XENIA — For years, Kay Slesinger was a name that was well-known and respected in Greene County. As a realtor, her name was everywhere. She’s a published author and an accomplished speaker.
Slesinger’s life story has several twists and turns that includes finding her soul mate in Rio when she met Paul Rich Jr., the namesake of Rich Products, a dairy and ice cream company.
It was 1996. Her husband, John Slesinger, had passed away a year before. She had been giving self-help speeches since 1990.
“After John’s death, I was invited to speak on cruise ships as a motivational speaker,” Slesinger said. It was on one of those cruises that she met her future husband.
“I had happened to be seated at the same table and he was there, alone, too,” Slesinger, now known as Kay Slesinger Rich, said. “It was love at first sight. Everything that happened seemed so impossible.”
The couple married and had 13 wonderful years together before Paul passed away on Dec. 15, 2012 at the age of 101.
“For our 12th wedding anniversary, two days after Paul turned 100, we renewed our vows,” Slesinger Rich said. “During that, I said I feel like I live with my Eagle Scout, football player, boyfriend and world traveler. At night, I feel like I’m with my high school boyfriend.”
Now Slesinger Rich is honoring her late husband on the big screen with a movie she wrote and is the star. “My Dream Beside Me” will debut in Buffalo, NY, Rich’s home town, on April 4, and will debut in the Miami Valley at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at the Neon Theater.
“I knew I had to do a movie about Paul,” she said. “I could not let my 101-year-old husband die without sharing what can happen.
“I met a man who gave me 13 wonderful years. We danced through the world.”
It was then she decided to bring this story out on the big screen with “My Dream Beside Me.”
“I knew I had to do a movie about Paul,” Slesinger Rich said. “We were dancing and playing until the last four months of his life. He would get the groceries, he’d work on the yard. He was so vibrant.”
Then became the task of getting a script.
“There were two writers who were working on scripts. I just threw it away,” she said. “A third writer started a script. I was reading it and I thought ‘I can’t do this’.”
She began writing the script herself so the story told her story and not an interpretation. This is a story about our love affair.
“The words in the story are the actual words we spoke to each other,” Slesinger Rich said. “And the people we put together to make this movie put their hearts and souls into this.”
She found a director/producer that she felt was on the same page.
“Greg Robbins was tremendous,” Slesinger Rich said. “If he was not involved, it probably would not have been made.”
Slesinger Rich plays herself in the movie. She is joined by Jeff Rose, who plays her husband, Paul Rich. Also in the cast are Francine Locke, Jay Storey, Gail Golden, Bryan Patrick Stoyle, Twanta Craig, Michael Sciabarrasi, Scott W. Hill, Lamont Belisarios and Lesley Bowen.
“This is an important movie, one that everyone should see,” Slesinger Rich said. “We have no idea where life goes. We have to live our best every day. This movie shows us how to love.”
William Duffield can be reached at 937-372-4444 ext. 133 or on Twitter @WilliamDuffield