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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Love Stories 2022

Love Stories

Sue and Bruce Bruscia are still praying together, and thanking the Lord for the marriage and life together that He has allowed us to have

Colin Mulvany The Spokesman-Review

Sue and Bruce Bruscia

By Sue Bruscia
For The Spokesman-Review

There he was – standing in the door of the classroom. He had a pleasant demeanor, and was a nice “Italian-looking” young man. I was a teacher, and single mom of a little girl. I was preparing the next day’s lessons for my third- and fourth-grade students for the following day. “May I help you?” I asked.

“My name is Bruce Bruscia,” he replied. “I wanted to stop in and let you know that I have two sons – one in kindergarten and one in first grade, that will be coming here to school after the Christmas break. We are moving to Shuteye Ranch down the road.”

I exchanged a few pleasantries, and assured him that we would be looking forward to having Anthony and Craig as students at Spring Valley School – a four-room country school in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains in Madera County, California. Assuming that I was speaking to a married man, I gave the chance encounter no further thought.

Sure enough, the first day of school in 1975, two adorable dark-haired boys showed up that morning. They were in the primary room next door. At lunchtime that day, my friend Marilyn, who was the primary teacher, came in. I remember her comment about the two new boys being “ring tail twisters!” Those are just the kind I’ve always enjoyed teaching! By the end of that week, three of their female cousins had also showed up. In one week’s time, the primary room doubled in size, due to the Bruscia family!

The following week, Donna, the mom of one of the girls came to apply for a job. She was a teacher, too, but since all four positions were filled, they hired her on to be an aide at the school. She was placed in my room for the first week, and we became good friends. She told me all about her “little” brother who had been left alone to raise the two boys. She informed me that I probably wouldn’t be interested because he was too young for me! I jokingly said that I’d try anything once! (However, at that point, I’d given up on men).

As the weeks went by, I gave this man no more thought. Come spring, I noticed that he was around school more often, as a volunteer coach for the baseball team. One day, as I was out watching a ballgame, he came up to talk, and asked if we could finish the conversation over dinner the following Saturday evening. I was so taken by surprise, that I said “Yes”! That was the beginning of a 45-year relationship.

On June 19, 1976, I became Mrs. Bruce Bruscia. I also became “mom” to Anthony and Craig, along with my daughter, Kylee. Putting two families together definitely was challenging! They say that opposites attract, but we were too much alike – Type A’s with hot tempers and a good bit of stubbornness! We certainly clashed a lot in those early days! We were anything but the “Brady Bunch!” Finally, we realized that we needed help! Our associate pastor came to the rescue to meet with us and help us get on a better track! One thing he insisted that we do was to pray together on a regular basis! I can’t even begin to tell you what that did for us as a couple! It was impossible to pray with him each morning, and then get out of bed and start nagging! After a few months, we could feel the closeness binding us together! In fact, we were actually enjoying each other again and feeling closer than ever! After some years, we were even recruited to teach marriage classes, counsel other struggling couples, and speaking at marriage retreats. Having the Lord in the center has been fantastic!

The years went by, and our children grew up, found their way in the world, and started having families of their own. We enjoyed each step of the journey, but felt called to take a huge step of faith. We began doing short-term mission trips in different parts of the world, including lots of work with orphans in Romania. We felt the call to adopt some older children who needed a home. In 2005, we became foster parents to two Sudanese young men – unaccompanied refugee minors. Though it was difficult at times, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of our life. We were Senior Citizens by now, and enjoying being soccer “Mom & Dad!”

We are retired now, and our Sudanese sons are on their own. We are thankful each day for one another, and we are truly best friends! The work we put in those many years ago, has paid off in more ways that we can mention!

We are still praying together, and thanking our Lord for the marriage and life together that He has allowed us to have!

Bill and Alexandra Cobb met on the first day of NOAA officer training in Virginia.

Colin Mulvany The Spokesman-Review

Alexandra and Bill Cobb

By Alexandra Cobb
For The Spokesman-Review

Bill and I met on the first day of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officer training in Virginia, but we didn’t date until a few years later.

After training, we were sent to different states to serve on research ships for two years.

Bill rotated to a shore assignment while I remained at sea for another Antarctic tour. He worked in a remote field camp on a small island off the Antarctic peninsula, studying fur seals and penguins for a few months every year. My ship supplied that field camp with food and equipment every 30 days during the season.

