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Christmas Parade Magic...Kathleen and Bob Mest

By John Grossi

Kathleen had just moved to Long Beach in August of 2003, and was ready to meet new people and try new things. Her cousin’s friend owned Chris Elliot Portrait Studio on 2nd Street and invited her to watch the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade. Bob, who had lived in Long Beach for 20 years, ever since attending Cal State Long Beach, was also invited by a friend of a friend to the Christmas party and parade. Kathleen immediately caught Bob’s eye. They talked a lot that night; then he asked for her number. She figured one date couldn’t hurt…


The First Date

When they spoke later that week, Bob suggested they meet at Cafe Piccolo, and Kathleen responded, “That’s exactly what I was going to say!” After dinner, they walked around looking at Christmas lights in Bluff Park and continued talking. “For our second date, we walked downtown for dinner at Gazella (now Padre) from her place in Alamitos Beach,” remembers Bob. “After dinner, we were wandering up and down Pine Street when we saw an empty shuttle bus for the Queen Mary so we grabbed a ride. At the Queen Mary, we wandered all around the ship until a night guard caught us on the top deck and told us we weren’t allowed up there. Kathleen was mortified, but I thought it was funny.”

The Rest is History...

At the next year’s Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, Chris Elliot Portrait Studio sponsored a float, and invited the two lovebirds who had met at their studio to be on it! A year and a half later, Bob and Kathleen got married downtown at the Madison restaurant in the old bank on First and Pine just across the street from the shuttle bus stop from their second date. They have two children, 12 and 14, who both attend Long Beach schools.


Date Ideas from Kathleen and Bob

• Walk around the Queen Mary and enjoy the views.

• Eat dinner at a local Long Beach restaurant.

• Partake in the holiday traditions around Long Beach.

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