When Kari Met Burt…

On a warm summer day in 1962, I was walking up Montgomery Street in San Francisco’s financial district.  It was the same route I walked everyday on my way to a boring temp job I had recently taken to supplement my modeling income.  Except this particular time I couldn’t help but notice a young group of guys in business suits sitting in the window of a coffee shop.  One of them was smiling at me!  He had a crooked Steve McQueen grin and was looking pretty sharp in a Savoy-style pin-striped suit.  I smiled back, friendly but non-committal, and just kept walking.

Then it happened again the next day.

And the day after that.

It became a regular thing, a running “smile” between two strangers as I passed by.

Finally, one day, I decided to stop.  I popped into the coffee shop to get a take-out coffee.  In an instant the suit/smile was at my side.  He introduced himself as Burt Mugavero, said he was a Stockbroker for Reynolds & Company, claimed it was his birthday that day, June 15th, and asked me to lunch.  I happened to spot a ring on his hand that had a small diamond in it, so I politely demurred (it turned out to be, not a wedding band, but his deceased father’s Elks Ring).  But without missing a beat, or losing an ounce of confidence, he gave me his business card and said he hoped I would change my mind…  Which I did…  Later that same day (I know! So hard to get 😉 ) when I called and told him I would meet him at Marconi’s after work.

Two weeks later we were engaged, and six weeks after that we were in Squaw Valley on the eve of getting married!

My sister, Mary Ann, was my matron-of-honor and we were staying at a motel in Squaw near the beautiful A-frame church (made entirely of leaded glass panels) where the wedding was scheduled for the next day.  Burt was staying in Lake Tahoe with his Best Man where the reception was to take place.  Separated, and with time to think, I was suddenly stricken with anxiety and panic.  I sent word there was a problem and Burt rushed over to see me.  Mary Ann conveniently left so we could talk alone.  I told him we were moving much, much too fast and I couldn’t possibly marry him.  He started pacing the floor.  Not saying anything…just pacing. Then he reached into his pocket, pulled out a white satin-covered matchbook and said “Look!  It has our names on it – Burt and Kari inside a heart with the date, August 11th!!”  I looked at the matchbook, looked at him, looked at the matchbook again and found myself nodding: “Oh, yeah…you’re right.  I guess if the matches are printed we better go through with it.”

It was a gorgeous day with a wide-open blue sky and the church was sparkling in the sun as we said our vows.  After the ceremony, out on the deck of the church, Burt did a double-click with his heels way up high in the air while everyone applauded and laughed with joy.

Look at this great shot and check out the Minister’s reaction (in the white collar)…

Then we all went on to Lake Tahoe for our reception at a lovely home on the lake, where our wedding picture at the top of this blog was taken.

And yes, amazingly, somehow, we lived happily ever after for 50 years!

He promised I would never be bored and he kept his promise.



  1. Linda says:

    This brings back great memories with you and Burt

    1. Kari Mugavero says:

      Me too! Thanks for reading my blog. It brought him back to me too. What a guy!!

  2. Robb says:

    Great stuff

  3. Debbie Snow says:

    Kari, your post made me smile so big and tear up same time. Love you and thanks for sharing.

    1. Kari Mugavero says:

      Oh Debbie! We have shared so many good memories and didn’t he keep us all smiling! Best!!

  4. Margie Rivers says:

    Just love your love story of you & Uncle Burt!

    1. Sondra Hasl says:

      That is a beautiful story!! No, I can imagine you were never bored! Burt couldn’t help but put a smile on your face and make you laugh out loud. Sure miss him!

  5. Rosemary Mossa says:

    That is the best love story, really enjoyed reading it

    1. Kari says:

      Hi Rosemary, Thanks for the wonderful comment! I am so pleased that you are checking out my blog.
      Please keep tuning in. My best wishes to you and your family!! kari

  6. Melanie sheffer says:

    What a beautiful love story.
    Cant wait to hear more!!
    We miss you and uncle burt!

    1. Kari Mugavero says:

      Hi Melanie! I miss him every day. So nice of you to check out my blog. Keep tuning in, there will be more Burt stories for sure. He gave me lots of material 🙂
      I am happy we are connected and I send my good wishes to you and all the family.

  7. Christy Zarlengo says:

    Keep your blog posts coming, Kari, really enjoying following you! XX

  8. Kari Mugavero says:

    Thanks Christy! This is all so new for me as I never even checked out Facebook so am a novice at all this but it is wonderful for you to take the time and leave a nice comment. My best to you too. Please say hello to Sandy, I hope she is doing well.

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    1. Maria says:

      You were so wonderful together Kari!

  10. Morgan Blanco says:

    I love your blog and love this love story! We miss Burt

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