The ship would be away from the U.S. for six months at a time, so everyone brought a few favorite foods as their private “stash,” despite limited space. I brought a few boxes of cereal, nuts, and crackers. Not exciting, but treats to look forward to over the long remote trip.

With thousands of penguins, some seals, a very strong smell of penguin guano, and five researchers, the island was very bleak. His situation on Seal Island appeared worse than mine on the ship, so I gave Bill, only a friend at the time, some cereal from my stash. After unloading the inflatable boat of supplies for the camp, I handed him my prized box of Captain Crunch.

Bill was very surprised and happy at the time. Apparently, he took that act as a declaration of love (which it wasn’t! We still disagree about that).

He started writing me and we briefly chatted at future supply drops. Many months later, now both working at the same laboratory, Bill and I eventually started dating. We were married a couple of years after that.

Now a few ships, many moves and two daughters later, we celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary in January. All due to that valuable box of sugar cereal!

This is both a love story and a word of caution – be careful with your favorite cereal; you don’t know what message you are sending!

Yolanda and Bryan Dooley are Pre-High School Sweethearts.

Colin Mulvany The Spokesman-Review

Yolanda and Bryan Dooley

By Bryan Dooley
For The Spokesman-Review

We are pre-high school sweethearts. We started “going together” as we used to say in 1975, married in 1983 and we will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary this summer.

Yolanda has been the anchor of our marriage, raising two awesome kids, Brent and Bryanna, while a working military spouse; holding down our household while I was deployed numerous times, including a one-year remote to Southwest Asia, as an Air Force Officer and KC-135 Navigator.

We arrived here at Fairchild in September 2001 and I retired from the Air Force in 2007.

She is my best friend and confidant. I am a better man with her as my wife and partner for life.

“Our lock is somewhere in there,” says Eric Lee as he stands next to his wife, Mary Manley, in front of the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday.

Kathy Plonka The Spokesman-Review

Mary Manley and Eric Lee

By Mary Manley
For The Spokesman-Review

Eric and I met in 2016 at the USS Frank E. Evans’ reunion in Buffalo, New York. My former husband served on the ship during the Vietnam War, and Eric served on the HMS Melbourne.

On June 3, 1969, the two ships collided off the coast of Vietnam in a horrific collision that cut the Evans in half and caused the deaths of 74 men. Men from the Melbourne always attend the reunions, and this was the first reunion for Eric.

When I came down for breakfast, I saw Eric sitting at a table by himself. I heard a voice saying, “Don’t let him sit by himself,” so I didn’t, and the rest is history.

It took about two years of paperwork, and in December we got the word that he was cleared to come to the U.S. He arrived on the 19th and on the 28th of December Dec. 28 we were married at the Hitching Post in Coeur d’Alene! Idaho.

This wonderful man left his home, family and friends to be with me!

Jimmie and Ann Parman pose for a photo September 2021 on the veranda of the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyo.

Courtesy of Ann and Jimmie Parman The Spokesman-Review

Ann and Jimmie Parman

By Jimmie Parman
For The Spokesman-Review

For several years, my brother and I entered our registered Brown Swiss dairy cattle in the livestock show at the Northwest Missouri State Fair in Bethany, Missouri.

The ritual included staying at the fair, night and day, for most of a week to care for the cattle we were showing and keeping our area nice and clean for the fairgoers who perused the livestock barns. Keeping our cots and sleeping area looking nice along with raking, sweeping, and sprinkling the walkways, and of course, keeping the poop scooped was a matter of pride and competition among the FFA boys. (It was all boys in those days).

The year I was 14, I began to figure out why the teenage girls of the time suddenly developed an interest in livestock as they paraded through the show barns preening and giggling as they did so. (Any questions about the cattle, Lladies?)

In the mid 1800s, “walked out with” was a common term for when a gentleman caller came to a girl’s home and asked to take a walk to show his interest and have a bit of privacy from the rest of the family. In our case, the circumstances were somewhat different, but the terminology fits.

As the Ffair progressed that year, I “walked Oout with” a girl or two. (Or Tthree or ... )

Ann visited the Ffair with a cousin one evening along with her cousin’s parents. As you might suspect, their visit included a tour of the dairy barn and a bit of flirtation ensued. After finally “ditching” the cousin and her parents, Ann and I “walked out.” We toured the Mmidway and took in the sights and sounds of the fair’s games, and carnival rides.

