Seems to me, God’s presented me with another wonderful gift, because in the 16, almost 17 years I’ve lived here in Pleasanton, not one time have I stepped inside ; not one time have I even peeked through the windows while waiting outside of during one of their crowded
breakfast prime times.
Just ask any one of my ex-husbands or boyfriends, and you’ll be quickly
So, it was only because I was sent on an errand by my handsome prince to cash in on some gold that I had reason to visit Jewelers Gallery for the first time. I avoided direct eye contact with anything expensive and sparkly and went straight to the counter with my envelope of gold.
And it seemed to me that in less than five minutes, I watched some three or five people I know from town walk in, smile, say hi to the owners by name, and carry on with business, in great pleasure.
Very friendly people here, I thought to myself, and reached over to grab their business card: Jewelers Gallery, Robin & Wendy Barnes, Goldsmith * Gemologist
And how our conversation ignited, I can’t remember or detail, but somewhere between introducing myself and our actual business transaction, we got to talking and I learned that Robin and Wendy were married. Another successful husband/wife business team. And then of course I had to ask my favorite
question, “So, how did you two meet?”
And they both smiled so big, and they both started contributing information about their very romantic journey. “No way,” I said, “You’ve been married 28 years and met your 8th grade year?!”
And Robin started telling me about how in high school, he picked her up and carried her across wet grass so she wouldn’t mess up her shoes. And Wendy started telling me about how they lived three houses away from each other, but were always “just friends” and never dated in high school or college.
And I was listening with great delight while simultaneously cursing the heavens for letting me walk in Jewelers Gallery without a paper pad and pen.
So, we took care of the formal part of our business, and I also had my cross ring, from my recent spiritual marriage to my handsome prince, adjusted too.
It’s been spinning around and falling off my finger — maybe because the ring is too big (maybe because my ring finger was scared), but Robin was kind enough to place on a complimentary space adjuster and now it fits just perfectly.
And of course I did not leave without getting permission to return after the holidays, and interview them for my “How They Met” column on Pleasanton Patch.
“Wonderful couple! Great story!” That’s my kind of gold.
And what better time to share their story, than Valentines Day.
Turns out Robin pursued Wendy for some 22 YEARS before they finally and legally married. Who does that anymore? Ever? Seems to me we live in a time of, colloquially speaking, revolving relationship doors with a "Who’s Next?" sign hanging from the knob.
Wait ‘til you read this:
Not so for this rare, wonderful and happily married couple.
They started out as neighbors and friends in Fremont. Three houses away from each other. Middle school age. Sounded to me like a romantic seed was planted early on and was watered along the way.
Robin says he knew from the start. Wendy says she thought of him as just a friend for a very long time.
But their grandmas seemed to know love when they saw it, the way grandparents just sometimes know.
In high school, Robin’s grandmother said, “Now, why don’t you marry that girl Wendy down the street?”
And at Wendy’s older sister’s wedding, her grandmother said, “Why don’t you marry that boy down the street?”
Family suggested it, friends supported it, but Robin and Wendy would remain just friends for many years to come — from middle school, through high school and into college.
But very good friends as you can see from the huggy beach picture attached to this story.
And ironically, or perhaps, better said, prophetically, they “jokingly” married each other in their early 20s while on a college-sponsored cruise trip around the world. Captain of the cruise ship spent one night marrying couples, and it was playful but pretty real too… vows, witnesses, kiss the bride, and the signed marriage certificate by the bride, the groom and the captain.
The way Robin tells it, they found out later the marriage was legal — but because of where they were geographically, they found out from a San Jose courthouse, it was only valid for 6 months — and not valid in the United States.
I like to think of it as their rehearsal.
Post cruise and post college, they went their separate ways. The torch in Robin’s heart never dimmed, while the torch in Wendy’s heart ignited — but for someone else.
She married Carl, but of course, invited her good friend Robin to their wedding.
He was a good sport during the ceremony — never jumped up, the way they do in the movies, to express why those two should definitely not marry — but when it came time for the reception, he could take it no more.
“I pox this marriage!” He cast his spell, and headed to the beach to drink with friends.
Wendy’s marriage lasted one year and a half, and she was divorced several years before Robin learned about it. Six years, I think it was, before they crossed paths again during a Christmas party hosted by Wendy’s parents for family and friends from the old neighborhood.
And this is the first time Wendy reports having stronger feelings for Robin (and it’s about time, don’t you think?).
“I noticed something different about him,” she told me.
But upon further investigation, what we really learn is that Wendy started out attracted to the bad boys, as so many otherwise bright young women tend to be, and it took a few failed relationships before she could appreciate the intensity and kindness Robin had all along.
If you’ll allow me to project...
I don’t think Robin changed. I think Wendy did.
Anyway, Wendy invites Robin to her room! And they don’t attack each other exactly, but she does invite him to visit her in San Diego for her birthday. Mr. intense and kind and madly in love with Wendy takes her up on the invite and shows up unannounced. (Let’s add risk taker to his personality profile).
Enter here, Wendy’s bachelorette friend-slash-roommate, who has more to gain keeping Wendy single and free like her than married and gone with him.
Oh! the obstacle was coarse…
But add here perseverance and agility, because navigate around he did, and it seems somewhere in here, Wendy told me about how Robin set the mood: how he surprised her with champagne, flowers, and somehow found a candle to light that she didn’t even know she had in her apartment.
And now it’s Wendy’s turn to get a taste of Robin’s chewed up, spit out gum, because she says to him, “Why don’t we get married?” And Robin. Robin! He was so blown away and speechless that he can’t answer. Literally, doesn’t answer.
Wendy was certain a non-audible yes meant no, and for the very first time is like, “oh.. this is what it feels like to be rejected.” And heads off to wallow in this foreign miserable experience called unrequited love.
Robin meanwhile, he may not have said yes out loud, but he was definitely thinking it in his heart. He flies home and contacts his parents and her parents to share the great news.
They are the sweetest romantic comedy, these two.
Now Wendy thinks her marriage suggestion permanently damaged their friendship and expresses her concern over the phone. She starts back-pedaling and suggests they talk more about it.
Robin, with such a weathered gun-shy heart by this time, he says, “That’s not why I called. I called to tell you I love you. We can talk later.” And hangs up!
And that emotional roller coaster comedy of events turns out to be prelude to what is now a 28-year marriage! They married on May 15th, 1983. And I’ve included a picture of the engagement ring Robin designed himself for Wendy.
And not only are they best friends and husband and wife, but they co-own and co-operate Jewelers Gallery. Robin is a goldsmith and gemologist. He deals with manufacturing, repairs, appraisals, and engravings. Wendy does the bookkeeping, inventory, housekeeping and manages the artists.
Let’s call this a match FINALLY made in heaven. And give their grandmothers the last three words:
“Told you so.”