How We Met: Real-Life Tales of How Happily Married Couples Found Each Other

How We Met: Real-Life Tales of How Happily Married Couples Found Each Other

by Michele Bowers, Melissa Steinfeld

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250099044
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 09/29/2015
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 128
File size: 366 KB

About the Author

Michelle Bowers has written for People, the Los Angeles Times, Health, and other publications. She lives in San Francisco with her husband.

Melissa Steinfeld Galett is an executive recruiter in publishing. She and her husband live in New York City.


Michelle Bowers has written for People, the Los Angeles Times, Health, and other publications. She lives in San Francisco with her husband.
Melissa Steinfeld Galett is an executive recruiter in publishing. She and her husband live in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

How We Met

Real-Life Tales of How Happily Married Couples Found Each Other


By Michelle Bowers, Melissa Steinfeld Galett

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2000 Michelle Bowers and Melissa Steinfeld Galett
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-09904-4



CHAPTER 1

Bill and Nancy

oral surgeon, 60; internist, 48 married May 17, 1998


I was at a point in my life when I knew I wanted to get married. Finding the right woman, though, was taking a lot longer than I'd hoped. One Sunday afternoon in March 1997, I took a date to a performance of the Westchester Philharmonic. During the intermission, as we were talking in the lobby, I spotted this stunning woman. I loved the way she looked; I loved her posture, her smile. I loved the way she related to her friends. Her eyes were so alive, so bright, and so happy. I said to myself, What an attitude. I mean, she was just terrific. As she walked away, I thought, Wow. That's her. This is who I've been looking for. It was purely a one-way meeting. She never even saw me.

This woman was contrary to everything I always thought I was looking for. I'm six foot four, and I always liked very tall, blond women. Here I was, suddenly bowled over by a petite brunette. I desperately wanted to talk to her, but I'm a gentleman and it certainly would have been rude to my date that evening. Then I remembered: there was another concert five weeks later. I decided then and there that I would come to that concert alone and hope she would be there. I would introduce myself then.

After intermission, my date and I returned to our seats, and I spied the woman from the lobby sitting in the orchestra section. I thought to myself immediately, If I know what seat she's in, I might be able to track her down. Telling my date my beeper had gone off, I excused myself to go call my office — an unabashed lie: I ran downstairs and looked at which row and seat she was in.

In the office on Monday, I couldn't stop thinking about her. I just couldn't wait until the next concert so many weeks away. And what if she wasn't a subscription member of the Philharmonic? I had better write to her, I decided. I couldn't just let this go. In a two-page letter, I described what I liked about her and told her all about myself — my background and family. Just to be safe, I also mentioned that I was much younger than the average gray-haired concertgoer at the Philharmonic. I ended by asking her to call me if she liked. On the front of the envelope I wrote, "To the Woman in Seat L6." And I sent it off with a note to the Philharmonic public relations director asking her if she could forward this letter to the woman who held the ticket for that seat, assuming it didn't breach any rules. I learned a long, long time ago that the meek shall not inherit the earth — you have to go for it.

A few weeks passed and I didn't hear anything from the Philharmonic or the woman in Seat L6. One Sunday, I was at home with a friend when my phone rang. I decided not to answer it, figuring if it was important enough, the person would leave a message on my machine. An hour later, the phone rang again. When my friend finally left, I rushed back into the house to try to figure out who had been ringing me every hour for the last three hours. But no one left any messages! I had never tried this before, but I picked up the phone and dialed *69. An unfamiliar woman answered and I asked, "Who is this?" She said to me, "What do you mean, 'who's this'? You called me!" And I replied, "Well, this is Bill. I'm returning your call. I dialed star-six-nine." Then she uttered the three most beautiful words, "This is L6!"

Her name was Nancy. That day at the concert, she had been a guest of her friend, Paula who owned the season tickets. My letter made its way to Paula, who realized it was meant for Nancy. We spoke on the phone for a while that day and I learned she was a doctor, too. The fact that she was still a total stranger didn't stop me from being nuts about her. There was another concert coming up the following week, and I suggested we go together. She thought that was a wonderful idea.

