Westchester Couples Who Married Former High School Sweethearts or Longtime Friends: Lorri and Rick Venturi

White Plains residents Lorri and Rick Venturi were picture-perfect high-school sweethearts, growing up in New Castle, Pennsylvania, in the 1970s: he, tall, dark and handsome; she, petite, blonde, and winsome. “We were just two young kids who did the prom thing in junior and senior year,” says Rick, today 57. Though their relationship survived challenges, like Rick teaching Lorri to drive a stick shift, they drifted apart when they went to college. “Different schools, new friends, we were young and moving on with our lives—it just happened to be in two different directions,” says Lorri, also 57. “There were certainly no hurt feelings.”

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Their families didn’t take the breakup quite as well. Before Rick married the first time, his father told him he was marrying the wrong woman. “He loved Lorri dearly,” Rick says. And Lorri’s mother confided to a cousin that she wished Lorri had married Rick.

Romance wasn’t on the agenda when Rick decided to contact Lorri, whom he hadn’t seen in nearly 30 years. In the interim, they had pursued careers, relocated for jobs (he to Chicago, she to Manhattan), and married other people. Rick, who has two adult children, admits that he occasionally wondered what their lives might have been like if he and Lorri hadn’t broken up. But mostly, he was curious about what she had done with her life, and hoped to find out some day. Lorri, on the other hand, wasn’t as curious. “Other than a few updates from home, such as when his father passed away, I hadn’t thought of him.”

Photo by Michael Polito

Lorri and Rick Venturi today.

Rick and Lorri Venturi in 1973, before their senior prom.

In the late ’90s, Rick began making frequent business trips from Pittsburgh, his home base at the time, to New York, and, before one such journey, he asked his mother to call Lorri’s mother to get her phone number. Lorri was surprised to hear from Rick—pleasantly surprised. “Except for a few extra pounds—and a few gray hairs,” Lorri says, neither felt they’d changed too drastically. Her hair was shorter than before, but she knew she could pick Rick out by his six-foot-five frame. They met at Manhattan’s Capsouto Frères for dinner and “nonstop chatting between two old friends, catching up on thirty years of life,” she says. “I was truly happy to hear what was happening in his life.” From then on, she says, “We would get together for a drink two or three times a year, to reminisce and laugh about high school days.”

After several years of occasionally meeting, “We were both having marriage problems and we realized what was going on in our lives was almost identical,” Rick says. Each eventually divorced, and, after one of their Manhattan get-togethers, the couple kissed goodnight for the first time since they were old enough to vote.

Rick and Lorri back in 1973.

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“I fell hard,” Rick says, “and our relationship blossomed quickly after that.” The following Christmas, Lorri went to Pennsylvania with him to celebrate the holidays with his family. “I saw all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins again for the first time since high school,” she says “This time around, it was like coming home; it was as if I had never left. The entire family welcomed me with open arms. We picked up where we left off—only thirty years later.”
Though Lorri and Rick hadn’t stayed in touch, their lives had evolved along similar paths. Both work in sales, are close to their extended families, and like living in metropolitan areas. “We both love to golf, enjoy the same kinds of food—there are just so many things,” Lorri says.

Not too long after that kiss, they were living together in Yonkers. In 2010, after about four years together, they bought a house in White Plains and married later that year. “We have common values, interests, likes, and opinions,” Rick says. “We have a blast together. I’ve never encountered someone I click with so naturally. It’s our fate; we were meant to be together.”

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