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NEIGHBORS : In Love Again : Brought back together after 27 years by a mutual interest in tile grout, these two will wed.


Sure Valentine's Day was a week ago, but it's never too late for a romantic story--particularly when it involves grout.

The magical day was nearly one year ago, March 6, 1990, to be exact.

Interior designer Sandra Senate was in her Westlake Village office when in walked Larry Funderberg, a tile setter.

He had dropped by to select some grout for a tile job he was doing for another designer in the office.

Senate and Funderberg didn't recognize each other, but each one sensed something familiar about the other.

"It was real strange. As soon as I looked at him we both smiled. There was something warm," said Senate.

She asked him his name and when he told her, "instantly I started shaking just like a little kid. I covered my face and couldn't talk."

Senate managed to compose herself enough to hand Funderberg her business card, with her maiden name printed on it.

He began to shake too.

Why the reaction? The two did know each other.

In fact they dated each other 27 years earlier, when she was 15 and he was 20, and hadn't seen each other since.

"Neither of us ever forgot the other one," Senate said.

"There were different times I thought about calling him over the years, but then I thought it had been too much time. I didn't know what he was doing or if I would be interrupting something."

Though both had been previously married, neither Senate nor Funderberg was spoken for when they met in Senate's office.

Funderberg asked Senate to dinner and the romance began anew.

And things have gone pretty well--they plan to be married June 1.

Just one question: Did Funderberg find the grout he needed?

"Yes," Senate said. "And I've given him a lot of tile jobs since then. In fact, I got tile put in myself."

In the category of better late than never, the winner is--The Magnificent Moorpark Melodrama and Vaudeville Co.

On Saturday the theater company will be handing out the first Lindy Awards, its planned-to-be-annual version of the Tony Awards.

The catch is that these awards are for performances during the group's 1989 season.

The ceremony was originally scheduled for last September, but preparations weren't completed in time.

"We wanted to do it right. We wanted it to be classy, not to be mocking," publicist Christina Inloes said. "I would assume they are going to do it by the year from now on, but we have to survive this one first."

The black-tie optional event is supposed to resemble a Hollywood gala, with search lights, celebrities and other glitz.

So far, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Flip Wilson have committed to attend.

Tickets are $25 per person with a portion of the proceeds going to Childhelp U.S.A., an organization that aids neglected and abused children.

For information, call 529-1212.

So how'd they get the name Lindy?

From combining the names of Linda and Harvey Bedemann, the owners of the Moorpark Melodrama theater.

Guess it's better than calling the award a Larva.

Good news for fans of the Mission Cantina in Ventura: The restaurant is scheduled to reopen within the two next weeks after being closed nearly two months for remodeling.

And what a remodeling job it was--even the name of the restaurant was changed.

It's now Marion's Terrace Gardens (By the Sea) and instead of Mexican cuisine, the restaurant will feature an international selection.

Who's Marion, you ask?

"The restaurant is named after my wife," said owner Nick Nicholson. "She's going to be the maitre d' because she's always there fussing around anyway."

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