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February 14, 2013
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Love stories

While I was attending college, I would work during the day, go to class at night, snowboard on my days off and fit in an occasional social event when I was stressed and needed to decompress. That is essentially how I met Tyler.

I had a two-hour break in between classes. And rather than driving the 30-some miles from the Carson campus to my parent's house in Gardnerville, I would go to Out of Bounds Board Shop and hang out with my friend who worked there. One fateful day as we watched a snowboard video from the counter, two tall, lanky 18-year-old boys walked in. I glanced at them, looked them up and down and returned my gaze to the movie.

In hindsight, it didn't seem a momentous occasion. I had no idea I would spend the next few months trying to understand what exactly it was that drew me toward Tyler. I was completely unaware that we would spend our first date snowboarding together which would be followed by Tyler jumping into the freezing waters of Lake Tahoe in the dead of winter. I didn't know that this and other random acts of stupid valor were the things that I would fall in love with him over. And I never would have imagined that one of the best moments in my life would occur at Lake Lahontan.

After Tyler and I had been dating for about six months, I went camping with him and his family to Lake Lahontan. I felt at home with him. There were so many things about the weekend that reminded me of the comforts of my memories. His father built a camp fire just as my father would have. His mother cooked and prepared in their RV just as my mother would have in my parent's motor home. Tyler argued with his brothers as I would have argued with my siblings. I was living moments with him that reminded me of the moments that I most cherished of my own family.

We went for a ride on his wave runner across the lake before stopping in a cove to swim. As we climbed back onto the seat, we faced each other. I flashed back to a memory of when I was nine. I was sun bathing on my parent's boat while it floated aimlessly in the middle of Lake Topaz. I was with my mom, sisters, cousins and aunt. They were talking about fate and soul mates. My mom said that she believed in soul mates. I felt the rays of the sun warm my eyelids as I listened. I decided that I believed in soul mates and I would one day meet mine.

I was drawn back into the moment by Tyler's green eyes with his brown mop of hair dripping from the swim. He was smiling not only with his wide grin but with those green eyes. I thought to myself, this is exactly what I want. I thought this is my soul mate. I should mention that a few weeks before this camping trip, as we stood in his driveway saying our good-byes, he held me close, kissed my lips, and said, "I love you." I was instantly stiff. I looked at him with panic and said, "I am not ready for that." I turned and promptly pursued my car.

But something had changed as we sat facing each other on the lake with the green and blue hues of the water surrounding us. The memories of my family blurred with my new memories of his family. And as I sat in that moment with Tyler I said, "You're perfect." He replied, "I love you too."

I went to grade school K-3 with my husband, Gary. I moved 12 miles away when I was eight years old. When we went on a blind date 50 years ago next month, we went to the movies and we started seeing each other almost every day. He would hitchhike down to see me. We got married that October, I had just turned 17 and he was still 16, but we were so much in love.

This October we will be married 50 years. We are still best friends and I love him more today. We have three beautiful daughters, six wonderful grandchildren and five great-grandchildren that have given us so much joy. The Lord has really blessed us. We give the Lord all the glory for His love and keeping our marriage together! If it wasn't for the Lord, we never would have made 50 years together.

Happy Valentines Day, sweetie. I Love You Gary!

Country Extra magazine published my story, "One little girl's love," on page 14 in the March 2011 issue. On Feb. 14, 1949, Brenda, one of my third-grade classmates at O'Keefe Elementary School in Lynn, Mass., created seven Valentine's Day cards and envelopes to express her love for me.

Being a male who was a month and a half away from his eighth birthday, I was oblivious to Brenda's feelings.

After my story was published, friends and relatives asked about Brenda. Their questions prompted me to begin my adventure, where's Brenda. I thought, "This can't be too difficult." Wrong!

After a Google search, I found Joe, a possible O'Keefe classmate living in Massachusetts. With apprehension, I dialed his number. Joe was my classmate from six decades ago. Unfortunately, he could not give me any information about Brenda.

Next, I called the Lynn Classical High School Alumni Association because if Brenda had not moved, she would have attended LCHS. The alumni president searched his list of 1958 graduates, no Brenda.

Living in Carson City, I asked my best friend in Massachusetts, Al, for a favor. He drove to the Massachusetts Vital Statistics building in South Boston and spent a half day searching the archives for a birth certificate and a death certificate for Brenda. Nothing! Was she abducted by aliens?

Months later, I remembered Frigyes Karinthy's six degrees of separation, "everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, on average, to connect any two people in six steps."

Before I emailed some of my high school classmates requesting their help, I discovered I had misspelled Brenda's surname, DUH!

Pat, a classmate, spoke to another classmate, Fred. Fred asked his cousin, Mark, who had researched their family tree on Mark emailed me the results of his search. Slowly, I dialed a Somerville, Mass., phone number only to leave a message on her voice mail.

The next day, Jan. 4, 2013, I flew to Massachusetts. On Jan. 5, I gave the eulogy for Al, my best friend. After an emotional three days, I returned to Carson City on Jan. 8. I had forgotten about my phone call to Brenda in trying to catch up on email, snail mail, newspapers and laundry.

