For Gay Cioffi and Mark Obenhaus, their glorious Hamptons summer romance of 1978 was filled with laughter and played out to the smooth sounds of Steely Dan.
Finally: Gay Cioffi and Mark Obenhaus listen to toasts at their wedding which took place at the East Hampton Point resort in East Hampton, NY August 3, 2013
Falling in love at first sight, Gay moved in with Mark the very same July day he introduced himself on Gibson Beach and the two began an intense three week romance shacked up at his Sagaponack vacation home.
They spent their days driving around in her Fiat convertible and spent hours watching the rich and famous of the exclusive Long Island resort.
Their neighbors were such luminaries as filmmaker Nora Ephron and her-then husband, journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame.
But as the shadows grew longer, life got in the way of their affair and 27-year-old Gay moved on to her dream job as a teacher in Georgetown, Washington D.C. and Mark, 32, returned to New York to become a successful documentary maker for PBS.
After one or two late night phone calls, the love-birds lost touch and moved on with their lives.
‘It is a little mysterious,’ said Mark, now 67, to the New York Times. ‘I do think the fact that we had both married young, we were not looking for our life partners.’
Happy Couple: Mark and Gay look ecstatic to finally have made it down the aisle after 35 years apart from each other.
Both remarried. Gay, now 62, married a filmmaker in 1983 and had two children, Ryder Cioffi Henry and Mia Cioffi Henry.
In the same year, Mark married Lynn Kohlman, a model and fashion executive. Their son, Sam, was born in 1986, the same year as Mia.
Gay separated from her husband in 1998 and came to the conclusion that her romantic life was over.
‘I thought, ‘I’ve been married twice, I’ve been so lucky to find love and romance,’ she said. ‘I wasn’t looking for that again,’ said Gay.
Tragedy struck Mark’s life when his wife was diagnosed with breast and brain cancer in 2002.
She suffered terribly and died in 2008.
‘He took care of her devotedly for all of those years and then she died and he said to me, ‘I’ll never get married again,’ said Richard Brick, a close friend and longtime production partner.
‘And it was heartbreaking.’
Happy Couple: Gay and Mark both married twice and brought up their own families in the 35-years since they parted in August of 1978.
However, it was the death of Sleepless in Seattle director Nora Ephron from cancer in June 2012 that changed everything.
Gay began to listen to Steely Dan again and she began to open up to her family about the wonderful romance she had shared 34 years ago with Mark.
‘It is such a cliché to look up old boyfriends and then be disappointed, and it was so perfect; I don’t want to disturb what to me was this perfect memory,’ said Gay to the New York Times.
But look him up on Facebook she did and then experienced the rushing panic of sending a friend request and waiting for him to reply.
However, Mark shot back a message to her within four minutes: ‘So nice to see your name appear,’ said Mark.
‘I thought of you and that summer we met when Nora Ephron passed. I have a home not far from where we met and was at Gibson Beach this weekend. I hope we can catch up some day. Life is too short, as they say.’
Gay with her son Ryder and Mark on his own are now all part of the same extended family.
Two cautious dates in September of 2012 followed and Mark quickly realized he was falling for her all over again.
Trying hard to win his old flame back, Mark sent a Facebook message telling her he had held something back during their reacquaintance.
It was a Polaroid photograph of her, in bed facing the camera. He emailed this momento to her and to his total surprise, she messaged him back with a picture of him, on the opposite side of the bed from the same moment.
Mark wrote her back: ‘OMG, my head is exploding, who’s writing this script?’
Things moved so fast. They told each other they were in love again. And then just one month after they had met again after 34 years, Mark asked Gay to marry her.
‘Definitely,’ replied Gay. ‘Well, I’ve loved you my whole life.’
The happy couple tied the knot on August 3rd in East Hampton, just a few miles from Gibson beach where they first laid eyes on each other.
Their children and 185 guests were all there and when the town clerk asked them if they were to marry each other, instead of ‘I do’, they replied, ‘Definitely’.
Story Credit: Daily Mail