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Book publisher falls for Post woman

Created date

January 25th, 2010
With torrential rain and battering winds outside, Ashby Ponds Natalie and Franklin (Frank) Margiotta met the sunshine of their lives each other during a chance meeting at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Va. [caption id="attachment_7516" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Frank and Natalie Margiotta met on a stormy night in 1999 when Hurricane Floyd was hitting land. (Photo courtesy of the Margiottas)"][/caption] It was September 16, 1999, the night of Hurricane Floyd, and I was bemoaning having to go out on a blind date, says Natalie. I d been a widow since August 1995 and had dated on and off for four years. I was pretty confident I could be happy as a single woman if that was what life handed me. But I preferred living life with a partner. On that fateful evening, Natalie and her blind date met up with an over-55 professional singles group in the hotel s cocktail lounge. It was there that Natalie first laid eyes on Frank. I liked how he looked not just his appearance, but his warm smile, kind of twinkling blue eyes, full of humor and friendliness, says Natalie. I wanted to talk with him, but I didn t want to be rude to my date. I learned his name was Frank, and, like me, he was originally from northern New Jersey and had recently lost his spouse after a long illness. We chatted across the table briefly before my date and I left. Less than a week later, Frank and Natalie scheduled their own first date, and the two have been together ever since. [caption id="attachment_7517" align="alignright" width="280" caption="The couple wed in the garden of their favorite restaurant in Great Falls, Va., then honeymooned in Italy. (Photo courtesy of the Margiottas)"][/caption] I had reached the stage in my mature dating to play no games, just this is who I am, says Natalie. I tended to be fairly straightforward, comfortable in my conversation, and honest. Frank was the same. He was intelligent, funny, and a gentleman. We clicked immediately. The conversation flowed easily, and we got to know each other quickly. In fact, we were so comfortable, it was as if we d known each other forever.

Bound by publishing

The couple dated for six months, introducing the other to their grown children and learning about each other s lives. I enjoyed a 27-year Air Force career, which included many 24-hour Chrome Dome flights carrying nuclear weapons, says Frank. I also served two exciting tours undercover in civilian clothes in Vietnam and Cambodia. I accumulated about 3,000 hours flying fighters, bombers, and transports. Between his two Vietnam tours, Frank received an M.A. in international relations from Georgetown University, and after his second tour returned home on a competitive MIT scholarship and received his Ph.D. in political science (with honors). He then spent six years at Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, where he held several positions and was named Dean of Faculty and Curriculum in 1977. Frank then completed his Air Force career at the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, D. C. I wore three hats: Director of Research, Director of National Security Affairs Institute, and Publisher of the NDU Press, says Frank. My position at NDU ultimately led to my civilian book publishing career. That civilian career included leading a publishing division of Macmillan books, where he personally published six books in his name and published more than 300 books of others in the fields of politics, international relations, the military, and national defense. Meanwhile, Natalie spent 15 years working at the Washington Post during the Vietnam War, Watergate scandal, and the notorious newspaper strikes of the 1970s. She left the Post in 1986 as personnel manager but continued to work as a consultant until 1994, when she left to take care of her sick husband. Upon his death in 1995, she returned to the Post until her retirement in 1999. When I was first introduced to Natalie s Washington Post colleagues, they liked to refer to me as the man who stole Natalie from the Post, laughs Frank. And steal her away he did. In March 2000, the couple was engaged; two months later, they were married. In 2008, they made another life-changing decision and moved toAshby Ponds. It was time, says Natalie. We were tired of taking care of a house. We looked at a dozen retirement communities in the metropolitan area before deciding onAshby Ponds. We love everything about our new life here. Everyone is friendly, ready to help, ready to chat, and ready to volunteer.

At Ashby Ponds, you ll never be bored

They loveAshby Pondsso much, adds Frank, they volunteer as Resident Ambassadors, introducing new and prospective residents to the community and inviting them into their apartment home. Recently, Natalie was elected to the Resident Advisory Council and serves as chair of the Philanthropy Committee, where she works diligently to promote the Scholars Fund, Benevolent Care Fund, and Staff Appreciation Fund. AtAshby Ponds, there are many activities available to choose from, says Natalie. You ll never be bored or alone. Last February, I started a monthly Women s Out to Lunch program. Anywhere from 25 45 women participate each month. Most importantly, living atAshby Pondsenables the Margiottas to spend quality time together, without the stress of taking care of a house. This month, they will celebrate their second Valentine s Day atAshby Ponds. We just really like each other, says Natalie. We share many interests, but we also have separate interests. We are the same and we are different. He is Mr. Chaos (he prefers Mr. Creative); I am Ms. Organization. And together, they re a perfect match.