Love stories

Published 9:51 am Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Graphic by Albert Lea Tribune

Your stories of everlasting love, unique wedding proposals and unlikely love stories

Rain leads to lifelong love


Once upon a time on a Sunday morning, Sept. 15, 1953 in fact, I was waiting for a bus to take me to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul. A sudden burst of rain changed my plan — why should I stand in pouring rain when I could see a small church at the end of the block? I ran there and a pastor welcomed me and asked a young man called Hugh Hall to show me around the church. The pastor said Hugh had just been discharged from the Army and “was looking for a girl.” He also said he was saving Hugh for a tall girl —I am 5 feet tall and Hugh is 6 feet 3 inches. Did the pastor guess this was a “love at first sight” thing? Did he know we would be engaged in six weeks? (That’s what happened!) Every Sunday night the college kids in the area of this church met and made a hot dish meal, took turns giving the group a Christian message, after which we played volleyball in the large church gym, or we would dance to records. Hugh was the janitor of the church so he had a key — we loved to dance and would be the last ones to “dip and dance” and lock up the church. We found we had so much in common, except I was a small town girl from Carlton, and Hugh was a big city boy. We were married in Hugh’s church the next August — my mother very upset that we weren’t being married in the Lutheran church at home.

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We have now celebrated 55 anniversaries, have five wonderful kids with special mates we love, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Our story isn’t so different, but this gives me a chance to thank “my valentine” for being a thoughtful, giving, patient, special husband for so many years. He has never forgotten my birthday, an anniversary or special holiday. He is always on time. Hugh taught school in Albert Lea for 37 years and also worked part-time at KATE radio all of those years. He would go off the air at KATE at 6 p.m. — I could put his food on his plate and the children would sit at the table, knowing dad would be home in five minutes.

We both believe in respect for each other. Communications are so important — we never leave the house without saying goodbye and where we are going. We have a blackboard on our kitchen wall for messages and we use it! There were some lean years when our children were little, and we agreed Hugh would work two jobs and I would be a stay-at-home mom. I gained 62 pounds with our first child — how ugly I must have been, but my valentine always made me feel special — he has always shopped for all of my clothes and does a great job of it. He is good to my 97-year-old mother, and she daily asks if I have fed him good meals and have spent time with him — she adores him.

I like volunteering in the community. He enjoys reading and doing research on the computer, and we both love our Salem Church. Hugh joined the Lutheran church with me when we moved to Albert Lea. Hugh is a gentle man and a gentleman — he opens doors for me, pulls chairs out for me, walks on the outside of the street, still holds my hand when we walk — he’s a trophy husband.

He has been a wonderful father and even when he had two jobs he spent quality time with the children. He is also the smartest man I know — he has read the Bible almost five times. Our kids always said, “Our dad is so smart he does crossword puzzles with ink pens.” Surprises and “little things” are important in a marriage — one rose is nice — and I remember having a “down day” and there was a small gift-wrapped box on my dinner plate (it contained a pin I cherish yet). We never did much traveling, but we had a cabin at Ellendale on Beaver Lake for 40 years and have the greatest memories of our family growing up there. A marriage of over 55 years has to have tough times too — Hugh had a heart attack at age 43, but was given a second chance. We lost our second child which was a difficult time, and our oldest son recently had a bone marrow transplant, but is recovering well. God is good to us and our faith takes us through the tough times.

There isn’t anything unusual about this valentine story, we just have a normal, uncomplicated marriage with kids who fill our lives with joy, but bless the day God sent that rain and I ran down the block where I met “My Valentine.”

Pauline Hall

First place
Pauline and Hugh’s story was chosen for first place and they will receive a $100 gift certificate to Crescendo. They will also be featured in our Feb. 14 edition.

Friends first, spouses second


After becoming friends with Emily again after many years, and falling in love, it came time to make our life together a reality. With the plan in place for the “perfect proposal” I decided that we should load both of our families up in cars and head to the mountains of Colorado where we rented a home with some of the most spectacular views I have ever witnessed. During our stay it was assigned that members of our families were in charge of one meal during our trip.

Emily and I decided that we would do something a little different — little did she know that it was all part of the plan! We made Chinese food for dinner, and what goes better with Chinese food but fortune cookies! After dinner, I passed out the cookies that we had brought with us, with the rule that everyone had to open theirs only when it was their turn to read it aloud in front of everyone present.

The stage was being set as the first cookie was read, vocalizing a statement that I believe to be true in all of our lives: “Friends are friends for: a reason, a season or a lifetime…” Each of the seven other cookies were filled with a personalized message that I had created just for this occasion. As we made our way around the table and it came to Emily — she quickly opened her fortune, with cameras ready, to find that it read: “Emily, Will You Marry Me.” It was at that time I was on one knee with the ring ready to slip on her finger. It was a very special time, which was only made better with our families present! With the Christmas season, being in my opinion, the most wonderful time of the year, it will definitely be remembered by myself, and my family, as the day I gave my heart to my best friend!

