Mike: I am very blessed that she is just as wonderful and beautiful inside as she is outside. You get everything with her. She’s helped me become more of a centrist in the sense that I don’t go all New Jersey on people like I used to. (Laughs.) No, but really she’s helped me balance my personal and professional life and become more fulfilled with the partnership.
Words of wisdom
Barb: My advice? Marry your best friend and have a lot in common.
Mike: Try to know each other before you do get married – and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Barb: One of the advantages of being married when you’re older, having kids when you’re older, we feel like we’ve been there, done that. We had such blessed lives before we met each other, we were ready. We didn’t feel like we were missing a thing once we made that commitment. (Laughs.)
Mike: Prime time has moved down to 4 p.m. from 8 p.m. (Laughs.)
Barb: We laugh a lot. We have the same sense of humor.
Mike: You experience so much peripheral stuff, being in the moment becomes pretty valuable, pretty important.
Category: In Tandem
About the Author (Author Profile)
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.
Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.