Romancing the heart

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winner chosen

Steve and Lisa Hill’s story won the Tribune’s love story contest. They won a $50 gift certificate to Crescendo in Albert Lea. Look to the Feb. 14 edition of the Tribune for a feature on the Hills.


30 years and going strong

Steve and Lisa Hill

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There are times when he drives me crazy! We will celebrate 30 years of marriage this September, and all I can say is that life would be pretty boring without Steve.

When we met, I was pretty shy. And although I didn’t know him, he started to tease me. It wasn’t a mean kind of teasing but a funny kind. After meeting, we attended the same Bible study together. I thought, “What’s with this guy?!” He had the most ridiculous thoughts, and then they came out of his mouth!

Time went on and with his sense of humor and the laughter it created, it made him easy to be around. I began to see how he really cared about others; it just came pre-wrapped in “funny.” Being shy, I realized that if he could say some of the crazy things he did, I could talk to him, too. So we became friends.

Somewhere, maybe a year and a half after we had met, our friendship changed. I knew that I cared for him more than just a friend. And apparently he felt the same, so when he asked me out, I said yes. Our first date was Feb. 13, 1982. We went to a movie and then to a restaurant for ice cream. He cracked out a deck of cards and we played in the restaurant; who does that?

Our love grew and our everlasting commitment was made on Sept. 4, 1982. We made our vows, and here we are. We were blessed with two kids. They are now both adults and married as well. And we now have our first granddaughter, whom we love dearly! Time has marched on so quickly.

Life hasn’t always been easy, however. In fact, we’ve seen more than our share of sorrow. But one thing I do know is that there is only one person that I would want to walk through those tough times with and it’s Steve. We both take care of each other. He has carried me through difficulties, and I have carried him as well. Our faith has been the foundation of it all. Sure, we’re still human and say and do things that irritate the other, but we work it out.

He says that he “cracked my shell” way back when. And some days he’s still cracking it more!

Lisa Hill




Deployment hasn’t been easy

One evening, I went on a motorcycle ride with some friends. This is when I first spotted this smoking-hot frame, very easy-on-the-eyes and well-maintained motorcycle! Little did I know that the man driving it would become the love of my life, Kyle Davis, who’s from Albert Lea.

Krystle Kuchera and Kyle Davis

I’ll never forget our first date. I work as a massage therapist in Austin, and Kyle was in getting a massage when he asked me out for dinner. I chose Taco John’s. After, we went to my apartment and talked all night long.

After dating for one short month, Kyle informed me that he was getting deployed to Kuwait with Albert Lea’s Delta Company of the Minnesota National Guard. He then followed it with the statement, “Do you just want to end this now or what?” I replied that it wasn’t fair, and we would take it day by day. My thought was that in six months we might not even like each other and then wouldn’t have to make that difficult decision. The time came and went. I simply knew he was the one worth waiting for.

Eight months went by, and we were having the time of our lives when the deployment started. Right up until a week or two before the deployment we never talked about it. Our brains were set on getting to know each other and learning from each other. I wanted him to meet all of my friends and learn my lifestyle so he knew exactly what I’d be up to while he was away. My big focus was (and still is) all about including him as much as possible.

First, he was gone for two weeks for advanced training, home for four days, gone for 45 days to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and home for a four-day leave before leaving the country. After being gone for 45 days at Fort McCoy, something deep inside of Kyle must have told him to make the best choice of his life: propose to me! Kyle proposed on July 19. On July 20, I drove him back to Fort McCoy to continue his journey. I like to think that he decided he couldn’t live without me. Who really knows?

Kyle got to come home for a two-week leave from Kuwait in October. This period was one of the most difficult times in our relationship. It’s that “stuck between a rock and a hard place” feeling. I wanted him around and to be close to me and help. At the same time, I didn’t want him too close because I knew that he was leaving again. We had a bit of trouble transitioning with each other. Kyle is one of the greatest male communicators that I know. He can talk things over without getting angry. He is very patient with me. I love all of this about him and much more!

That’s the last time I’ve seen him. He is set to come home in May.

We talk every day on the phone and never go one day without saying “I love you” at least four times. In many ways this deployment is teaching us so much. We both are finding new communication skills we never knew we had. He has been great with helping to plan a wedding from Kuwait. Our love for each other only continues to grow stronger. We always say, “If we can make it through this deployment, we can make it through anything.” I feel as though this is a true test of our love for each other. Thus far, we are making it through!

