The dress was white, but everything else about Dottie Fideli's wedding was far from traditional.
Fideli has been divorced for decades, but the 76-year-old, soon to be 77, has been the life of the party for her whole life. Described as a costume-wearing, attention-getting, forever-caring friend who is "very loving and "always in a great mood," Fideli seemed endlessly vivacious and confident - but the bubbly exterior was hiding a deeper insecurity.
Fideli saw a different version of herself when she looked in the mirror.
She felt like "a little dummy," Fideli said. "I couldn't read. And people have conversations and I would have to stay out of them because I didn't understand."
The frustration eventually became too much, and Fideli began teaching herself to read at 75. It took almost two years of nightly practice, but as Fideli says, "practice makes perfect."
Now, Fideli has conquered her illiteracy — and with that victory, she began to see herself the way the rest of the world did. It was reading that helped her find love again, a love like she'd never known: the love of self.
So, last month, Fideli tied the knot with herself in a sweet ceremony at the O'Bannon Terrace Retirement Home in Goshen, Ohio, where she lives.
While the ceremony obviously wasn't a real wedding, Fideli said she meant it as a serious reminder that before one could share love, you first have to find it within yourself.
Master that, Fideli said, "and you'll find out it's all a bed of roses."
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