In honor of Valentine’s Day, four local couples share personal anecdotes from their own love stories.
Harvey and Monique Oyer
Harvey and Monique were introduced to each other by a mutual friend via telephone. She was in Milan; he was in West Palm Beach. “We spent hours and hours on the phone and fell in love with each other without ever having met face-to-face,” Harvey says. “We fell in love with each other’s souls, not each other’s looks,” Monique adds.
What a pleasant surprise it was for Harvey when he first laid eyes on the lady with whom he had developed a heart connection—she was a 5-foot-10, gorgeous former runway model. And Monique was happy and relieved to find that Harvey Eugene Oyer III, the man who had charmed her over the phone with his kind heart, brilliance and wit, also happened to be young and devilishly handsome. They’ve been inseparable since.
Steve and Karen Weagle (as told by Steve)
There wouldn’t be a Mr. and Mrs. Weagle if it wasn’t for my wife. We had a six-month courtship even before our first date. I was a shy 20-something working in a mall photo store, and I noticed this cute country girl coming in frequently to pick up photos or buy film. Through mutual friends, we found out we were attracted to each other, but I was way too shy to make the first move. After almost half a year of waiting on me to ask her out, she had enough and called me. She’s never let me live it down.
Steven Stolman and Richard Wilkie (as told by Steven)
Since Wisconsin does not recognize same-sex marriage, our plan was to get married at the marriage bureau in Lower Manhattan and then fly to Milwaukee for our reception at the University Club overlooking Lake Michigan (my other half, Rich, was born and bred in Milwaukee). We had friends and family from all over coming, with our parents co-hosting a traditional Wisconsin fish fry at a hipster restaurant the night before to welcome out-of-town guests. Suffice to say, we planned it down to the minute. We needed to get to Milwaukee on schedule.
Hurricane Sandy blew those plans out the window. With Lower Manhattan flooded and power out in so much of the area, the only marriage bureau open was in the Bronx by Yankee Stadium. So, just like TV’s Rhoda Morgenstern, we took the subway to our wedding. The most wonderful deputy clerk, a grand gal who looked like Whoopi Goldberg, asked us, “Would you like me to read from the script or speak from the heart?” Of course we chose “from the heart” and I cried like a baby. After she pronounced us married, she said, “And now you may hug me!”Once we got to Milwaukee, everything fell into place. The city positively sparkled, surprising our jaded East Coast friends who thought they were going to Nowheresville. We wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Laurence and Vesna Leamer (as told by Laurence)
Thirty years ago, I was a member of the Shoreham Club during the summers in Washington, D.C. One day after taking my daily swim, I was sitting with half a dozen of my friends, all of them women. The tennis pro came swaggering up, escorting a highly attractive young woman. “This is Vesna Obradovic, visiting from Belgrade,” the pro said. “I’m giving her a lesson after I finish with my present client.”
“Hello,” my women friends said in unison.
“Hello,” Vesna said in an accent that sounded like Zsa Zsa Gabor on steroids.
Vesna’s parents were divorced. Her father lived in Belgrade, where he was president of Philip Morris in Yugoslavia, and her mother lived in Washington, where she did a nightly program for the Voice of America. Vesna had never dated an American and was thinking only of returning to Belgrade when she took one look at me and had the strangest thought: She would end up marrying me.
“Do you know your T-shirt is inside out?” she asked. There stood my destiny: I could get up, run away and live a life of inside-out T-shirts, or I could make polite chatter, get her phone number, ask her out and reform my bachelor ways.
We’ve been married all these years, and my T-shirts are rarely inside out.
What’s your most romantic story? Share yours in a comment below.