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Fatherly game

Dads and their friends and family members celebrate with softball.

June 21, 2010|By Melanie Hicken
(Tim Berger/News-Press )

When Wendy Reategui and Jim Forrester attended Roosevelt Junior High School in Glendale more than 20 years ago, they were voted "most likely to end up on a desert island together" in the school's yearbook.

When the couple got married years later in a 1999 ceremony in Pasadena, many of the hundreds in attendance were former classmates from Roosevelt Junior High, Glendale High School and other Glendale schools.

On Sunday, the couple gathered with several dozen of those childhood friends and their children for a barbecue and friendly softball game in honor of Father's Day.

"I've been in Glendale my whole life," said Oliver James, whose friends call him "Ollie."

The couple and their friends were some of many area residents who frequented Verdugo Park for the holiday. Groups large and small were scattered throughout the park Sunday afternoon, with many dining on large spreads of food and throwing around footballs.

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Reategui and friends dined on carne asada, while the children ran around spritzing one another with water guns and playing other games before the softball game began.

The friends yelled to one another across the park, affectionately calling out their various childhood nicknames.

Tina Serafica joined the group when she began dating her fiance, Tony Fiorella, who grew up in Glendale. She said they instantly welcomed her into their informal family.

"We all get along so well, always joking," she said. "There is an unlimited amount of memories."

The Father's Day gathering started a few years ago as Reategui's present to her husband, who has played baseball since he was a kid. These days he serves as an assistant coach for their son Aiden's T-ball team.

So Reategui said she planned a surprise softball game for her husband with many of his longtime friends.

And so far, the event has stuck. For this group of friends, the informal gathering stands to be an annual tradition.

"Every Father's Day, Forrester said, "we'll be here."

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