Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Destined Hutchinson School sweethearts married in October after losing touch for 38 years and reconnecting in 2018

They were paired to walk down the aisle at the 1978 Hutchinson Elementary School graduation. They were paired again in October at their wedding 43 years in the making.

In July 2019, John McClernan wrote to the Pelham Examiner to tell a story of a school-days friendship lost and a reconnection made after almost four decades. He was Maria Petti-Rozycki’s first crush in Hutchinson but then lost touch with her when he moved away from Pelham at age 13. They found each other again on Facebook in 2018 and talked on phone.

A trip to Lake George followed. “I knew that day and night, in Lake George, I had found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with,” McClernan wrote in his July 22, 2019 letter to editor. “A year later and I still cannot believe that the girl I knew from Pelham and went to school with would be the love of my life.”

This autumn their story of happy destiny got even happier: More than 45 years after their Hutch graduation, the two were married in October, surrounded by 80 friends and family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“It was a beautiful ceremony and a beautiful reception,” said Maria McClernan in an interview.

She said the day before that elementary school graduation years before, mutual friend Liz Roche revealed Maria’s crush on John. At their wedding ceremony, Roche was the one to read a poem about destiny. “So we had the girl who set everything in motion come and do a reading for us at our wedding,” Maria McClernan said. “She traveled from Rhode Island to see us and be part of the wedding.”

Even before their marriage, the couple, who first met as Hutch second graders in 1974, made up the time they lost by building a life together starting with that Lake George trip in 2018.

After two years of dating and constant travel between New York and South Carolina, they decided to move in together. Just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the now McClernans built a house in Conway, South  Carolina, from the ground up and moved in together in July 2020.

In their married life, the two plan to take up travel and find ways to incorporate family into their daily lives. Before reconnecting with Maria, John was busy taking care of his parents, who suffered from poor health. He had not been married before.

“We invested in a house together, but she gave me a home and a family,” said John McClernan. “Now a family has dropped into my lap and welcomed me with open arms. I hate using these terms because they sound cliche and corny, but it couldn’t be more perfect. It couldn’t have fit more perfectly. Everything lined up and it was beautiful. I feel like I found my best friend and I married her.”

Or as he signed off his letter to the editor four and half years ago: “Love > Hate.”

Read the Pelham Examiner’s 2019 story about the McClernan’s reunion here.


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About the Contributor
Lark Martin, Deputy Executive Editor
Lark is a sophomore at Pelham Memorial High School. Previously, she was an A & E editor on the Colonial Times. Lark also loves field hockey, horseback riding, mac and cheese and playing piano and French horn.

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