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Throughout history stories of romantic meetings are chronicled and passed down through the ages.

Now it's your turn to share your story. We want to know,
So... How Did You Meet Anyway?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

John and Priscilla

John Alden and Priscilla Mullins were both passengers on The Mayflower when it arrived in Plymouth in 1620. John was not a Pilgrim, but had been hired to do repairs on The Mayflower when she was still in Southampton, England.

He decided to make the journey to the New World perhaps with the hope of gaining prosperity or perhaps with the hope of winning the love of one of the passengers, Priscilla Mullins.

John was not the only passenger to fall in love with the lovely maiden; his good friend, Captain Miles Standish, planned to ask her for her hand in marriage.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish, tells the story of the resulting love triangle. Miles loves Priscilla, Priscilla loves John, and John loves both Priscilla and his friend, so decides to take no action.

Things look grim until Priscilla, who had been through quite a bit of suffering already, speaks up and challenges

 "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" He does, they marry, and all is well.
www.wikipedia/John Alden

Worth Her Weight In Gold

 In December 1948, winter break was approaching and Miriam Wetzel, a sophomore at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, needed a ride home to Akron.  

After asking around among her friends and acquaintances, someone informed her that a senior named Gerald “Jug” Ridinger was driving to Hudson that weekend to be in a wedding.

He was taking two bridesmaids and another girl home to the same area. (Remember, at this time the interstate highway system we know today didn't exist.)

Miriam soon approached Jug and asked if he had room for another passenger.  Before he answered, he stepped back, looked her up and down and said, “How much do you weigh?”
Apparently Miriam’s weight made the cut.  She joined the three other girls in Jug’s car on the trip to northeast Ohio that weekend and remembers having some great laughs along the way.  To keep the conversations going, Jug, who had been a Marine in WWII, told stories about the war to entertain the passengers.

Miriam and Jug started dating when classes at Otterbein began again in January. Their first date was Miriam’s 19th birthday. If Jug had known she was so young, he might not have asked her out, but on their third date, he said, “I want to marry you.”  That’s the closest resemblance to a proposal that Miriam ever received. As they continued to date and grow closer, it became obvious to both of them that marriage was in their future.

On June 16, 1951, the Saturday following Miriam’s college graduation ceremony, Miriam and Jug were married.

Sixty years later, after many good memories, laughs, family vacations and more, the couple remains happily married and looks forward to many more years together.  They recently traveled to the Pocono Mountains with their four children and their spouses, eight grandchildren and one great-grand-child for their every-five-year wedding anniversary trip and family photo.

Miriam and Jug remember their first trip together, more than sixty years ago.  Before Jug had reached any of his passengers’ homes, one of his tires went flat, the one on Miriam’s side of the car.
But luckily he decided to keep Miriam around anyway!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco

A few years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Nice, along the beautiful French Riviera. I regretted not making the short trip over to Monaco, since the friends who did marveled over its amazing vistas. 

To Americans, when Grace Kelly made the same trip, but to become "princess of the realm" , it seemed like fantasy had magically become realty. Could a commoner really become royalty,live happily ever after, and be on the Riviera as well?

On April 15,1956 the world prepared for what was called by the press "The Wedding of the Century". America's own, Grace Kelly was marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco, and leaving her actress life to become a princess. Apparently the marriage was a result of practicalities rather than romance.

Grace Kelly led the American delegation to the Cannes Film Festival in April 1955. While there, she was invited to a photo shoot at the palace to meet Prince Rainier III. The prince was shopping for a wife. Apparently because of the Monaco Succession crisis of 1918, Monaco would revert to France if an heir could not be produced by Rainier.

Happy to bid farewell to his bachelor life, in exchange for continuation of his reign, Rainier traveled to Philadelphia in pursuit of Grace Kelly. When asked , "If you were pursuing a wife, what kind would you like?" Rainier smiled and answered, "I don't know...the best." If America were choosing a match for the prince in the mid 1950's, Grace Kelly would undoubtedly have been at the top of everyone's list. She brought style and class to all of her roles, whether on stage or in film, and had a quiet presence about her which commanded respect.

