You are here

High school sweethearts make the Surfside swoon

High school sweethearts Nanci Iannone, 60, and John Iannone, 61, of Malibu, have been married for 10 years following a fateful run-in at their class’ 25th reunion. Photos Submitted
Pictured is the yearbook photo for Nanci Iannone, who grew up in Bronx, New York.
Pictured is the yearbook photo for John Iannone, who grew up in Bronx, New York.
Lauren Coughlin, Editor
7:00 am PST February 14, 2017

Love cannot be measured, but it most certainly can be felt. 

While the Surfside News does happen to be partial to the written word, the competition in our How We Met contest was tough and presented a difficult task: trying to define love.

Malibu resident Nanci Iannone’s entry had it all, with a tale of young, forbidden love that proved to be strong enough to withstand two-and-a-half decades apart. The couple will receive a $150 gift certificate to Kristy’s Village Café, 30745 Pacific Coast Highway, Building B, Malibu.

Following is the winning entry, penned by Malibu resident Nanci Iannone:

It was that WHOOMP kind of love that you really only feel when you’re 15. A big hug of your heart that fills you up starting in your toes, working its way through you until your cheeks are warm and you can’t stop smiling. When your mother says you can’t see him Saturday night, you sort of can’t breathe. Watching him talk to that pretty girl in his class makes your head spin. But just sitting next to him on the bus might be the best thing that’s ever happened in your whole life. Yeah – it was like that.

But it wasn’t just Saturday nights my mom (and HIS!) were worried about. We were spending (oh, no!) “ … too much time together!” and (oops) “ … this is why your grades are falling.”

We were restricted to seeing each other only at school. There was some sneaking around behind the moms’ backs, but I wasn’t very good at it, so that was quickly squelched. He’d call the house and my mom would tell him I was unavailable. We had friends act as beards for us, asking my mom if I could spend the night at their house to help them “study.” It was pretty brutal.  

But, as with all great romances, our love occasionally found a way. He would take two busses in the snowy, frigid New York night to tape a love note to the door he knew I’d be the one to open first in the morning. He’d sneak the key to his dad’s boat so that we’d have a place to meet where no one would think to look for us.

But the power of two Italian mothers hellbent on getting their firstborns safely off to college was too much for us. In the summer following our senior year of high school, we broke up. It was exhausting maintaining the cloak and dagger and even we knew that we were too old to “run away.”

I moved to California to forge my independence and he began classes at a college back east. It was my first experience with real emotional loss and it took a long time to stop thinking about him every day. But every once in a while …

Twenty five (!) years later, a high school girlfriend found me on AOL (“You’ve got MAIL!”). Evidently, my name had fallen off the alumni list when I came out west but they’d found me now and invited me to our class’ 25th reunion. By the end of the conversation I’d managed to sneak in, “Does anyone know what ever happened to John?” and was gobsmacked to hear that he’d attended every reunion since our first, always casually asking the same question about me. Could it be?

We’re now married 10 years, blissfully ensconced here in the most beautiful place on earth, with a cat in the yard and a purple motorcycle for the canyons, and every anniversary we look up to the skies and thank those two moms who were wise enough to know that all good things really do come to those who wait.

To read the rest of the How We Met entries, click here.