by Debbie Tuma
My friend Kim and I wandered down the Montauk docks to Josephine’s Restaurant one Saturday night in early fall, as a way to distract ourselves from the pain of our recent breakups with our boyfriends.
“It’s comedy night tonight, and I could use a good laugh,” said Kim.
It turned out that the comedians were really good, and one of them had even worked with one of my favorite funny men, Kevin James of “King of Queens” fame. Josephine’s, the former O’Murphy’s Restaurant, had a decent crowd at the bar and at tables, especially for the off-season. Which everyone knows is the worst time to break up out here, just before winter!
While Kim ran into some friends she knew, I was drowning my sorrows in a glass of Chardonnay at the bar, when a handsome couple walked in and sat next to me. They looked to be in their 50’s, and were dressed in a casual, outdoorsy kind of way.
I overheard the woman, Geraldine Brown Giomblanco, say that she had just come back from her book signing, across the street at Lynn’s Hula Hut, by the Montauk Marine Basin. I couldn’t help but ask her what her book was about, and she replied that it was a memoir, about her 30-year search for the right man, and how she held to hope and faith to carry her through many wrong relationships, and hold out for Mr. Right. The theme of the book was about her close personal and spiritual relationship with her Italian grandmother, Rosaria Gentile, who called her “Geraldina,” and believed in the love of God and the power of prayer. Rosaria also loved roses, her namesake, which is an ongoing theme of the book. Along the path of her life, Geraldine had followed the rose and other miraculous signs given to her by her grandmother, and also by others in her life, including a psychic, a gigolo, guardian angels and saints, a U.S. President, and a string of unsuitable boyfriends. While managing a long corporate career as VP of Marketing for shopping malls around the country, traveling on business sometimes 200 days a year, she refused to settle for what did not make her truly happy.
As a hopeless romantic and admittedly, even curiously addicted to dating shows like “The Bachelor,” and “Married at First Sight,” I was intrigued by her story, and was even wondering if just meeting this couple was a sign for me! I noticed that Geraldine and her husband, Mark Giomblanco, a former IBM executive, looked radiant and happy, as they ordered some apps and bought me a drink. When I told them why Kim and I had come to the bar, they gave us each a book…, titled, “Geraldina & the Compass Rose—One Woman’s Faith Filled Journey to Find Love.” And there’s Geraldine on the cover, sitting on the beach, staring at a sunlit sea.
Geraldine was a strong, brilliant career woman who had taken many risks in job changes and relocations around the country, and also risks in her romantic life, having ended engagements, having moved away, and having ended situations she did not think were right for her. This book is also about how she relied on her deep intuition and her faith for guidance along an exciting and sometimes rocky path to love and success. Throughout the book, Geraldine writes candidly about all her past relationships, with honesty and openness, in hopes of sharing her story to help others find their true love, or their “True North.”
As I talked to this couple (so many coincidences on a Saturday night at the docks), it was heart-warming to learn that Mark and Geraldine had finally met on a blind date in Montauk, on his boat, which was docked across the street at Sportsman’s Dock Marina. She was 50, lived in Scarsdale, and had never been married. He was 51, divorced and living summers on his boat and winters on the Connecticut shore. Neither had children, and they were fixed up by a mutual friend. But when you read the book, you will see that there were so many coincidences and so much serendipity in their eventual meeting—which is the magic of relationships!! And they have now been married for four years, living happily in Connecticut and Montauk, where they take their 45-foot Viking boat, aptly named “Geraldina.”
I enjoyed reading about how they fell in love in Montauk, like so many couples…and the book makes reference to all the places they dated…Inlet Restaurant, The Lighthouse and Camp Hero, Bird on the Roof Restaurant, Salivar’s, The Dock Restaurant….I believe many people—both local and summer–can relate to this! Needless to say, Kim and I devoured it in a few days, and recommend it to all the searchers out there.
Geraldine Brown Giomblanco is an inspirational speaker, author, and life coach, who has since left the corporate world to help others find their “True North” in life. “Geraldina & the Compass Rose” is available anywhere books are sold. Geraldine will be doing a book talk at RJ Julia’s in Madison, CT (the sister store to Book Hampton) on October 16, 2019, and also at a later date in the Hamptons. You can visit her website at www.gbgbooks.com