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Hardly friends in high school, now they’re hitched

Friday, October 12, 2007 | 3:00 p.m. CDT; updated 5:40 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Linda and Steve Wolf get cozy on the couch of their refuribished farm house in Mexico, Mo on Oct. 3. The two redid floors, knocked down walls and added a deck to make the home just "more comfortable" according to Linda.

They had one, maybe two classes together, but Linda Hylas and Steve Wolf never really hit it off in high school.

“I took choir. Steve took all the smart-people classes,” she said.

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Post-high school, they moved away from their hometown of Mexico, Mo. — he to Texas and she to Florida.

In 2005, organizers of a class reunion contacted Steve about tracking down classmates. He took the list and made some calls to past no-shows — including Linda Hylas.

“I called her the next day at work and she blew me off,” Steve said

“I did not!”

“Naw, I’m teasing.”

“Can I tell my side now?”

“Please.”

“Sounds like we’ve been married a whole lot longer, doesn’t it?”Steve was a high school principal and Linda was working at the Tupperware world headquarters in Florida when he called.

“I was hosting a one-day sale for people who worked there,” Linda said. “I had a line of people from the cash register all the way out the door when Steve called me.” Though it had been seven years since she last heard his voice, her first words after “Hi” were, “Can I call you back?”

She did.

“After we talked that day, we exchanged e-mail addresses,” Linda said. “To get reacquainted, we would send each other little questionnaires.”

One subject that could have doomed the couple was sports. Steve asked Linda to rank her favorites.

“My least favorite? Baseball. His number one favorite? Baseball. It’s a miracle that didn’t end the relationship right there,” she said.

Another deal-breaker could have been Linda’s herd of cats.

“She told me she had a high-strung Sheltie and two cats,” Steve said. “Cats were not part of my childhood. Never had one, never wanted one, never liked them.

“So I go to St. Louis to pick her up at the airport and first thing after she says after a hello is, ‘I need to tell you about Walter and Victoria.’ I’m thinking, ‘Oh, there’s cousins or uncles or co-workers to meet.’

“No. Walter and Victoria were cats number three and four.”

Soon, their phone calls and visits were more than just a catch-up session between old classmates.

“We knew it was more than, ‘Let’s plan the next high school reunion,’” Linda said. So the two began with a mission — marriage, job-hunting and announcing their quiet engagement.

But sending out wedding invitations stirred up a ruckus in the small town.

“No one believed it,” Steve said. “It became this urban legend. I had waited until I was 50 to get married.”

Linda knew she was up against some hefty expectations.

“All of his friends had been waiting for him to get married, and it had never happened,” Linda said. “They were all waiting for this big event.”

Now, living in a remodeled farmhouse (“The first time he visited, I made him help me paint”), the two are surrounded by a collection of pets — including Linda’s cats.

Even Steve beams with pride now when he brags that one cat is able to stand on her hind legs and turn a doorknob.

“I still ask, ‘What made you call me?’” Linda said. “I think he always thought about me, because when we would see each other every several years it was so comfortable and just so nice talking to him. When we picked up the phone, it was like a long-lost friend on the end of the line.”

When the two ended up back in Mexico together, childhood friends weren’t surprised.

“The friends we mutually have — who were our friends 20 or 30 years ago, say, ‘Oh yeah. Perfect match,’” Steve said.

“They saw it all along.”


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Comments

Elephant decoy October 13, 2007 | 12:03 p.m.

Come on Linda, act like a wife. Tell him to keep his dirty feet off the coffee table. Also put him on a diet, he has more chins than he has hairs on his head.

(Report Comment)
Green Man October 13, 2007 | 12:23 p.m.

How do I find a "refuribished" farm house with "redid" floors. Are these common in hillbilly country?

(Report Comment)
manuel labor October 14, 2007 | 10:26 a.m.

Si, I always love a story where the Mexicans end up back in Mexico. It reminds me of deportation.

(Report Comment)
Tim Raine October 15, 2007 | 11:38 a.m.

I know the trend in print media today is declining circulation. This seems a desparate attempt to cultivate a wider circulation net. This is a nice story in Mexico. Can't they find anybody from Hickman or Rockbridge?

(Report Comment)
Mike Swanson October 15, 2007 | 12:19 p.m.

There he is...still showing championship form...Spring Break '85--belly flop champion, up & down the gold coast...Fort Lauderdale, FL.

(Report Comment)
manuel labor October 15, 2007 | 9:45 p.m.

senor Tim Raine, Do you not know that Mexicans are the fastest growing minority in America. We are soon to get amnesty for illegally entering this great country. God Bless The Democratic Congress. This will make us all citizens. This great paper is reaching out to its future, the Hispanic population. It is Good for America to write stories about these proud future citizens from Mexico. God Bless the Columbia Missourian, God Bless America, God Bless Babe Ruth.

(Report Comment)
speed e gonzalez October 16, 2007 | 10:30 p.m.

ola senor steve. I see your dog and cats, but where are your chickens, chihuahuas and your burros? you are not in Mexico compadre. you and linda may have drank tequila when you said I do but you will need plenty of pesos if you decide you don't.

(Report Comment)

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