Happy Valentine’s Day from Concordia! We’ve all seen “meet cute” scenes in classic movies – when two characters who will eventually become a couple meet for the first time in an unexpected way – whether it’s Gene Kelly jumping into Debbie Reynold’s car to escape his fans in “Singin’ in the Rain,” Hugh Grant spilling orange juice on Julia Roberts in “Notting Hill” or Leonardo DiCaprio saving Kate Winslet in “Titanic.” But do these things actually happen in real life?
We talked to some Concordia couples who shared how they met their spouses, and while they may not be quite as dramatic as those on the silver screen, they’re real – which makes them all the more interesting.
Glenn and Mary Ellen A., Concordia at Sumner, married 61 years.
Mary Ellen was on a Wesley Foundation retreat during her freshman year at Iowa State University when she encountered someone she hadn’t met yet.
“It was raining in the parking lot,” said Mary Ellen. “I had on a rain coat and a hat, and this weird guy kept pestering me! I had to find out who in the dickens he was.”
She did find out – it was Glenn.
“All of a sudden he kept showing up outside my classrooms to walk me home or to my next class,” Mary Ellen said. “He just appeared and never went away.”
Soon, the couple started dating. They mostly went to the Wesley Foundation, which had free dinner on Sunday nights.
After 61 years of marriage, Mary Ellen doesn’t mind the pestering anymore: “We’re each other’s best friends, so it’s worked out really well.”
Ted and Linda O., Concordia at Sumner, married 52 years.
The couple met in college at the University of Akron on October 19, 1961. Ted, who was in the ROTC, had drill on that warm afternoon and went in search of a cool drink. During his search, he met Linda through a friend and walked her to her class, which was in the same building that his next one was in. Throughout the semester, he tried and failed to run into her after class.
“My class finished earlier than hers,” Ted said. “I’d run downstairs to find her, but never did – turned out she was cutting class!”
The two lost touch, only running into each other again in February 1962 when they participated in a school singing competition.
“That didn’t take either,” Ted said.
Finally, during their March midterms, Ted ran into Linda again. He walked her to the library, where he got her name and number from one of her books. Their first date was at a bowling alley, and while they waited for a lane they got to know each other.
The following week they went to Easter Sunday church service together.
“I looked over at her and made the decision that she was the one I had to marry,” Ted said.
When Linda first saw Ted in the October of ’61, she had thought something similar: “There’s marriage material!”
Al and Nancy H., Concordia at Cabot, married 48 years.
Nancy first saw Al in the October of 1967 on the second floor of H. J. Heinz, where both of them worked – Al with computers and Nancy in inventory.
“I saw him walking by one day, and I thought ‘Hmm, I like the looks of that guy’ – he looked a bit like Tom Selleck when he was younger,” Nancy said. “I got my boss to give him my phone number.”
After a few attempts from Nancy’s old boss, Al was convinced to ask her out to a hockey game in January 1968. The two started dating, but they kept it a secret at work.
“My co-workers in the computer area got several hints that I was dating somebody in close proximity,” Al said. “One fellow was a computer programmer, and he had access to the personnel files. He developed this algorithm to try to figure out what girl on our floor I was dating based on clues they uncovered. He came up with a whole list.”
Before Al’s co-workers could crack the case, however, word got out when Al and Nancy ran into one of her co-workers at a hockey game.
“It blew that cover!” Nancy said.
Earl and Helen H., Concordia of the South Hills, married 65 years.
Earl and Helen first met almost before they could remember.
“We went to grade school together at St. George’s School in Allentown in Pittsburgh,” said Helen. The two were around the same age and lived in the same area, essentially growing up together.
“It was a mutual decision, something we gravitated to over time; no lightning bolts here. We were married in 1951, when we were both in our early 20s.”
John and Noreen N., Concordia of Fox Chapel, married 62 years.
John and Noreen both worked at Alcoa, and Noreen’s neighbor played matchmaker to set them up. Their first date was a double date at a work party.
John lived far away from Noreen at the time, so she says she married him because winter was coming and he didn’t want to drive to see her everyday if they roads were bad.
“The trick to being married for 62 years is to have the patience of a saint,” she said with a laugh.
John agrees: “Marrying her was the BEST mistake I ever made!”
Charles “Skip” and Ann C., Concordia at Cabot, married 56 years.
Skip and Ann Culleiton first met on the way to St. Joseph High School’s 1955 prom – but they were going with different people.
“I went to St. Joe’s in Natrona, and she went to Har-Brack High School, which is now Highlands,” Skip said. “I asked a girl from St. Joe’s to the prom, and my friend asked Ann.”
The two couples and one more were set to ride in the same car to the dance together, but they had to pick everyone up along the way.
“We were waiting for our other friend to get his date, and I remember sitting in the car and looking at this big white brick house next to hers,” Ann said. “I thought it was a beautiful house, and I never realized that the man I was going to meet in the next five minutes would marry me and live in that house with me for 43 years.”
Later, Skip was sitting up front with Ann and her date.
“We were driving up River Road with the streetlights reflecting in the car, and I looked over at him and thought ‘He is just so good looking,’” Ann said.
Nothing happened between them at the prom, but a little over a year later, the two reconnected at a church dance. Skip asked to take Ann to one of her high school’s football games, and she accepted.
When walking through the crowds at the football game, Skip took her hand.
“It sounds absurd, but I just thought ‘Hmm, I’m going to maybe have my hand in his for the rest of my life,’” Ann said. And she was right.
Mike and Linda W., Concordia at Sumner, married 24 years.
In 1980, Mike, who was the Vice President of Marketing for an aluminum company, hired Linda as his secretary – and both were already married. They had a strictly professional relationship for the three years she worked for him. She eventually moved up in the company to a position in the human resources department with his recommendation and then left the company for another job.
The two kept in touch with Christmas and birthday cards, but it was not until almost 13 years later that they reconnected in person for dinner, after Linda was divorced and Mike, sadly, a widower.
“Neither one of us was really in a place to start a new relationship, but it happened anyway,” Linda said. “We really liked each other and had worked so well together. We clicked.”
The two were married in 1993.
“She would never get me coffee the whole time she worked for me,” Mike said. “And she still won’t get me any!”
Do you have an interesting “meet cute” story? Tell it by leaving a comment on our Facebook page!
Reminders of the love we share for one another, whether they’re great meet cute stories, laughs or gifts, help us to remember what’s important in our lives. This Valentine’s Day at Concordia, we are challenging you to show your support and love for this organization by giving where your heart is – that is, designating a gift to the area of this organization that means the most to you.
Whether you choose to give to a charitable care fund that supports Concordia residents who have outlived their resources, a staff appreciation fund or any one of our general funds specific to a certain facility, please know that your gift makes a difference in the lives of those we serve. Our goal is to reach 100 gifts by February 18 – and we’re only a few gifts away!
To contribute, please visit the Give a Gift section of our website at give.concordialm.org, call the Concordia Lutheran Ministries Foundation at 724-352-1571, ext. 8363, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also message us through the Contact form on our website.
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