and together, lived happily ever after
A true-love story



What happened for the first 49 years and first 40 years in the respective lives of Cinderfella and Cinderella easily can fill two books. Right now, I’d like to tell you how Cinderfella and Cinderella met and began their astounding journey on February 7, 1986.

Five weeks earlier, January, 1, 1986, Cinderfella's wife of sixteen years announced that she hadn't been happy for sixteen years. For the next four and on half weeks, Cinderfella was sad and crestfallen. He quickly moved the five stages of death, in this case, for the loss of his marriage.

On the night of February 7, 1986, he left his home in the Bronx and drove up the New York State Thruway, at thirty miles per hour, fighting a blizzard. He was determined to start a new life at a Folk Music Weekend in Saugerties, New York. It was a bitterly cold. The wind driven snow swirled everywhere, forming rolling hills of white that stretched into black beyond the glare of the car headlights.

I might explain here that sometime in February each year, The Pinewoods Folk Music Club of New York City would host a wonderful winter weekend gathering of some 150 to 160 people. Simply put, it was a gathering of people who wanted a respite from the brave rude world. The participants in these winter weekends all had a deep and abiding appreciation of folk music, folk dancing, and down-to-earth, unmitigated love for one another. It was just what Cinderfella needed to begin the healing.

The weekend took place in a summer camp that the Folk Music Club rented. Why does one rent a summer camp facility for a winter weekend? The reason is simple, both the owners of the camp and Pinewoods Folk Music Club benefit. The owners get money for a facility that normally provides no income in winter, and the club benefits by having to pay less than what they would pay for a summer rental.

Now sit back, kick off your shoes, shut out the Twenty-First Century brave-rude world, and discover how Cinderfella and Cinderella met, and lived happily ever after.


CHAPTER ONE – February 7, 1986

Cinderfella arrived at the main building of the camp at about eight-thirty that evening. Many of the participants in the weekend were already there. There were several small groups gathered in various parts of the building making music. Others people were in small groups engaged in conversation.

At this point, I should explain the sixteen years earlier, Cinderfella and his wife at that time were very much into folk music and folk music activities. He and his wife used to appear in Coffee Houses and Folk Festivals around the Northeast. They sang and accompanied themselves on guitar, banjo, and dulcimer. As the years went by, Cinderfella and his wife drifted away from the folk music scene: mostly due to his wife’s lack of interest. I tell you this, as many of the people at the weekend were people Cinderfella knew from his earlier years in Folk Music.

For a good part of the evening, Cinderfella tried to forget his sorrow and immersed himself in the festivities. Around midnight, it happened. A dark cloud descended on Cinderfella. He entered a state of deep depression and sorrow. All of the wonderful singing and dancing did not seem to help. All he could think of was the fact that, at age 49, he would have to start his life over. All he could think about was that he would have to go down to the bottom of the economic ladder, what with facing alimony, years of financial support for his two children, and four years of college, times two.

Earlier that evening, he observed a young, attractive, dark-haired girl in jeans and a dark blue turtle-neck sweater. What attracted his attention was her behavior. When ever he observed her, bopped around the room to whatever music happened to be being played. Almost immediately, he dismissed thoughts of her. She appeared to be too young. Cinderella's wife, at the time, was thirteen years his junior. He had decided that all younger women were nuts.

Any future, deep and abiding relationship that he wanted in his life would not be based on his gonads. He wanted a woman who would love him and be devoted to him as much as he loved and was devoted to her. I’ll get back to the gonad thing in a later chapter.

Around midnight, Cinderfella sank in to depression. He was ready to pack up and go back to New York. The thought of driving through the snowstorm didn’t make him any happier. A little voice inside him told him to stay, to push through the depression, and get the hell out there and start playing music. That little voice changed his life. Cinderfella picked up his banjo, found a small group singing and playing in one corner of the lounge, and joined in. He began to feel better.

Around four in the morning of February 8th, many of the weekend participants had gone to sleep. Five or six diehards and Cinderfella found themselves in a small circle in the lobby of the main building. Cinderfella was playing the banjo leading the others in a number of songs.

Around four-twenty, the dark-haired girl, he had noticed and then dismissed earlier, came into the room. She did not join the group. Instead, she chose to sit on a couch along the wall. As it turned out, Cinderfella was directly across from her and could see her. The rest of the group faced Cinderfella and could not see her.

Cinderfella was drawn to her face, but fought the urge to look at her. She was too young. He picked up a guitar, and began playing a song and singing with the group. Half way through the song, he looked at the dark-haired girl. It was Noah’s Ark. Her eyes were red and water was pouring from them.

Cinderfella couldn’t take his eyes from her face. All he could think of was that the words to the song, that the group and he were singing, were putting a knife into the girl’s heart and twisting it.

Now, what should he do? If he stopped singing, people might turn around and the weeping girl would be terribly embarrassed. If the group and he continued singing that particular song, he would be twisting the knife even deeper. What to do, what to do? He chose to take the song to its natural end.

By this time, he was feeling compassion and concern for her. He wanted to take away whatever it was that was making her so sad. He picked up his guitar again and started to sing a humorous song. That seemed to help a bit. As he and the others sang, he began to think, “go to bed, it’s late, go to bed.” His thought was directed to those sitting around him. To the dark-haired girl, he was thinking, “You, you on the couch, you stay there. I want to talk to you.”

Almost magically, as if by command, the others got up and went to bed. The girl on the couch actually stayed. When they were alone, Cinderfella got up and moved to the couch. He asked the girl if she minded his sitting down. Needless to say, she didn’t. There was something wonderfully eerie about the situation.