One of my new favorite quotes is, “Distance does to love what wind does to fire. It extinguishes the weak and fuels the strong.” What a great gift it is to be able to miss someone this much. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff, not to take the little things for granted, and say what you really mean before it’s too late. Having Kyle away makes me appreciate the things he does so much more. It also has helped me to realize the importance of family. Learning the true meaning of what family is all about has been such a blessing.

In the end, our love for each other is what has made our bond stronger than ever and pulled us through this difficult time in our lives. Being very young and experiencing all of this has given me more time to appreciate every gift we have.

Krystle Kuchera




Couple met while in the service

We met in 1944 in the Navy at Great Lakes, Ill. He’s from Minnesota, I’m from Wisconsin. I’m from a city, he’s from a farm, with a small-town background. We were married in 1946 after we were both discharged from the service. Otto went to school at Dunwoody while I worked then moved to Albert Lea, where he worked for Wilson & Co. for 39 years. We ended up with two children. We had different personalities but Otto always went along with some of my “different” ideas and was soon enjoying our adventures. We have been all over the world, to 56 countries. When Otto retired, I went to college while I also worked. He soon saw what a great time I was having and started to audit classes. It opened up a whole new world for both of us. We had always volunteered in many fields. We have been married 65 years and are still going; not digging archeological sites and downhill skiing in the mountains, which we did until we were 80, but now enjoy sitting on a beach and still doing a little volunteering.

Charlene Becker

Albert Lea



Commitment has kept couple going

My husband, Chuck, and I started dating when I was a senior in high school, and he was a recent high school graduate. Except for a few short months when we broke up the summer before I started college until that Christmas in 1976, we have been together ever since. We married in June of 1979. We have three grown sons: Blake, 30, Jourdan, 29 and Jason, 23. We also have four grandchildren: Chase, 10, Taylor, 9, Landon, 6, and Laylah, 3. In these past 35 years, I think what has kept our marriage strong has been our commitment to making our marriage work. When we said our marriage vows, we meant them. We are there for each other through good times and bad. We laugh together about dumb TV shows, sometimes disagree about football or basketball teams, but have always put family first. We love each other, love our kids and our grandkids and expect to be together until the end.

Renee Ingledue




Young couple is just starting out

I have been married to Betsy (Volkman) Polis for the last year and three months. We dated for about seven years before getting married. We met in the halls of Albert Lea High School. Betsy was a year older then me, and I always saw her walking in the hallways as a young sophomore. I wanted to ask her for her number but was always too scared.

Mike and Betsy Polis

One day, I was working at Quiznos, and one of my fellow sandwich artists was friends with Betsy. I had waited long enough. I asked my friend for Betsy’s number. With never having spoken a single word to Betsy, I called her that evening and asked if she wanted to go on a date with me. She luckily said yes!

She came to my house for our first date (and drove right past it while I was standing in the driveway waiting) and we watched “Finding Nemo.” That was in November. The following Jan. 6, we made it official. I asked Betsy to be my girlfriend.

We hung out almost every day for the next two years. On that Valentine’s Day, I told my aunt “I know this is going to sound crazy, but I think I found the girl I am going to marry someday.” After high school, Betsy went off to St. Olaf College as I finished my final year of high school. I then went on to go to Riverland Community College and Augsburg College.

We dated long distance for the next four years. From going to see her and her coming to see me, we made it work. After graduation, we both lived back in Albert Lea at our parents. One night, Nov. 25, 2009, Betsy was working at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club, and I was at my parents’ house. I had a gut feeling that night that today I was going to propose to my best friend.

Betsy came over after work and I told her I had something to show her. I had made her a music video on my computer to the song “1, 2, 3, 4” by the Plain White T’s. One of the captions in the video read, “Engaged on 11.25.09.” Betsy looked at me somewhat confused and I got down on one knee and pulled out the ring.

I asked her, “Will you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?” It took her about 30 seconds (but it felt like an hour) and she finally realized what was going on. She said yes! (After asking me if I asked her dad first). We went on to plan the wedding and were married the following year, Nov. 6, 2010, at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.

That was the happiest day of- my life. I was absolutely blown out of the water when those doors opened and Betsy walked out of the doors of the church to walk down the aisle looking like an angel. After we returned from our honeymoon in Mexico, we lived every other night at our parents’ houses for the next two months. I got a job offer in Minnetonka, and we ended up moving to the Twin Cities that December. We have lived here ever since and have had the best time being married. I could not ask for a better person to be married to! I love you Betsy!

Mike Polis