Romance is not dead yet here in the Inland Northwest. Recently we challenged our readers to tell us all as Valentine’s Day approaches. The response started out as a trickle, then became a deluge. We have received love stories from far and wide. In this day and age, where cynicism rules we discovered that real people are still out there connecting with each other. Space limitations prohibit sharing all of them, but here are a few special ones that caught our attention.
I met my wife the first time at night, around a college campfire. I was a freshman, enjoying my newfound independence in distant Iowa, hundreds of miles from anything familiar. Little did I know that the landscape of my life was also about to shift, all because of that lady with waist-length hair who sat across the fire from me.
We became good friends and were involved in some of the same campus clubs. We started reading books to each other, and romance blossomed somewhere between chapter 14 and 23 of “James and the Giant Peach.” Two years later we were married, basing our relationship on the love of Christ in the Bible. Seems like a book had done it again.
Since that wedding day 16 years ago, our lives have twined together into a story of its own, packed with adventures on the Great Plains, the Southwest, a few years in Europe, and now the Inland Northwest. What remains is a happy, committed relationship. My wife is one of the best things to happen to me. Our path? Forgiveness and sacrifice. We have stayed together because we give up our own rights to nourish the joined life we live.
I met my husband of 22 years in high school, and if Tony had not asked me out, I may have never noticed the quiet sweet boy in my biology class. We became friends, though I resisted saying yes to his date proposals until one day he let me catch him.
I was the girl who claimed she would never marry, until Tony dared me to marry him. It has not always been easy and we have had our challenges. When a couple marries at the age of 19, the expectation is that it will not last. We contribute our success to the fact that we have never been crazy at the same time and though we may not always like each other in a given situation, we have always loved each other.
We have celebrated 23 Valentine’s days, and each year we take the time to be grateful. So my sweet Tony, I say thank you for your perseverance, courage, and loving me. I loved the boy I married, and to my surprise I love the man you have become even more. I am grateful for you. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Tamara Lee Poelstra
We first met in college. We had the same major, not a real popular one, so most of our major classes were together. I had noticed him, he had noticed me, but we had only spoken in passing. Our professor assigned the class certain tasks and he paired us together. We hit it off and began dating once the assignment was finished. I fell in love pretty quickly, but he pooh-poohed it, fearing commitment.
He graduated a semester before I did and we lost track of each other. Twenty-two years later, I logged onto our alumni association’s locator Web site, typed in his name (along with some other friends I lost track of) and fired off some note cards asking how the last 22 years had been treating everyone. He was the only one who responded. He was living and working in Coeur d’Alene; I was living and working in a very small town in Iowa. We corresponded for about three months online and through phone calls.
He flew back to see family still living in Iowa and we arranged to meet for lunch. We continued our long-distance relationship … I flew to Coeur d’Alene a couple of times, he would drive or fly back to Iowa for holidays. He proposed on New Year’s Eve 2002, we were married in Minnesota in August 2003, and my son and I moved to Idaho.
We both came with baggage … I had a son, he had history. We knew we couldn’t “change” one another. Before we were engaged, we talked about important stuff: finances, raising a child, the differences in our religions. Other than knowing we were two separate people joining together very complicated lives, communication has been at the heart of our relationship. We have had serious discussions about health issues, elderly parental concerns, what retirement will be like, raising a teenager, and through it all we have managed to maintain our love, respect and friendship for each other as well as a healthy sense of humor. We both have our “off” days and may need some alone time for a few hours. But we know that we are here for each other.