Before the concert, I took her to a lovely restaurant, and we enjoyed a chilled bottle of white wine. During the meal, she was a little questioning but receptive to me. Nancy is a person who believes that everything happens for a reason and that there are no coincidences. This woman has such a positive attitude. To her, there is nothing bad in the world. I was ecstatic just being around her. I knew that day that this gal was the one. I felt it in my bones, and I was starting to get nervous a little. How could this be real?

We had a wonderful lunch and it was a gorgeous afternoon. I took the top down on my car, and we drove up to the concert hall for the performance. Afterward, we took a beautiful long nature walk in a nearby park. That's where I held her hand for the first time. As the sun started to go down, I said to her, "Well, we have to have dinner now."

When I put her back in her car, I kissed her on the cheek good-bye, and I told her I would speak to her very shortly. I called her as soon as she got home. After we hung up, I phoned my son, who is my best friend. "Jonathan," I said. "I just met your future stepmother." He admonished, "Dad, get with it! Come back to earth. What have you been drinking?" I said, "I'm telling you — I am absolutely in love."

Nancy has brought such an infusion of life into my world. In the years I've known her, she has never uttered a negative word about anything. I love her positive attitude about everything. And you don't even need to talk to her to realize this — it just spills over into every facet of who she is. From the moment I met her, a song kept playing over and over in my head. The lyrics are, "I hear singing and there's no one there, I smell blossoms and the trees are bare." It described my feelings for her exactly.

Later that year, I took Nancy to Bermuda. Our very first night there, we were sitting at dinner in a beautiful, scenic restaurant and suddenly I knew I had to ask her to marry me. That was the moment — ring or no ring. I hadn't planned it or debated over the decision to propose. I just did it.

We were married on the stage of the Westchester Philharmonic. The setting was beautiful and perfect for a wedding. We gathered under a very sentimental huppa that Nancy's grandfather had sewn with patches of fabric from the old country. Our friends and relatives held up the huppa while my daughters and son — who was my best man — and Nancy's brothers stood up as our witnesses. We recited our vows while all our guests looked on from the audience. Most importantly, we had a spotlight shining on seat L6. In the middle of the ceremony the rabbi said, "Everybody turn around. That's where she was." Exactly where I found her.

CHAPTER 2

Jim and Pam

real estate executive, 34; pharmaceutical salesperson, 29 married December 27, 1997


We tell everyone this story. I was coming home from work really late one night wearing a rumpled suit and a loosened tie. I was an exhausted bachelor and I needed to eat. So where else would I go but the 7-Eleven? In the store I took a turn down the candy aisle and I saw this really cute girl. We gave each other dumbfounded, lingering glances. I looked at her like, Wow. She's cute. She looked at me like she might be thinking I was pretty cute, too.

Pam was wearing messy housework clothes and had paint in her hair and no makeup on at all. She was carrying a bunch of plates and cups so I asked her, "Hey, where's the party?" I mean, I had to say something. She told me her parents were helping her paint her condo and she was just picking up Chinese food and some soft drinks for them. I asked, "And are you bringing that stuff back for your husband or your boyfriend?" I wasn't wasting any time, here. Luckily, the answer was neither. Coincidentally, I ran into her again at the checkout counter and we talked some more. I was finished paying before she was, so I shuffled out of the store as slowly as possible, hoping she'd catch up to me, which she did.

We talked for a while out in the parking lot. Then she was about to leave and I said, "Well, maybe I'll run into you again sometime." But Los Angeles is a big city, and all of a sudden I realized I might never see her again. I couldn't let her leave, so I walked back up to her and — desperate for something to say — asked if she went to UCLA. It was a weed-out question, to figure out how old she was. Thankfully, she wasn't a young undergrad, so I took a huge leap and asked her for her phone number. I had to; I just couldn't let her drive away. I think by then she could tell I wasn't a freak or anything. And she didn't hesitate — she just whipped her pen right out. I went home after that and told my dad that I just met this great girl and I thought I was going to marry her. It was love at first sight.

