Written by Tammy Walro
August 14, 2008
Men always want to be a woman's first love - women like to be a man's last romance – Oscar Wilde.
Back in the summer of `69, young Dave Michalak fell for his first love.
He could hardly wait for Friday night to come so he could meet up with Teri DeShetler at the Teen Town dances, held every week in the Navarre Park shelter house.
From the first time the shy young man summoned the courage to ask the curly-haired girl to dance, he was smitten. Often he stayed until the very last minute, running the whole way home so that he wouldn’t get in trouble for being late.
Eventually, the teens went their separate ways, as often happens with first loves. They graduated, got jobs, met and married other people and started families.
But Dave never quite got over the curly-haired girl at the Teen Town dances.
On Aug. 16, after many “bumps in the road,” he will finally get to make Teri DeShetler Kohlhofer his bride.
“I just never forgot her,” he said. “I looked her up a couple of times throughout the years, but we were never able to get the timing quite right.”
Not one to give up, in late November 2006, he searched for Teri’s contact information on Classmates.com. “I e-mailed her and she seemed happy to hear from me,” he said.
At the time, Teri was in a failing marriage and was contemplating divorce. She invited Dave to stop in and see her at work.
“I was a little nervous, but once I saw him, it was comfortable and comforting, especially at a time when I could use friend,” she said.
Teri proceeded to get divorced and the old friends rekindled their feelings.
“Even after all these years, she’s still the same girl,” Dave said.
“I told Dave when we first got back together that through all those lost years, every time that I would go by the place where he used to live, I always had this nagging feeling that things were unfinished between us,” Teri said. “I never understood it, but that feeling never went away. Now I understand what my heart was trying to tell me.’
Almost a year to the day after Dave sent the e-mail, he recruited Teri’s mom and daughter, and her friend Tammy, who also attended those Teen Town dances back in seventh and eighth grade, to help him throw a surprise party for Teri.
The night of the party, Teri was blindfolded, driven around (to try to confuse her about her destination), and finally led into to the Navarre Park Shelter house to what was to be her engagement party.
After Dave got down on one knee and proposed to his sweetheart (she said yes), the couple danced to Tommy James and The Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover.”
The couple will exchange vows in a simple ceremony in the gardens outside of the Navarre Park Shelter house. Afterwards, friends and family will get together to celebrate the couple’s bliss at a reception at Oak Shade Grove in Oregon.
“It still seems like it’s too good to be true,” Teri said. “It took awhile, but I’ve come full circle.
“I finally feel like I’m where I belong.”
On Aug. 16, after many “bumps in the road,” Dave Michalak will finally get to make his first love, Teri DeShetler Kohlhofer, his bride.
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