I know you swore off "how we met" letters for a while, but I hope the moratorium is over, because here's mine:
We lived only three miles apart. She lived in the Austin area of Chicago, and I lived in Oak Park, a suburb. We met 3,000 miles away.
After seven months of combat in Europe and two months of occupation duty, my unit, the 81st Field Artillery, was shipped to Marseilles, France, in July 1945, en route to the invasion of Japan. Our equipment went on a slow freighter. We were waiting for faster troop transport when the Japanese surrendered and, of course, that changed everything. Troops with five years' service were sent home, while we short-timers were transferred to other units. I ended up in a combat engineer unit servicing Army facilities in the Marseilles area.
In mid-December, I ran into a fellow who invited me to be a fourth for bridge with his Red Cross heartthrob and an Army nurse-anesthetist whom he had double-dated back in Chicago. I met that Army nurse on Dec. 21, and fell for her like a ton of bricks. Unfortunately, she was very popular, and I couldn't get a date with her until Christmas night.
After that first date, it became a steady romance. Ten days later, she received orders to return to the States, and I was devastated. With my fingers crossed, I asked her to marry me. She surprised me by saying, "Yes," but said I would have to ask her parents for permission. I thought this was very old-fashioned, but I admired her for it. She also told me she wanted to have five children (she was one of five), and would I agree to that? I thought that was an awful lot of children, but I did agree, thinking I could review the bidding later. I returned to the States in June, got her parents' blessing, and we were married in July.
Ten years later, we had the five children she wanted--three girls and two boys. Our wonderful family now includes several sons- and daughters-in-law and 10 grandchildren. We feel blessed, and could not be happier.
C.E.P. in Cranford, N.J.
What a beautiful love story. Talk about good fortune! You've had a ton of it. I hope Lady Luck continues to smile on you. You sound like a wonderful guy, and she sounds like the perfect choice.
And now, dear readers, here's one more. This one, I loved:
This is not a "how we met" letter, this is a "how they met" letter. It was at my house over dinner. My daughter had asked me to invite two of her friends who didn't know each other. No matchmaking, just a nice dinner.
Conversation during the first course was animated and amicable. By the time the main course came around, the conversation had taken a sharp turn. I realized I had two politically polarized individuals, one conservative and the other liberal. By dessert, they came very near to pelting each other with key lime pie.
After dinner, they went their separate ways, and I said to myself, "That was certainly a disaster. Those two hated each other."
Three weeks later, my daughter phoned to say, "Well, they're engaged." I thought to myself, "That marriage is going to be a catastrophe. Those two are like fire and water." Well, Ann, they have been married 27 years, and are the most loving couple I've ever seen. Whoever said opposites attract certainly knew what he or she was talking about.
Coral Gables, Fla.
I learned long ago never to try and second-guess Cupid. You'll get tripped up every time.
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns,
visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.