Jordan Bohonek

Second place
The Albert Lea Tribune selected Jordan and Emily for second place in our Valentine’s Day contest. They will receive a romantic gift basket.

Unique proposal leads to marriage

My wife and I were going to be playing Mary and Joseph at our church’s drive through live nativity, so I thought that would be the perfect place to propose. I talked to the scene manager and asked her to have the other characters leave after the last car went thru. She was OK with it, so I took the ring and put it in my glove before we went out for the last shift of the night. The only other person besides the scene manager that knew about me proposing was her dad who I had called and talked to earlier in the day. He also was OK with it (thanks CL). I thought it was quite the coincidence when I saw her family was one of the last cars to drive through. Anyway, the last car goes by, the other characters leave the scene, and I get down on one knee…right next to the donkey. I pulled off my glove, held out the ring, told her she was the most beautiful person I have ever met, and asked her if she would marry me. She teared up a bit and said yes — just as another car went through.

Doug Griffith

Third place
The Griffith’s story won third place in the Tribune’s Valentine’s Day contest. They will receive a one-hour massage.

Couple together for 30 years


True love is what I have found in my husband, Keith Weiss. He has always been the rock in my life. I still get that fluttering feeling in my heart when he looks at me.

A very special moment in our lives was when he surprised me on our 25th anniversary to celebrate by renewing our wedding vows which meant the world to me. This June will mark our 30th anniversary together. Actually and truly we have known each other for more than half our lives.

He has been a wonderful father to our kids, Amanda and Ethan. As a father he has always been very supportive of everything that they have done and continue to do in their lives.

Keith has that very special caring factor in him that is so very apparent with family members. Keith is truly my best friend who I can count on for everything.

Wendy Weiss

Much planning in the proposal

I had it all planned out. I worked a second job doing yard work to come up with the money for a ring. Even at a sale price, it was the most I’ve ever spent for something so small. I wasn’t sure how to actually “pop” the question. Should I surprise her? Hide it in her pasta? What if she accidentally ate it? Better not. How about the romantic approach.

First, I had to ask for her parents’ blessing. Right, that’s what people used to do. Luckily there was half a state separating the potential future in-laws and myself, so that kind of made this part easy. But I thought I better call her mom, which was nice but a little unnerving.

Now where should I do this? This was before iPhones, so I actually had to look at brochures and find something, some place that was just perfect. Maybe a little sightseeing for nostalgic purposes. Then I found the perfect place, and I made plans accordingly.

First, we will go on a nice long drive. Do a little hiking, a little sightseeing, and then at dinner I’ll ask her to marry me. This would be a good chick flick, except the setting is in northern Minnesota, during January.

We found the town of Vergas, without too much backtracking. I did bring snow shoes for the hike. Good thing it was her first time wearing them, and it was only 15 degrees below zero, or things could have been a little awkward. “I hear there’s a nice restaurant on the edge of town, let’s go warm up and get a bite to eat,” I said. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that I should have called ahead for reservations at Porky’s Dinner Club. We did find a diner to thaw out in. “Ah yes, we have one booth left,” the waiter told us. Right by the kitchen.

This is it old boy, I thought to myself. Time, place, ring in pocket, between the kitchen double doors opening and closing, the scent of burgers frying and an otherwise full diner, the mood was not exactly what I had hoped for. “I can barely hear you,” she said. I hesitated, and we ate and left the diner.

It was already dark, and about a two-hour drive back to the apartment. I had to think of something.

So I pulled into a park by the lake. We stopped there earlier and took some pictures. I convinced her to get out of the car again. It was there in front of the statue of the world’s largest loon, I took her glove off, put the ring on her finger and she said no. She has always been like that. Gotta tease me.

Now Jill and I are both pushing 30. One night a week, we are each pushing a grocery cart, with a little boy inside, together.

Ben Bangert

Love at first sight — twice

My sweetheart was my first love. We dated and when I was 16 years old he whisked me away to Anchorage, Alaska, where we lived for a year. We moved back to Albert Lea and lost touch with one another. We reunited five years ago. I am 34 now and it was like love at first sight all over again. We are happily married for four years now, and he treats me like a princess. I have two boys from a previous marriage, Matthew, 15, and Joshua, 13. They look up to him like a real dad, and we are one happy family with three cats. Cory is my first love, and I love him with all my heart. We will be together forever.


Below is a verse we read during our wedding, and we love the wording.

O, my love is like a red, red rose,

That is newly sprung in June.

O, my love is like the melody,

That is sweetly played in tune.

As fair are you, my lovely lass,

So deep in love am I,

And I will love you still, my dear,

Till all the seas go dry.

Till all the seas go dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt with the sun!

O I will love you still, my dear,

While the sands of life shall run.

And fare you well, my only Love,

And fare you well a while!

And I will come again, my Love,

Although it were ten thousand mile!

Gina Tennis

Love began as friendship

In 1951 while attending a social at Albert Lea High School as a freshman, I saw a nice looking dark-haired boy with a butch haircut who was then a senior at ALHS. Years later I occasionally saw him in Albert Lea and knew him well enough to say “Hello” — and that was the extent of our relationship.

