Susan Clark Porter Finger Lakes Times
WEEDSPORT – As young people in their twenties, Julie Ortolani and Lynn “Bart” Chuley fell in love with each other, dating for about five years before going their separate ways in 1985.
The two recently reunited in Cayuga County with a different kind of fall – a parachute jump 10,000 feet in the air.
It’s not a typical way to spend an afternoon with someone you haven’t seen in 36 years, but you certainly avoid the chatter when you scurry through the air in freefall.
Ortolani, who graduated from Waterloo High School in 1977, lives in the outskirts of Rochester in Greece. Widowed, she has two children and three grandchildren. Chuley graduated from Mynderse Academy in 1973 and calls Pompano Beach, Florida his home. Divorced, he has an adult daughter.
The couple met at the old College Inn in Seneca Falls in 1980 and dated for about five years – sometimes long-distance, as Chuley moved to Florida in 1983.
They reconnected at the end of last year when Ortolani reached out to Chuley and has spent the past six months talking on the phone, catching up, getting to know each other again.
“A lot has happened,” Chuley said.
For Ortolani, contacting her former lover was motivated by a need for closure. She said that after her husband died in 2018, it took her “a good year to feel normal”. She also felt compelled to live her life without sadness or anger and reached out to Chuley to better understand their breakup and find out what he was doing.