At one point, we rode the Ferris wheel. I particularly enjoyed the stops at the top of the ride as cars were loaded and unloaded down below. (I think we held hands at times and I might have put my arm around her shoulders during the ride!) Later in the evening, I walked Ann to her cousin’s parents’ car as they departed.

Well, I guess that “walk out” stuck, as we moved into the rest of our high school years and beyond. We attended school functions as a couple, being delivered by a parent or catching a ride until I turned 16 and got my driver’s license. I can’t count the times my parents drove us to movies and the roller skating rink and then hung out somewhere until it was time to pick us up.

Unfortunately, another girl seemed to express interest in me around the same time I “walked out with” Ann. I usually skated at the Eagleville Roller Rink on Saturday nights. For a couple of weeks, Ann didn’t, but the “other girl” did. During couple skates I skated with the “other girl” a few times.

Then one night, both girls showed up. Soon a “ladies’ choice” skate was announced and I accepted the first invitation. (The “other girl”). Bad mistake!

I begged forgiveness, and after some reflection, Ann forgave, and the “other girl” was over and done with!

After we graduated high school, Ann went on to Gard Business School in St. Joseph, Missouri, and I enrolled at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Ann finished her secretarial studies in just a few months and landed a job in Des Moines, Iowa. I managed to last three semesters at MU, before I decided it wasn’t for me. So I quit that education stuff and began my working career.

We were married in February 1962 at age 19. We had a son in 1963 at age 20, and here we are today in Spokane, Washington!

We both retired in January 2003. Ann, from several jobs as a secretary/office manager as she followed along where my career took us. I retired from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service after nearly 30 years, the last 18 in Spokane.

Again, the 1956 “walked out with” apparently stuck, as we are still together some 65 years later and celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary on Feb. 4, 2022!


Richard and Mary Jo Woods met in 1972 in eighth grade in their home town of Santa Barbara, Calif. They now have three dogs – Tollie, Peanut and Jelly Bean – shown in their home in the Mead area.

Dan Pelle The Spokesman-Review

Mary Jo and Richard Woods

By Mary Jo and Richard Woods
For The Spokesman-Review


This year, we will celebrate our 20th and 50th anniversaries.

We met in 1972, in eighth-grade choir, and became friends as we went through high school and three years of college together in our home town of Santa Barbara, California.

In 1980, Mary Jo (MJ) moved to Wisconsin, to finish a degree in music education. Richard graduated from UCSB UC Santa Barbara in 1981 with a degree in Eelectrical eEngineering, and took a job with the U.S. Navy in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Throughout the years, the two exchanged Christmas and Bbirthday cards, and occasional phone calls, always happy to catch up.

The job moved Richard to Virginia in 1988, and MJ – still teaching music in Wisconsin – married in 1989. Richard, still single, attended the wedding. They continued to be in infrequent contact, though they progressed to emails, once the technology became available.

In 1997, MJ and her husband moved to Southern California, without realizing that – at the EXACT TIME – Richard relocated to San Diego. It turns out their new homes were within the SAME AREA CODE! It seems the Uuniverse was determined to have them be together!

Once MJ’s marriage ended in 2000, she and Richard reconnected in person, and she realized “what a prize” he was.

They began dating, long distance, and Richard proposed to MJ the day after Thanksgiving, 20021.

Less than a year later, at age 42, they were married in Escondido, California, and became “parents” of their golden retriever, named “Kismet,” because they were “meant to be.”

There, they lived until retiring early and moving to Spokane, where they acquired property and built their dream house, which MJ designed. They have adopted three miniature dachshunds, Tollie, Peanut and Jelly Bean.

Both are avid travelers, lovers of nature, amateur photographers, and life-long learners. Richard teaches occasional classes through the Community College’s ACT 2 program, and Mary Jo has ameliorated her passion for performance via participation in shows with the Spokane Civic Theatre, Spokane Children’s Theatre, Spokane Spectrum Singers, and various other choral groups in the area.

They currently attend Covenant United Methodist Church, where they are on the Tech Crew for online Wworship services, as well as and active in the Eden Community Gardens and Creation Care teams.

Richard and Mary Jo Woods look forward to sharing their happiness in a combination 20th and 50th anniversary celebrations, later this year.

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