Then one day after his wife passed away he walked into our office to do some financial business, and I extended my sympathy to this man and told him that I could certainly understand as I had lost my husband three months previously. He in turn extended his sympathy to me. A few months later he asked me to go to dinner (on a Sunday) and I did have a difficult time on weekends so that sounded perfect, however, I asked if he liked to grill and he said he certainly did, so that was the beginning of a great friendship. We had a five-year courtship and were married 10 years ago on Jan. 26. We walk together, have great friends, love each other’s families, go to church regularly and both of us sing in the choir at First Lutheran — you have probably guessed who we are — Loring and Jinni Olson — we are blessed!!

Loring and Jinni Olson

A whirlwind marriage

This story begins when a young girl, with stars in her eyes, fell in love with a handsome young man she spied on the tennis courts. There was just one problem, she was already engaged to a mechanic she had dated for some time. She was working at a drugstore and one day the handsome tennis guy came into her drugstore.

He had been hired as the delivery boy. They immediately felt an attraction to each other and to make a long story very short, she broke off her engagement to the mechanic and started dating her tennis star. They were so much in love, they didn’t want to wait for a big wedding, so one very snowy Feb. 24 night, she took her dad’s car, picked up her love and two friends from Minneapolis and drove to Northwood, Iowa, and were married by the justice of the peace, just three short months from the time she spied in him on the tennis court.

Theirs was a whirlwind marriage, full of joy and laughter and soon two little girls blessed their life. Her love volunteered for the U.S. Navy Air Force and was one of the fortunate ones to come back home to his family. A few years later a little boy baby completed the family. During the years there were many joys and ups and downs (as any marriage had), but they were very very much in love. Their love sustained them through the many happy years and the sad ones that robbed them of their happy ending. Her love developed Alzheimer’s and through eight sad years, she continued to take care of him while losing the relationship she treasured.

The patience and love that she showed him over those last years helped her to continue to love and care for him until his untimely passing at a young age of 69 years. Though he was gone, his memory lives on and on and she will soon be turning 90. In not too many years she will once again be joined with the love of her life in the glorious hereafter. But for now, the memories live on with her and with us children.

Mom, we love you and treasure the many years you have been with us. Your love for dad has endured for all these years and we know he is looking down and loving you, too! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Janice Grodahl, Dorothy Burglund’s oldest daughter

Couple excited for future together

Arik and I just were engaged on Dec. 28, 2010, and I wanted to share our story.

Stacy and Arik

To build some background on us: Arik and I met when I was a senior in high school and he was a junior. We started dating and when it came time for me to leave for college, Arik convinced me to stay and wait a year so we could attend college together. After Arik graduated we attended Minnesota State University, Mankato. We attended and both graduated from Mankato. After college Arik and I have been working and pursuing careers. We have been dating for right around six and a half years and have created many memories together.

This past December after Christmas Arik asked if I wanted to do a getaway to Lanesboro while I was still on holiday break from teaching. Arik said that we could stay at a bed and breakfast and do some fun winter activities. We arrived at the Stone Mill Bed and Breakfast in downtown Lanesboro. The Stone Mill is really unique because it offers 10 rooms each with their own theme.  The room we stayed in was the forest suite. Arik told me that he had planned an outdoor activity that night and that I needed to wear warm clothes because we were going to be outside. That is all he would tell me. I inquired about some more details but Arik just said just dress warm and enjoy being outside in the winter. So, I wear my winter attire and just went with it.

Arik said that we needed to drive to a address and that it we would start our activity there. Arik and I drove to Whalan. We drove up a huge hill and way into the bluff country. Then we pulled into a driveway for a farm house. I was a little caught off guard because here we are sitting in a random driveway out in the country. I asked Arik if we could get out or what he had planned. A few moments later I heard bells and a horse drawn sleigh came up the forest path. I was super excited to go for a sleigh ride through the hillsides and bluffs. There was snow on the trees, and the sun was just going down. Arik and I got into the sleigh and started to go through the beautiful woodland winter scene.

We were able to see breathtaking overlooks and the Root River flowing through the valleys. The sleigh ride took us through some more woods and came to a small log cabin in the woods. The sleigh driver and his wife offered to take us inside where they had prepared hot chocolate to warm us up  bit. Next to the cabin was a scenic overlook. Below the point was the Root River flowing through the wintry valley. Arik asked me to go out there and enjoy the view. Once we got out there I was standing there taking the view in, when I turned around I found Arik on one knee asking me to marry him. I was really excited and of course told him, “Yes!”

This was a unique and very memorable way to be proposed to. I personally had never thought of being asked this way. Arik and I spent the next day cross country skiing and enjoying the warm weather and great Minnesota outdoors. We look forward to getting married this August in Albert Lea. We are both excited for what the futures holds for us and the many more memories we have to create.

Stacy Schlobohm and Arik Matson