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Celebrating an anniversary, kismet in San Juan Capistrano

By Tom Blake

Tom Blake
Tom Blake. File photo

On June 24, 1998, a woman came into Tutor and Spunky’s, my Dana Point deli and ordered a freshly squeezed carrot juice. Then, she went to a table and sat down while her juice was prepared. What struck me about her was the radiance on her face that suggested a warm, inner beauty.

I walked around the counter and said to her, “Would you like to have dinner?”

She said, “That would be lovely.”

Three nights later, on Saturday, June 27, 1998, we had dinner at the Claim Jumper on La Paz. Greta and I have been a couple ever since.

Age wise, Greta and I are close to each other. Six months ago, when we went to check on my Dana Point rental property, the man at the guard shack requested I create a new password for entry. Without thinking, I just tossed out, “7372,” my age and Greta’s age, respectively. I figured that number would be easy to remember.

On June 29 of this year, to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we attended an outdoor concert in the courtyard at the San Juan Capistrano Library. My friend Jeff Singer, who is on the board of directors of the San Juan Capistrano Friends of the Library, had alerted me to a Multicultural Arts Concert Series sponsored by the library on five different summer Saturday nights.

Each concert night, there are 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. performances. We attended the 6:30 performance, which was titled, “Vagabond Opera,” the name of a traveling ensemble based out of Portland, Ore.

The four men and three women are all incredibly talented. They sang, danced and six of them played musical instruments. One woman played the drums and another belly danced and played the trumpet. The third sang and belly danced. For $10 per person, it was the most lovely and enjoyable anniversary event we could have attended anywhere in Orange County, at any price.

After the concert, I asked Greta what she wanted to do next, although I knew what she was going to say.

“I want to go to Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot and have dinner outside on the patio and watch the trains go by,” she said. Greta loves Sarducci’s. Owner Tom Bogdanski, who started Sarducci’s with his partner Dennis in 1985, was near the hostess stand and greeted us as we walked in. Now, Tom is the sole owner.

After a lovely, romantic meal, I added a tip to the bill without thinking too much about the amount and then I realized why Greta and I are together—serendipity. The total with the tip was $73.72. As we walked to the parking lot, Greta took my arm, just as she had 15 years before while leaving the Claim Jumper and said, “You see, we’re meant to be.”

Those of us living in south Orange County are blessed to have so many wonderful restaurant and event choices in the greatest place in the world to live.

For information about the remaining three Multicultural Arts concert series at the San Juan Capistrano library, visit their website,

The Sarducci’s website can be found online at

To comment:

Tom Blake is a Dana Point business owner and San Clemente resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at

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