Pineapple love: How a note sent overseas in a juice crate led to a 30-year marriage
Gordon MacDonald was stocking shelves at a grocery store in 1979 when he cracked opened a cardboard case. Inside, amongst the cans of pineapple juice, he found a note from a woman working in a Del Monte factory in the Philippines.
Three years later, MacDonald flew across the world to marry her.
Still happily married and now living in Fredericton, the juicy love affair began in an innocent fashion, MacDonald said.
“I cut the case open… and I found this little piece of paper,” he said. “I opened it up and it had a note on it saying 'pen pal wanted,' and the date had been 11 months since the letter had been written.”
He decided to write the mysterious author back, just to let them know where their note ended up.
When Gilda Feliciano received the response to her letter nearly a year later, the next step, she said, was obvious.
“I put it in the garbage.”
Feliciano said she’d nearly forgotten about writing the message in the first place, but was eventually overcome with curiosity. She opened up her piece of Canadian mail and began what would develop into a two-and-a-half-year correspondence.
“I sent him a Christmas card just to tell him I got your note,” said Feliciano. The conversation began as casual talk about family and work, but soon picked up.
“And then the letters started to increase. Once a week, then it became every day,” MacDonald said.
Daily letters turned into phone call and audio tapes -- and finally a marriage proposal. The story made MacDonald a local celebrity.
“Before I knew it there were people coming into the store, lining up to meet me, greet me,” he said. “People I've never met before.”
Newspapers covered the affair the week MacDonald left to meet his future wife for the first time.
“MacDonald, 29, leaves for the Philippines this week to wed a woman he knows only from pictures, letters, tape recordings and a fateful encounter three years ago with a carton of juice cans,” reads a story from August 12, 1982.
The couple returned to Canada to begin a new chapter in their fairy tale. A year later, their daughter -- a “pineapple princess,” as they’d call her -- was born.
Now a music teacher in Calgary, Melissa Ashley still appreciates the unlikely story of how her parents met.
“I take a lot of pride in the story,” Ashley said. “Not many other people can say that their parents met in that unique way.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic