Holiday season

A true Hallmark love story for the holiday season

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Marisa Pedatella’s love story seems straight out of a Hallmark holiday movie.

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But it’s not. This is real life. Yet just like those films that touch our hearts. Pedatella, mother of three beautiful daughters, has an equally poignant, powerful story and longs for that happy ending forever.

Years ago, Pedatella was a beautiful young bride who married her handsome husband, Anthony in what could be described as true fairytale romance: they fell in love instantly as they worked together in a Etobicoke supermarket, got married after graduating from college and had a family, looking forward to a long life together.

But it wasn’t: ten years ago, Anthony tragically died of liver cancer at just 36 years old. Marisa did everything in her power to give her husband a fighting chance, including taking him to Germany for experimental treatments.

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It wasn’t and Marisa, a charming young woman with cascading dark hair and sparkling eyes, learned the challenges of being a young widow with three little daughters and a busy career with Hasbro toys.

The late Anthony Pedatella seated in his favorite car. Photo provided /Marisa Pedatella

The years may have eased the pain, but never the beloved memories of a lost love and assumptions and if only of a tragedy of life. Marisa says Anthony was a very family oriented man. But he had a special passion: he was crazy about his Honda CR-X SI, painted in a unique shade of “saffron orange”. Marisa remembers the two hours spent driving, listening to loud music (Counting Crows being Anthony’s favorite) and planning their lives together.

The car – considered vintage today – was bought over 20 years ago and Anthony sold it 10 years later “for something more family-friendly,” Marisa said.

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Marisa Pédatella.
Marisa Pédatella. Photo provided /Marisa Pedatella

The car became a fond, albeit somewhat painful, memory for Marisa. Until the start of the year, when Anthony’s cousin Julia Riviglia spotted a flash of that unusual saffron color on a car passing in front of her. The brief glimpse opened up a cache of deep memories – and an idea was born: could they find Anthony’s car? Within a week – and thanks in part to social media and the rallying cry “Let’s bring Anthony’s car home!” – the vehicle was actually in the back lot of a Vaughan-based Mobil 1 Lube Express, a different color, covered in snow and most of its parts missing.

“It was like the car was waiting for us,” said Marisa, who when she gently wiped the snow off the car’s rear window and saw the same stickers Anthony had placed 20 years earlier, s almost collapsed under the wave of emotions.

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The store owner, who had bought the vehicle two years earlier, quickly handed the keys to Marisa and, with a smile, said “for you”.

It turns out the vehicle has been through a series of adventures from when Anthony first sold it, having passed through various owners, some pouring thousands into it, while others plundering it for money. rooms.

After the car’s history came out, everyone wanted to help, including complete strangers, to restore it to its original glory. Anthony’s old garage, where he worked, will finish work this spring. Another company, Toronto Auto Firm, located in the west end of the city, reached out to Marisa via social media after reading information about the car’s ride and asked her, “What can we do to help? “

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“I approached Marisa because her story was so deep,” said Sina Pourbagher, owner of the company. First order of business – trace that elusive paint color. After much digging, the company found it – and recently repainted the car to restore it to its glorious old saffron tint. “The moment I saw the car being painted, I saw and felt Anthony. There was such a wave of emotions – I had such an incredible feeling of joy. It was really Anthony. coming back to us, we all felt it.

There is still a way to go, Melissa added, but “we are in the home stretch… Anthony’s dream is coming home.”

Marisa admits that the whole experience was overwhelming, but ultimately ended a love cut short: “I felt Anthony everywhere, in his favorite colors spontaneously appearing in the sky, to the hordes of dragonflies visiting us in the park… it’s like he’s helped make this happen.

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“Please understand that I don’t live with a ghost, but… this whole experience has left me with a deep sense of comfort. “

As for her, happily forever? Marisa smiles: “I am now living my Chapter Two. Three years ago I met a wonderful man and we’ve been together ever since. Surprisingly, his partner, Pat Fiore, has the same interests as the late Anthony, including a love of cars. He was by her side when they both looked at the car being repainted.

“I know it sounds strange, but I think it was Anthony who brought Marisa and me together,” Pat said with a smile. “I told her that on our first date… we’ve been together ever since.”

Much like a Hallmark movie. Only in real life.

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