Saturday, Jan. 12, at 11:19 a.m. my cell phone rang. I removed my phone from my pocket and noticed a Somerville, Mass., phone number. There was excitement in my voice, "Hi, is this Brenda?"

"Yes it is!" We talked for 30 or 40 minutes. Brenda told me about her eighth-grade neighbor, Muriel. Muriel was one of my junior high and senior high classmates. My response was,

"You must know Muriel's friend, Linsey."


Brenda told me they were friends until she moved to another city in Massachusetts.

Statistically, I was fortunate Brenda was alive and using her maiden name. In retrospect, I would have found Brenda sooner if I had included Linsey. A true feel-good story makes the sun shine a little brighter.

Wayne, I'm so glad you literally walked into my life! You are a dream come true!

Thanks for loving me!

My dad is my valentine because he is my whole world and he means everything to me. I would do anything for my dad because I know he would do anything for me. He is the best dad a daughter could have. I want to give him a great present for valentines and that present is saying, I love you daddy.

Happy Valentine's Day! I love you! You are always my valentine.

We worked at the same company for three years before we fell in love, but we didn't really get to know one another. Serendipitously, over 2010 Thanksgiving weekend, a customer email required we talk by phone to resolve the customer's issue. It really took just a few minutes of phone conversation to find ourselves immediately in a warm liking with one another. It was not the typical flirtatious, exaggerated kind of interaction but a sweet, gentle and fun one.

The week following our work phone conversation, I saw him everywhere! How I hadn't ran into him in the halls of our workplace before, I don't know. I saw him several times, each time thinking how incredibly handsome and sweet his smile was. Leaving the office late on Friday night, there he was driving through the parking lot at the end of his shift. Another serendipitous moment that I couldn't have planned had I wanted to. In the spirit of our new friendliness, we agreed we should grab a drink together soon. He called me the next day and invited me out and I went, never imagining we might be destined to be together. But we were! We have been inseparable ever since that very first date, both feeling like we were absolutely meant to be. We were married this past June.

We appeared impulsive during the early months of our relationship, getting engaged after only three months of dating. But with us both being close to 40 years old at the time, we were individuals who had been around the block, been hurt and learned, and knew what we were looking for in love. Neither of us had been married before, we had each had a number of those relationships that never translated into finding "the one." When we found it in each other during those early moments of conversation, neither one of us would let it go.

One of the most wonderful aspects of our love is the lack of drama. No one was injured by our finding each other and falling in love. Our families have all sighed relief that we have each finally found our true love. We are so blessed to be very happily married and pleased that our deep, generous love warms the hearts of those around us.

Paul and I live in Sparks with our yellow lab, Buckshot, and our two cats. He works as a mechanic for Truckee Meadows Water Authority in Reno, and I work for the Nevada Senate in Carson City. When we aren't working, you can find us hiking, camping, hunting, boating and exploring our favorite Nevada places including Fish Lake Valley, Tonopah and Belmont.

I can definitely say that William is the man who I am going to spend the rest of my life with. From the moment that we met, we were inseparable. Not long after that, we had fallen head over heels for one another. Four days after we met, some very special words came out of his mouth. On March 31, 2011, he whispered in my ear, "Can I tell you something?" He then said, "Sarah, I am falling in love with you." Right there and then was when I realized this is the real thing.

Not a moment goes by that I don't think about him. He has changed my life in every way possible. I never would have thought that I could love someone as much as I love him. William is my best friend, he is my love, and he is my soul mate. There are so many amazingly wonderful traits about him. He tells me that I am beautiful, he gives me flowers "just because," he takes care of me when I am sick, whenever I get stuck in the snow on my way to work he will leave work to come rescue me, if I don't finish eating my dinner, he will gladly clear my plate. These are just a few out of the thousands of reasons why I love him.

I never would have thought in a million years that I would be where I am at today, with the man of my dreams. I always thought that these type of love stories only happened in the movies, but I was proven wrong. William and I have created our own love story. I love you always and forever, William Odom!

Our love story is far from normal, but I am so happy we crossed paths. In just a year we have had many ups and downs, yet our love is still unbreakable. Through good times and bad we stand by each other and never give up. I love you Bruce Lee Tapia.

Not only are you my boyfriend, you're my best friend and the love of my life. No, our love story hasn't been perfect. We've made mistakes, but even through sadness and struggle our love has survived. Our love is crazy and weird and hard for people to understand, but as long as we have each other we will continue to be unbreakable.

I love you babe, it's me and you against the world! Happy Valentine's Day!

It was Aug. 9, 1974, and the only thing being talked about in Washington, D.C. was Richard Nixon's resignation set for later that morning. At the time, I was a staff assistant to a Republican congressman from Minnesota. Like all other congressional offices then, ours had been besieged with outcries for the last few months. Mail and telephone calls poured in from constituents voicing their opinions about Watergate and the president.