It seemed natural that a prince would choose her from all others to stand by his side and "rule the kingdom". The match was arranged very much in the manner in which royal had been wed for hundreds of years. Kelly and her family paid Prince Rainier III a dowry of two million U.S. dollars, Grace Kelly gave up her acting career, and the palace was completely redecorated to welcome the bride.

On April 4, 1956, leaving from New York City Harbor, Grace Kelly, along with her family, bridesmaids, poodle, and over eighty pieces of luggage boarded the ocean liner SS Constitution bound  for the French Riviera.

Thousands of fans sent the party off for the eight-day voyage, and in Monaco, more than 20,000 people lined the streets to greet the future princess. As Alfred Hitchcock said, he was very happy that Grace had found herself such a good part. Fairy tales can come true...with a little help on the side.

"Why, I've Met My European!"

My grandmother was one of few women attending university in the early 1920's and probably the only woman majoring in chemistry. As the only female in lab classes and lectures, she was surrounded by men and her mother, my great-grandmother, hoped this university experience would yield a prospective suitor. My grandmother though was not going to be distracted from her studies. She wanted to earn her degree, work, travel and perhaps find her future husband abroad, as she had always fantasized spending her life with a sophisticated European.

Nearly a decade later and well into her 30's, my grandmother was financially independent and had by now seen much of the world during her travels. Her family had long since given up on the idea that she would marry and have a family. Nonetheless, as my grandmother readied herself for a party one particular evening, she still held the faint hope that someday she would encounter the European she had dreamt about.

Two hours into the party and rather bored, she leaned to her friend and whispered that she was ready to leave. As she gathered her things, she heard several party-goers welcome another guest, when she turned to look to see who it was she met the gaze of a distinguished looking man about ten years her senior. They were soon introduced by the party's host and my grandmother returned her belongings and went to sit back down with her friend. Her friend, surprised at my grandmother's return, asked why the sudden change of attitude as my grandmother was not one to change her mind so quickly. My grandmother's response was quite simple: "Why I've met my European!"

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "The Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

The year my husband completed a graduate program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, we were young newly weds who felt like we had “arrived”, and we were determined to take advantage of all Harvard had to offer. The first event we attended that year was at the American Repertory Theater. The members of ART were beginning the season with solo performances, and the first was a reading from Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth. The reading vividly brought to life Brittain’s haunting prose describing the heartbreaking loss of her fiancee and her best friend, her brother, to the horrific events of the First World War,

“There seemed to be nothing left in the world, for I felt that Roland had taken with him all my future and Edward all my past.”

When the performance was finished, the actress quietly remained on stage as the audience sat in stunned silence, unable to applaud. 

The last event my husband and I attended that same year  was the highly anticipated spring concert dominated by two exciting acapella groups, The Harvard Krokodiloes and The Radcliffe Pitches. The concert was held in Harvard's Sander's Theater, and the house was packed, the energy high, and the music wonderful. These talented student performers were capable of bringing laughter and tears to an audience who wildly cheered and savored each song performed. The Kroks traditionally had each member of the group perform a solo to be backed up by the remaining singers. When a young African American student stepped forward to sing, no one expected the performance to take the turn it did. Sander’s Theater is housed in Harvard’s Memorial Chapel, a huge Victorian building constructed in 1865 to honor Harvard students who fought for the Union in the Civil War. 

As time has passed, more sad memorials have been added to honor Harvard students who have died in all the wars fought since the Union was saved. On this night, the student began to sing the poignant song “Mama Look Sharp” from the musical 1776. 

As he sang, his voice transported both himself and his listeners to another place where the feel of battle, and the terrible peace which lay in its wake, held us all in its power. Once again, after the performance, the house sat in stunned silence. The singer himself seemed to have difficulty regaining his focus, and two members of the group came forward to join him as the crowd broke into thunderous applause. 

