Yenta Forever

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Yenta Forever

Talk about family mishaps! About twenty years ago, after my husband’s father’s death, we went to Sumter to help my mother-in-law downsize. It was a sad time getting rid of many of my father-in-law’s prized possessions, but the one that took the cake was his collection of Playboy magazines.

He had hundreds of them, some in excellent shape, if you’ll excuse the pun, and others were moldy from being in the backyard storage room for years. My mother-in-law, Pat, wanted to throw them out, but I insisted that some of them would be valuable. A collector might pay a good penny for them.

However, she wanted them out of the house immediately, because as you can imagine, she always hated them and would be embarrassed if anyone from church ever saw them there.

Chuck and I decided we would bring them to Myrtle Beach to see if we could locate a buyer. As we were moving them from our van to the office, the hand-truck broke spilling all of the magazines out onto the sidewalk. The folks walking by got a free show and even gave us dirty looks like we were perverts. Actually we felt like perverts, but we would have done anything to help Pat, who was left with lots of medical bills.

Once we got the magazines safely inside the office, I made a few phone calls to local pawn shops and used bookstores. As I was speaking to one of the shop owners he said, “You sound like that woman on TV who does the talk show.”

I was so embarrassed to be caught trafficking Playboys, that I simply said, “Yes, people tell me all the time that I sound like her.” I wouldn’t dare admit that he was right. I was the TV lady!

While at the office, still searching for the right collector, I kept sneezing and wheezing having allergic reactions to the mold, mildew and dust from the center-folds that were stored only a couple of feet from my desk. I had to get rid of them fast. So I got the idea to call a friend in Florence. I had known Mickey Foster, for thirty-five years and knew he dealt with antiques and collectibles on the side from his full-time job as Vice President at Florence Darlington Technical College.

“Mickey, you’ve got to help me out,” I desperately pleaded. Being the generous guy he was, he offered me $300 sight unseen for all the magazines. Alleluia! We drove to Florence as fast as we could before he changed his mind.

A few months later, Mickey’s wife died, and I kept in touch, trying to cheer him up. As the months went on, he told me none of his friends understood his loneliness because they all still had their spouses. So, I suggested he call my mother-in-law, Pat. It had been a little more than a year since Chuck’s dad had died, and she had said the same thing about loneliness. Ironically, both Pat and Mickey were married to their spouses for over forty years and never dated anyone other than those they married. They were both lost souls.

Weeks went by and I ran into Mickey and his son at the Senior PGA Tour in Myrtle Beach. Thousands of people were there so I always felt it was God’s will that I ran into Mickey and his son, Bobby. I told Bobby that I wanted his dad to call my mother-in-law because I knew they would have a lot in common and could possibly cheer each other up. Bobby agreed and encouraged his dad to give her a call. That was the green-light Mickey needed, knowing that his son would not feel resentment that he was going to call another woman only three months after his wife’s death.

Mickey finally called Pat, and they talked for hours on the phone. Then he made the trip from Florence to Sumter to meet her.

It was magic. They became inseparable and after a year or so of serious courting, they tied the knot. This wasn’t the first time I made a romantic match, but it’s surely my proudest.

Here’s the irony of the story. Mickey still had the Playboys, so as he moves in with Pat at her home in Sumter, she now has the magazines back! Nevertheless, she really came out a winner. She got $300 for the magazines, got a new husband, and she got the dreaded magazines back to sell again! Yet, we too were winners getting a wonderful man like Mickey as part of our very close family.

A few years later we were thrilled when Mickey and Pat moved to Myrtle Beach, and guess what? The magazines came with them, as Mickey still had not sold them. Thankfully, he unloaded them to a dealer right after moving here and actually made a profit.

It’s a funny true story, and one that we all enjoy telling to anyone who will listen: How hundreds of Playboy magazines brought two lovebirds together, with a little help from a Yenta…Me!

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One Response to “Yenta Forever”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Dianne,
    Oh my gosh, this is one of the funniest coincidences/stories ever! Those Playboys sure made the rounds.

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