Meanwhile, Peter and I had been dating for about a month. Although he was my complete opposite politically, the relationship was getting serious. I would get to the office early, before the rest of the staff arrived, and call him. I loved starting each day that way. Only this time he didn't answer. "Strange," I thought. Just then, the phone rang. It was Peter, and he sounded winded. "I've been all over this city looking for a copy of The Washington Post with the headlines 'Nixon Resigns,' and I can't find any. Do you think you could look over there?" He continued, "I want to save it for my grandchildren."

I had already picked up a copy for myself, never thinking he wanted one too. I told him that I'd certainly try. I raced to every newsstand I knew of on both the Senate and House sides of the Hill. No luck. Not a single copy left. What to do next? There was only one answer.

Returning to the office, I called Peter. "I found you a copy. I'll give it to you today," I said, starting to plan our wedding. He didn't know it then, but the solution was to have his grandchildren be my grandchildren too.

We were married 41⁄2 months after we met and have been married 38 years. Our only grandchild is just 2 and not into history yet.

Thirteen years ago, we were both minorities in our department at college so we were pretty noticeable. We each had our routines, I would sit on the floor outside my classroom working on my laptop, he'd stride down the hall in his leather jacket carrying his duffel bag to class. When you ride a motorcycle, there's no way you could just carry a backpack. I thought he was pretty cute. We chatted a few times that semester, but we had completely different schedules and never really got to know each other.

The next semester, we had a class together. On the first day of class, he walks in and sits down next to me. He waves a paper in front of my face and says, "This is why I have a headache today." I never realized people could be openly cranky to near-strangers and I just couldn't help giggling. One thing led to another and we started studying for class together.

At my first trip to study and have dinner at his house, I was introduced to ravioli with ketchup and a can of corn. His dad was so excited for me to visit that we were also treated to chocolate cake. Within a month, we were dating. We studied side by side, saw each other almost every day and ate a lot at Denny's.

Four months later, we were engaged. It was such a whirlwind - completing our senior project together, getting through senior year of college and holding down a job. We didn't go on many dates, but we spent a lot of time around each other.

We got married a month after graduation, in the little chapel on campus, a bit more than a year after we initially started dating. We were so happy to be done with college, but we would both miss that part of our lives. We got back from our honeymoon and settled into work and creating a home.

Eleven years later, we've been through a bunch of moves, two kids and lots of growth and changes, but he still makes me laugh every day and I couldn't imagine being on this journey with anyone else.

Ralph Crow was a handsome, energetic lawyer. I was a single, harried, self-employed real estate broker trying to support three children under five years old. Our offices were in the same building.

One day, he stopped me on the stairs and said, "I'd like to ask you out to dinner, but I'm too busy." Huh? Guess he found a break in his schedule. A dinner date was set. Ralph arrived on time to pick me up; however, my children were in the middle of a play. Television wasn't allowed in the house so they used to create plays, etc. and leaving before the final bow wasn't an option. With a polite smile, he sat through the performance clapping in all the right places.

The babysitter arrived, the children were hugged and off we went. The reservations were at Carson City's nicest restaurant. Upon arrival, we were given a very cold reception and told that we were 45 minutes late. Whoops. He had reservations?

When he dropped me off, he noticed my weeds. Very "noticeable." Pulling weeds didn't fit into my priorities with three children and a 60-hour-plus work week as a self-employed real estate broker. Ralph actually asked if he could pull my weeds. Say what? The weed-pulling continued for about 38 years until the angels whisked him away two years ago.

The children and I were always the top of his priority list. One day I couldn't make it on time to pick up Mignon from bluebirds. I called Ralph. A client was in his office. So with client in tow, he hopped in the car and headed to bluebirds without ever telling me he was in the middle of an interview.

How could I not fall in love with a man like that?

After 15 years of wearing four-inch heels, working very long days and nights as an airline stewardess, my feet were in terrible shape. I went in for a gruesome bilateral foot surgery and came out of the hospital five days later in a great deal of pain. A casual friend of mine, Joe, drove me home and helped me up the 33 stairs to my condo where I suffered through the next two weeks until my next doctor appointment.

At that time, I reluctantly agreed to Joe's suggestion to have his brother Patrick, who I had never met, pick me up for the appointment. When the doorbell rang, I hobbled to the door on my crutches and opened it. I had to blink a couple of times at the sight before me. There he stood, 6-foot-4 inches, muscled, dimpled, curly hair, the face of a movie star, a killer smile, holding a dozen long-stemmed red roses. This was my ride! I later found out the roses had been left on my doorstep (sent by someone else), for which he could have taken credit but did not. One more gold star! Can this guy be for real?

At this point, my walking, even with crutches, was extremely painful. Not a problem, Patrick swept me off my feet, carried me down those 33 stairs and drove me to my doctor appointment. When we returned, I invited him to stay for a while. Since he has great respect, even reverence, for women, he sat as far from me as possible at the other end of the sofa. Recognizing this unusual trait in such an unbelievably handsome man, I put on my "pitiful" face and listed all the things I could not do for myself. From that first trip down those steps, he carried me everywhere we went for the entire summer.

June 21, the first day of summer, will mark our 28th year together. Yes, of course, we are married.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Feb 14, 2013 02:22PM Published Feb 14, 2013 02:31AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.