Both events still bring tears to my eyes, and both events make me feel that on this day all the veterans of all the wars are very much with us in mind, heart and spirit.

My Black and White Movie

My fiance, Mark, and I met in November 2009 while I was living in New York City. He is in the Marines, and was in town commissioning the USS-NY. At the time a friend of mine was working for the owner of the bar,Coyote Ugly. I was out there with friends one night, and Mark came in with a lot of his buddies. Before I knew it, we were chatting it up and he asked if we could go to dinner before he left. He was only in town for a few days and I ended up being the  NYC tour guide for him and his friends for the rest of his stay. Over the next six months we stayed in touch through text messages and a few phone calls. Eventually, I moved to the same state that he lived in to spend time with my sister. Once we found out we were relatively close, he drove up and took me on our first date! We've been together ever since. :)

When I met him I knew he'd be the one that I married. I often referred to how we met as my "black and white movie." Before our first date my dad asked me why I was so nervous. My response was, "... because I feel like if I go on a date with him, he's going to be the last person I date!" I think after that my dad decided not to ask anymore personal questions. :)

Mark is now deployed and is set to return at the end of the year. We are so excited for that day to come and for the opportunity to spend our lives together!!

And....we got married!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Walter and Betsy Maxwell Cronkite

Today is the birthday of one of America's most honored news broadcasters, Walter Cronkite.

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher brought in the school’s only television set so our class could watch the Gemini XII mission reenter the atmosphere and splash down. It was amazing enough that we were allowed to watch TV, but what amazed me even more was Miss Hughes. 

We all called her “Miss Hughes Sixth Grade” to differentiate her from her sister, “Miss Hughes Fifth Grade”. She was an older woman, passionate about Ancient History, but seeming to be beyond other passions to my eleven year old mind. 

The news anchor who broadcast the splashdown of Gemini XII that day was, of course, Walter Cronkite. I don’t remember any of the news surrounding the NASA mission, I only remember being completely astonished when Miss Hughes uncharacteristically exclaimed, “Oh, I just love Walter Cronkite!” 

All America did love Walter Cronkite, and Walter Cronkite loved and cherished Betsy for nearly 65 years of marriage. Here is their “how we met” story.

Walter and Betsy met in 1936 in Kansas City, Missouri while both were working at the KCMO radio station. Betsy was an advertising writer. Walter said in an interview with PBS, "She was one of the most beautiful people I ever saw in my life. ... I saw her for the first time ... coming down the hall ... and I fell in love before I even knew her name, or what she did, or if whether I would ever see her again ... I was paralyzed in wanting to meet this lady ... She worked there a week before I introduced myself ... She was so precious that I didn't dare make any mismove."

No “mismoves” were made and the couple was soon married. Although Betsy is reputed to have been 45 minutes late to the ceremony, Walter remained steadfast as the organist played “I Love You Truly” many times before the bride arrived. Apparently the constant reminder worked.

And That's The Way It Is

This story starts back in the late 90’s. I was busy working, not really paying attention to the calendar. I was in my 30’s and spent most of my adult life workings in radio, TV and in my spare time working at the family farm in Cabot. Dating was not a priority. I guess I woke up one morning and said no-one is going to show up on my doorstep—so if I was ever going to get married I’d better work at this a bit. I began to date occasionally. This meant asking women out, and from time-to-time someone would suggest I date this or that person. Dating is a painful process. I am not good with rejection, so I was always fearful someone would not want to go out if I asked.  I did not ask many people out.
My fortunes changed drastically in the late summer of 1998. I was a member of a health club in Montpelier called First in Fitness. I would go there after work. I would quietly work my way to the treadmill each night. I always chose the room with the big screen TV so I could watch the news. Most nights it was on CNN, but on occasion someone would change it to Channel 3 and the local news. This was the station I worked for, so I could appear fluttering through the air most nights. One night around 6pm I was busy reading my People Magazine and watching the news out of the corner of my eye, and I appeared.