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LYNN NEARY, host:

Time now for StoryCorps. Today, how two families became one.

Dot Romano married Ronnie Campi in the early 1960s. When they met, Dot was divorced and raising a child alone. Ronnie was a widower and father of five. One of his daughters, Kim, recently asked Dot about their blended family.

Ms. DOT ROMANO: A friend that I work with said to me, oh, Dot, you got to meet this great guy, just recently widowed and he's lonely. And I said okay. So we met. He said he was looking for a mother for his five kids. I said to him, don't look at me, what do I want with five more kids? But I fell hard and deep.

And several people said to me, you're marrying this guy and he's got five kids? What are you, crazy? And I said, well, I love him so much, I'll learn to love those kids. And then as the marriage progressed, I used to tell him quite often, you know, Ronnie, you're lucky I had these kids 'cause I never would have stayed here without them.

Ms. KIM CAMPI: Do you remember when you first met me?

Ms. ROMANO: Yes, and I don't know if you'll remember this. But you and David used to call me lady. It was lady, lady. And one of the cutest things was, you used to say to me, you know, lady, my mother had red shoes. Do you remember that?

Ms. CAMPI: I do remember that.

Ms. ROMANO: And so we have the five Campi kids. I had one daughter, and then we had three together. And I remember always saying, I want to be a mother, not a stepmother. So that's why we didn't say, well, that's your mom and that's your dad. You know, it's: this is my mother, this is my father.

And just recently someone said to me that they love coming into my house and looking at those nine pictures over the piano. And they would say, which one is yours, which ones are Ronnie's, and which ones are the ones you had together? And I got to tell you, a lot of people don't know where one family starts and the other one ends.

And you know, I wish that I could've made my first marriage a success. But when I think about that, I think, gee, all I would have is Mona, and look what I have now.

(Soundbite of music)

NEARY: Dot and Kim Campi at StoryCorps in New York City. Their interview will be archived at the Library of Congress.

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