It was a Friday when I first called and asked her out. She was busy for Saturday but suggested we go out that very same night. I liked her spontaneity. We went to a movie and then I bought her an ice cream. It was a nice low-pressure night, especially since we didn't know each other at all and, aside from one convenience-store encounter, had nothing in common yet.

The next weekend everything fell into place. I took Pam out Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, and then we went to church together Sunday morning. We didn't plan to spend the whole weekend together, it just happened. Wondering if I seemed too available never even entered into the equation because it all just felt so right. It was an immediate lock. And from then on, we were a couple. Even that second weekend, I knew that we would definitely be together for a while. I didn't know if my marriage premonition would come true or not, but Pam and I were going to be serious.

I decided not to tell Pam about my early thoughts of marriage until it was exactly the right time. A year and a half later, I proposed to her by saying, "The first day we met, I told my dad I knew I was going to marry you. Tonight I'd like to make that a reality." Pam made my dream come true. She said yes.

CHAPTER 3

Doug and Kathryn

technical writer, 55; homemaker, 52 married September 4, 1967


Ours was a whirlwind, wartime romance. The Vietnam War was raging, and I got drafted. Willing to do anything to stay out of the army, I signed up for the navy and shipped off to Japan, near Yokohama. I was only twenty-one.

My buddies and I were going downtown one day to get off the base and blow off some steam. We didn't have a lot of money, so the best we could hope for was finding a bar and some cheap beer. There was a bus that took us right from the base into Yokohama, but as we went to catch it, we saw the tailpipe disappearing around the corner. If we had only been a minute earlier! Being dirt poor, we couldn't afford to take a cab. Out of desperation, we decided to check out what was going on at the base instead.

That late August day, the base happened to be hosting a local Japanese harvest festival, Bon Adori, which was in full swing by the time we arrived. Having nothing better to do, we watched the dancing and the fireworks and tossed back a few Japanese beers. Standing up against a fence, one of my buddies started talking to the girl next to him. I wasn't interested in her initially. She was American, and dating Japanese girls was much more fun and intriguing for us military boys. Plus, she was a navy brat — her Dad was a "lifer" — and I hated the navy. I didn't really want to have anything to do with this girl, Kathryn. But then my friend wandered away, leaving me standing right next to her. When we started talking, I discovered I was able to talk to her easily and we got along quite well. She was really pretty cute! I boxed my other friend Woody out before he had a chance to move in on Kathryn.

She had been in Japan with her parents for a few months but hadn't seen any sights. I volunteered to show her around. We loved to go to Tokyo and sit in coffeehouses and listen to classical music. I took Kathryn on her first trip on a subway. She'd never been on one before. It was so much fun, and she was such an interesting traveling companion. We walked our feet off in Japan.

When I talked to Kathryn, I never felt awkward. I could tell her about all the things that interested me, and she listened. She was able to do the same, and we found out that we liked many of the same things. And she would laugh at my feeble jokes. Kathryn had a nice laugh — she still does. She complemented me, and I like to think I complemented her.

We also discovered that we both had Norwegian ancestors and that our families came from the same region in Norway, no more than one hundred miles apart. We like to think that had we not met in Japan, maybe we would have found each other in Norway....

After just a little while, I was hooked on her. It took me only four months to propose. (Hey, it was wartime.) We married almost exactly one year after we met. Woody, who missed the bus with me that day on the base, was my best man. At our wedding he was introduced to Kathryn's sister and they later fell in love and got married! That one missed bus ride resulted in two very happy unions. There isn't a day that's gone by that I've taken that for granted. Thank God I missed the bus.