From about 4:30am until 5:00am, time seemed to stop. Cinderfella introduced himself. The girl told him that her name was Cinderella. They talked and talked, for what seemed forever. Finally, Cinderfella took Cinderella’s two hands in his and said, “I’d really like to get to know you very slowly and very well. What do you think about that?”

Cinderella seemed a bit taken aback but responded that she liked the idea. They agreed to meet the next morning, only three to four hours later, to share breakfast. Cinderfella then gave Cinderella a gentle kiss, bid her good night, more rightfully good morning, but let’s not quibble, and went to catch a couple of hours of sleep.


CHAPTER TWO – February 8, 1986

Cinderfella’s head had been on the pillow for fewer than two hours when he suddenly sat bolt upright in bed. He glanced at his watch, a little after 7 am. He had remembered something he had noticed the evening before. As people arrived for the weekend, they were greeted with a button-making machine in the lobby. Each person was expected to make a personalized button, to be worn so that participants in the weekend could identify one another. It was the button-making machine that was now Cinderfella’s target.

He had awoken to the realization that his first name and Cinderella's first name shared four of seven letter in exactly the same locations. He immediately made two buttons that combined their names. On her button, Cinderfella was uppermost, and on his, Cinderella was uppermost.


His work done, Cinderfella returned to his room and got ready for breakfast. When it came to food, Cinderfella always liked to be early. In this case, breakfast was being offered from 8 am to 10 am.
He arrived in the dining room at 8 am and was disappointed when Cinderella did not show. Several scenarios raced through his mind. The one he settled on was that she had second thoughts. He consoled himself with the idea that she was too young anyway. He would find a good woman in a year or so and get married again. He loved marriage. He just wanted to find the right person to share it with him.

Around 8:45 am, he finished breakfast. By 9:00 am, he was out playing in the snow. He gave little thought to Cinderella, and the aborted date for breakfast. Cinderfella join some other early birds who were playing music making in the main building. Cinderfella went to his room, grabbed his banjo and returned to the main building. There was music and dancing going on all over the place. He entered one of the lounge rooms, where about twelve people were playing and singing. There on a couch beneath a large window, sat Cinderella, dressed in black jeans and a dark blue turtleneck.

She hadn’t noticed him enter the room. Quietly, and unceremoniously, Cinderfella plopped himself down on the couch, right next to her. She looked up in surprise and managed a smile. Within minutes, he discovered that she had not avoided him for breakfast. She arrived in the middle of breakfast, at 9:00 am and was disappointed when she didn't find him in the dining room. They both had a good laugh and joined in the festivities. From that moment, Cinderfella and Cinderella were inseparable. They sang and talked throughout the day, through dinner, and on into the late night.

Somewhere near 11:00 pm, Cinderfella and Cinderella went to his car and sat and talked into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Each spoke openly and honestly about the feelings and experiences each held. It was then that they learned that they shared the cusp of their birthdays, August 4 and August 5. Cinderfella also learned that Cinderella was not looking forward to a freezing trip back to New York in a car without a heater. It was then that Cinderfella offered a ride back with him. With anticipation of a ride that would not need defrosting at the end, she happily agreed.

The next morning, Cinderella and Cinderfella shared a breakfast together. After lunch, the weekend participants began the migration back to New York City. Cinderfella lived in a very nice Co-op building in the North-West Bronx. Cinderella lived in a shabby one-room occupancy hotel on the upper West side of Manhattan. Cinderfella dropped Cinderella at her hotel and went home to face his wife.

Monday morning, Cinderfella called Cinderella at 10 am. He asked her if she would like to go camping for two weeks with him, in August at Disney World. He told her that he wished to celebrate their joint birthdays. Now, understand that Cinderella and Cinderfella had only really met some 40 hours earlier, and barely knew one another at this point. Despite the absurdity of making plans for six months into a future clouded with doubt, she agreed.

Five months later, Cinderfella and Cinderfella had an apartment together in the North East Bronx. Four days before they were scheduled to go camping in Disney World, Cinderfella got his wife to sign a divorce agreement. Cinderella and Cinderfella arrived at Disney World Campground on August 3, stayed through August 17, and never have been apart for the next forty years. They are looking forward to being together for the next fifty years.

That was it. There was not turning back. Cinderfella and Cinderella were meant to be together. For more than two decades since that fateful weekend, the two have been inseparable: together twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days, well you get the idea. If you talk to them, they will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that they don’t have enough time together.

The two started their life together with Cinderella having twenty dollars in the bank, three more years of graduate school and student loans equal to the equivalent of a quarter of a million dollars in today's economy along with an interest rate of 17% on the interest rate of 17%. Cinderfella on the other hand, brought to their relationship, child support for many years for two young children, four years of college for each of those same two children, and lawyer’s fees up the gazuke. During their first year together, Cinderfella and Cinderella thought that we might run away to Canada, pump gas and wash dishes, and say screw it to all of their debts.

Fortunately, they didn't. Instead, they have written seventeen books in eighteen years, appeared on countless television and radio shows, become friendly with a number of celebrities, worked for NASA’s Space Life Sciences Training Program and The Kennedy Space Center, been adjunct faculty at Mount Sinai’s School of Medicine in New York City for ten years, traveled to every Disney Park around the world every year and live a life of total economic and personal freedom.

Cinderella and Cinderfella have traveled to the Galapagos Islands, been on many scuba expeditions and white water rafted in New Zealand and Australia, traveled above the Arctic Circle and much, much more. What brought them from that cold winter weekend in Saugerties, New York, to where they are today? That’s simple. They turned their stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.

Don’t you just love happy endings?