From wild guy to mild guy KIM BRISTOW AND JEFF FILANDRO

Just Married

July 19, 1998|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Jeff Filandro was the guy nobody thought Kim Bristow should date.

Brash and outspoken, with a love for gambling, partying and golf, in that order, Jeff paid so little attention during his first year at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia that he had to repeat the classes in summer school.

Kim, on the other hand, was quiet and studious, straight-laced and family-oriented. "She was this little geek who was always at the top of her class," teases good friend Kendall Herschler, who persuaded Kim to attend the optometry college with her.

All three began attending the school in August 1993, but it wasn't until November of that year - when the class broke into study groups to cram for final exams - that Jeff and Kim were introduced. Jeff says now that he was struck by Kim from the beginning and got information about her from classmates. But, ever the slick operator, he pretended he had never noticed her so that they would be formally introduced and he could engage her in conversation.

Kim and Jeff spent most of that first evening talking and studying. Kim says she was intrigued by his quick wit but "quite taken aback" by his cockyattitude.

Kim earned an A on the exam and Jeff got a D-, "but if it wasn't for me that would've been an F," Kim says, laughing.

A friendship was born. At the time, Kim was in a long-term relationship that seemed to be dying a slow and painful death. Jeff was playing the field, squeezing dates in around his frequent trips to Atlantic City.

In December, both Kim and Jeff - and their dates - went to the Eye Ball, the optometry school's annual winter dance. The sight of Jeff dressed up - "tall, dark and handsome" - proved too difficult for Kim to resist.

She and her boyfriend broke up, and she and Jeff began dating soon after. She waited until April 1994 to introduce him to her parents, Renee and Chuck Bristow of Glen Burnie. Her dad, who had liked her previous boyfriend, immediately thought the free-spirited Jeff was "too wild" for his oldest daughter.

And if Kim's parents were unimpressed, her friends were just short of horrified. Early on in their relationship, Jeff stood Kim up 15 Friday nights in row, opting instead to go gambling in Atlantic City. "She'd cry all weekend long waiting for him to come home," remembers Kendall, a bit of exasperation still evident in her voice.

"Jeff required much training," Kim recalls mock-ruefully as Jeff laughs. In his own defense, Jeff says he never had the time for or interest in a seriousrelationship until Kim came along.

Kim's "constant nagging," as Kendall calls it, eventually taught Jeff the many errors of his ways. "Now he's like butter in her hands," Kendall saysadmiringly.

As for Jeff, he revels in his calmer, more settled existence. "Kim is the sweetest, completest, most perfectest person I've ever met," he says with a grin.

In 1997, at the awards banquet held just before Kim and Jeff's graduation - as all of their friends, classmates and professors looked on - Jeff proposed.

Kim, 25, is an optometrist in Wilmington, Del. Jeff, 27, is an associate optometrist working in Abington, Rising Sun and Wilmington, Del.

On July 11, Kim and Jeff were married at St. Clement's Church in Lansdowne - the same church where Kim's parents were married 26 years ago.

After the ceremony - with Kim's mom and dad, Jeff's parents, Peter and Marie Filandro of Newark, Del., and 130 guests joining them - the couple held their reception at Turf Valley Country Club in Ellicott City. Led by Kim's great-grandmother, 88-year-old Jose McFarland, the couple participated in a number of wedding traditions that reflect Kim's Polish heritage.

Perhaps most significant for these two opposites who no one thought should get together was the partaking of bread and wine. The ritual offers the wish that the couple never know hunger or thirst - and that their life together be spiced with happiness.

Pub Date: 7/19/98

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