CHAPTER 4

Jane and Matthew

advertising executive, 34; lawyer, 32 married October 18, 1992


When my best friend from childhood asked me to be her maid of honor, there was just one condition: she didn't want me to bring a date to the wedding. Laurie was marrying an English man, Jonathan, and they both desperately wanted me to meet Matthew, Jonathan's brother and best man. The only thing I had ever heard about him was that at a New Year's Eve party once they all danced the lambada, and Matthew danced with an air mattress.

He irritated me from the very first. When I met him I mentioned that I lived in Germany for a year. He asked if I spoke German and said, "If you're like most Americans you probably know how to ask where the train station is." I replied, "Fick mal ab." Let's just say I strongly insulted him.

Even though Matthew really got on my nerves, there was something about him that I thought was very funny. Annoying in a funny way. He had the English superiority thing going on, and we teased each other constantly with a competition of words. There's something about English humor: they love to malign each other. It's very clever and amusing, but if you're not used to it, it can be very biting. I was definitely struck by him.

The week after Laurie and Jonathan's wedding, Matthew went to Cape Cod with his family for the Fourth of July weekend. I was also going to the Cape to visit some friends. Matthew and I made plans to get together one afternoon. When I arrived at the inn where he was staying, Matthew observed, "Two hours is a very long way to drive to see someone you don't know very well." I was infuriated that he had embarrassed me in front of his family. All during the drive home I thought, This guy is really too much. When he called the next day to ask me to dinner, I barked, "I don't want to spend any time with you! I have better things to do with my life than listen to you insult me!" I ranted for a while before I hung up. My sister told me I was a little harsh. So I called him back eating humble pie and agreed to go out to dinner.

That night Matthew brought me a lily plant and a bottle of champagne, on which he had written a funny poem. He felt bad about having given me such a hard time. That's when I thought, This guy is really sweet. And that night at dinner my fortune cookie read, prophetically, "You will take a trip across the ocean."

We kissed that night, which was a big moment. And then he left the next day for England. We wrote letters and he sent me flowers one day, which just happened to be my birthday.

A few months later, some friends of mine asked me to come visit them in England, and I jumped at the idea. Pretending I was going on holiday to see them, I called Matthew, and with one of my more pathetic lines I said, "I'm going to be in London and I wanted to know if you wanted to get some coffee." He graciously replied, "Coffee and perhaps a meal?" I had already booked the trip, so I told him the dates and he stammered, "Um ... well, I'm going to have to see, yes, well, let me see if I can do some juggling." I immediately knew there was another girl.

On the plane over it really struck me. What am I doing?! When I got to Heathrow Airport he was waiting for me wearing a fedora and a trench coat. I had told him I loved tea and these special English biscuits, and he had brought me a whole case of them, along with a thermos of hot tea. I was amazed that he remembered and thought it was the cutest thing.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from How We Met by Michelle Bowers, Melissa Steinfeld Galett. Copyright © 2000 Michelle Bowers and Melissa Steinfeld Galett. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Acknowledgments,
Introduction,
Bill and Nancy,
Jim and Pam,
Doug and Kathryn,
Jane and Matthew,
Danette and Kevin,
Mark and Lesia,
John and Alessandra,
Norm and Ellen,
Karen and Don,
Paul and Mimi,
Ilissa and David,
Jodi and Aaron,
Fran and Steve,
Tim and Cora,
Gina and Bob,
Steve and Nancy,
Irene and Steve,
Scott and Christie,
Kathy and Bruce,
Andrea and Neil,
Mitzi and Brent,
Veronica and Will,
Marcia and Bedros,
Eleanor and Danny,
Diana and P. J.,
Clair and Eric,
Alison and Glenn,
Mathew and Andrea,
Sevina and Jeff,
Jim and Sheri,
Stephanie and Tom,
Beth and Josh,
Alice and John,
Sarah and Marshal,
Beth and Mark,
Patty and Aria,
Kelly and Andrew,
David and Wendy,
Rita and John,
Claudia and Gordon,
Corey and Amy,
Mirion and Geraldine,
Cynthia and Ron,
Valri and Bob,
Shelly and David,
About the Authors,
Copyright,

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