A Happy Little Accident


 They had the right train, but the wrong station. A couple walks into a house for a friend’s dinner party. Seeing some familiar faces, they shake hands and greet each other. All was well. Until a few minutes in, the couple learns—they were in the wrong house. But in one of those “only in Rockaway stories,” this mishap ended with some true Rockaway hospitality, lots of laughs, and some new friendships formed.

On Sunday, July 25, local resident John Reinhardt and his wife, Patrice Gay-Reinhardt, were invited by Tara and Mike Endall for a pizza night. “We picked up some ice cream on the way, and since it’s so tough finding parking on the weekends, we parked close by in a friend’s driveway. I had never been to the Endall’s house, but I had dropped them off before, so I recognized it. It had the right house number. I saw Jen Mollaghan in the kitchen, who is the sister of Tara Endall, so I walked in with the ice cream in hand and began saying hello,” Reinhardt said. What they didn’t know at the time was that they weren’t at the Endall home, but rather the home of Marty and Kerry Charles—a semi-attached house with almost an identical design and the same house number—but on the wrong block. The Charles family just happened to be having a dinner night with friends as well. “They’re looking at each other wondering, what the heck are they doing here, trying to figure out who invited us and didn’t tell them,” Reinhardt said. “But Marty says, “How about a beer?”

“At first I knew something was wrong because he was shocked to see me,” Marty Charles said. “He probably thought, ‘How does Marty know Mike?’ But I knew John and he came in with a bunch of ice cream and I’m a fat guy. I said, ‘you can come here anytime.’” However, it was within a few minutes after greeting everyone that the Reinhardts started to realize something was amiss.

Meanwhile, the Endalls were beginning to wonder where their guests were. “We were waiting for about an hour and thought they were running late. But that’s typical, you know, Rockaway time, everybody is late, so we didn’t think much of it,” Tara Endall said.

At the Charles house, a revelation was made. “I realized I didn’t see the hosts,” Reinhardt said.  “Then I didn’t see pizza on the counter. I saw a full course pasta meal being prepared. I thought maybe they were out in the yard or something.” As he curiously wondered about his friends, Reinhardt asked, “Where is Tara and Mike?” Kerry Charles replied, “Oh, they live on the next block.” “Huh?” Reinhardt replied. Kerry Charles explained, “You have the right address—but the wrong block.”

Hilarity ensued. “You can imagine the roaring of laughter in the room,” Reinhardt said. “It was so funny,” Patrice Gay-Reinhardt said. “It looked like we belonged there. They were having a family dinner and we walked right in with dessert. Meanwhile, Tara was wondering where we are.”

After a good laugh, the Reinhardts snapped a group photo with the Charles family and their guests, including Tara’s sister, Jen. “I get a text from my sister of a picture of John and Patrice at Kerry and Marty’s house. My sister just happened to be there. Kerry is her best friend. I was very confused when I got it. I said, ‘what, did Kerry and Marty steal my friends?” They soon realized that their guests had gone to the wrong house.

Despite some minor embarrassment, the Reinhardts and Charles’ made the best of the situation. “John is such a nice guy, so we figured it was harmless,” Marty Charles said. “I sat down, relaxed, and we were watching sports and talking about the Olympics with the guys while Patrice was in the kitchen with the girls,” Reinhardt said. Charles added, “He had met my father-in-law, who is a colorful guy and used to own a business in Brooklyn where he lived, so they had a visit down memory lane." Marty Charles explained that he had known John Reinhardt from back in the day. “Last time I saw him, I used to have a house in the Hamptons, and he would come out there in the ‘80s. It had been a while since I regularly saw him but had heard he moved to Rockaway.” That rumor was confirmed when Reinhardt sat down in his living room.  “It was as if we knew each other for a hundred years. We figured, let’s sit down and have a good time. We laughed so much and made the best of it. We’ll always remember this,” Reinhardt said.

“In true Rockaway fashion, they were treated wonderfully by great hosts. There are hospitable people down here,” Tara Endall said. The Charles family even invited them to stick around.  “I said, if you want to stay and eat, there’s always plenty of food,” Marty Charles said. But the Reinhardt’s eventually continued on to their initial destination of the Endall home. “We had to take their ice cream out of the fridge and give it back to them, which as a fat guy, deeply hurt,” Charles said. There’s hope for Marty. “We might stop by and bring ice cream again,” Reinhardt said.

Eventually the Reinhardts wound up at the right place. “They showed up at my house with the ice cream all melted. I said, ‘you could’ve left the ice cream at Kerry’s house.’ They said they didn’t want to come empty handed,” Mike Endall said. Despite the strange number of coincidences, from a similar looking house with the same house number, to Tara’s sister being at the home, which contributed to the honest mistake, Mike Endall said that this isn’t Reinhardt’s first time making such a mistake. “Recently, there was a communion party at the Knights of Columbus and John didn’t look close at the invitation, so he walked into the Yacht Club and walked up to the bar and had a drink and sat with the wrong people. They’re very fly by the seat of your pants people,” Mike Endall said.

Luckily this innocent mishap had a good outcome. A new friendship was made. “Kerry says ‘we can’t wait to see our new besties’” Gay-Reinhardt said. John Reinhardt decided to share the story on social media, which garnered many comments from people laughing over the situation and sharing similar stories. “It just says a lot about Rockaway. There were comments from people who moved, saying that’s what they miss most about Rockaway. It’s good people and this great spirit of fun and life. It’s just this different environment,” Reinhardt said.

All involved agree. “This is an awesome neighborhood. People are welcoming and it’s a great way to meet new friends,” Charles said.

“This is one of those heartwarming, feel good stories that represents what Rockaway is. People who don’t know Rockaway don’t understand the culture here, but when they hear this, they get it,” Tara Endall said.

 By Katie McFadden

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