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Love on the Kenai

Residents relate their romantic tales

Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2006

Fixup scheme gone awry leads to love

“It was just another rainy Friday night in Juneau. My friend Jim and I had a routine on Fridays after work, a workout and then beer and pool at the Elks. But on this Friday after our workout he wanted to go to the Baronof hotel. It seems that Mary, who worked at the bank next to our office, had a sister visiting from Florida and Jim wanted to meet her. The sisters were going to have dinner that night at the Baronof.

The hotel lounge had a good band so we got a table near the dance floor. Jim then asked the sisters to join us at our table for after-dinner drinks. When they arrived at our table I was introduced to the lovely visitor, Ellen. I was surprised when Jim began talking to Mary, leaving me to have a conversation with Ellen. Of course when the band started I asked her if she liked to dance. She did, we did and she was a great dance partner.

Our conversation and dancing continued for some time. I finally realized how much time had passed and that I had best leave so that Jim would be able to “meet” Ellen. I announced that, while I was sorry to leave good company, I was going to go shoot some pool. The only response was Ellen’s soft, “I like pool.” Well then, I said, we could all go and play pool. Jim and Mary said for us to go on ahead that they would join us later. They never did.

I held Ellen’s hand as we walked down the sidewalk to the Elks. That was in 1973 and I still like to hold her hand when we walk. Our 31st wedding anniversary is next month.”

Jim Bennett, Soldotna

Woman whips up recipe for romance

“Stan and I met in January 1969 and I felt Stan was someone special. After a couple of dates, Valentine’s Day came and I decided to bake a large chocolate-chip cookie for him. After I baked it, I wondered what I should write on it.

I decided to be brave and put “Be Mine,” and the rest was history. We were married in October 1970. That was 37 years, six wonderful children ad nine amazing grandchildren later and I still think he’s someone very special!”

Jan Steadman, Soldotna

Sand dune sets scene for fledgling relationship

“I met my husband, Bryan, in seventh grade when my family moved to a small town in Michigan. In eighth grade he started liking me because my dad had a Porsche and Bryan wanted a chance to drive it. However, I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 years old. So he waited until I was 16 to date me.

For our first date he blindfolded me and drove me around town so I wouldn’t know where we were. We ended up at the beach and walked along the shore as the sun was beginning to set. As we walked, we came upon the word “Look” written in the sand with an arrow pointing up to a sand dune. There, written in sticks was, “I love you Veronica” on the side of the dune. At the top of the dune, there was a candlelit table with roses. We sat down and Bryan yelled “Waiter!” A friend came walking over the dune with sparkling grape juice and dinner. We had a wonderful time, but everyone joked he could never top our first date. He did with his proposal, though.

For my 19th birthday Bryan and I went back to the beach to go for a walk to “our sand dune.” As we walked along the beach there were again messages written in the sand. The first one said “Happy Birthday Beautiful.” The next one said “You’re the only one for me,” followed by “I love you more than you’ll ever know,” then “It’s only a matter of time and we’ll be together for always” and finally “Look” with an arrow pointing to the same dune. This time with sticks he wrote “Bryan + Veronica 4-ever.”

We walked to the top of the sand dune and reminisced about our first date. Bryan asked “Do you see the knees prints in the sand?” Then he got down on one knee he said, “Veronica Lynne, will you marry me?”

I said yes and we were married the next summer and have been happily married for seven years now. The good news is that over the years of waiting for and dating me, Bryan was able to drive the Porsche many times.”

Veronica Copenhaver, Soldotna

Central peninsula home to ‘twitter-paited’ love

“My husband, Richard McGahan Sr., and I met in April, 1964, shortly after the big earthquake in Soldotna. Our first date was going to see an Elvis Presley movie at the Quonset hut where Beeman’s sits now.

Our first kiss was in the car sitting in front of the Lamplight Bar in Nikiski on our third date. He asked me to marry him that night, right after that kiss! We will celebrate our 42nd anniversary this year.

We have 4 children and their spouses, and 12 grandchildren, that are ALL North Roaders. We’re pretty proud of that! God has been so good to us.

To this day, I look across the room at him, and I’m still twitter-paited!”

Karen Mc Gahan, Nikiski

Letters from sea lead to marriage on beach

“My wife Elaine and I were the ultimate in long-distance romance. We only met because her cousin and I were both officers in the U.S. Navy. Elaine’s cousin thought that we might make a good couple and suggested I write Elaine a letter. Since I was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Elaine was living in Maine at the time, this was what you might call a real “long shot.” ...

Two weeks later, in early August, I was at home in my apartment on a Sunday afternoon when the phone rang. It was Elaine. She had gotten my letter and thought I sounded promising enough to risk a phone call. After we had talked for several hours, we agreed that we should meet in person. ...

Over the next two months, we spoke via phone almost every night when I was not out at sea. This despite the five hour time difference between Maine and Hawaii, not to mention my $1,000-plus phone bill!

When my sub was unexpectedly deployed to the Western Pacific for six weeks in mid-September, we both decided that we could not wait until Christmas. So I gave Elaine my credit card number and while I was deployed, she made plane reservations for me to visit Maine over Thanksgiving.

I flew to Maine and met Elaine in person, along with her family. I spent three days there. Four weeks later, when Elaine flew to Hawaii on Dec. 26, I was waiting with an engagement ring. We spent a week together on that visit.

The third time we met was in February, when Elaine returned to Hawaii and we were married at Kahuku Point, on the north shore of Oahu.

Feb. 19, 2006 will be our 12th wedding anniversary. As we both like to say, the story of our meeting and falling in love proves that some things were just meant to be.”

Bill and Elaine Howell, Sterling

Activities, love for kids, God keep couple happy

“We are Delores and John Lindeman and we will be celebrating 45 years of marriage in 2006. We grew up on farms 14 miles apart in southern Minnesota. We met at the roller rink in Delores’ hometown of Morgan. Falling in love just happened, kind of like the warm February sunshine in Alaska shines in the windows of our log home. Like this morning, we pulled our chairs into that warm sunshine and read our daily Bible reading and devotions — and that is how we have kept that spark of love alive — sharing our faith in God, sharing numerous Alaska outdoor adventures on horseback, skiing, hiking, camping, canoeing and snowmachining.

We commercial fish, raise and sell hay and share life in delightful ways with our six children and now with our 11 grandchildren. We both agree — love is wonderful and precious.”

Delores and John D. Lindeman, Ninilchik

Husband digs up creative proposal

“We met at work. An all-American Love Story. A chef and a waitress at a high-class hotel/restaurant in Anchorage. I had always believed that there was someone for everyone, but at 40 years old, I had the strong suspicion that my someone had been hit by a bus. What I didn’t realize is that, being 11 years younger than me, that when I was graduating high school, my someone was in kindergarten.

We moved to Soldotna in 1999. The best part of Anchorage, for me, has always been that beautiful and scenic drive leaving it.

He asked me to marry him in St. Augustine, Fla. He took his metal detector on vacation, a feat never repeated. Lugging that metal detector around should’ve given me a little clue about his plan. We were at the beach — me sunning, him with the metal detector.

Suddenly, the detector goes off with a high-pitched whining drone. I say, “Honey, that’s a little loud.” His pained expression was one I’ll always treasure. He asked me to dig up the engagement ring he had unobtrusively buried and BOOM — here we are five years later.

He’s the only man who has ever touched my heart and my funny bone. He’s way too firmly entrenched in my soul for me to ever live without him now.”

Brenda Mcclure, Sterling

Mexico a special place

“My name is Eric Whitney and my wife’s name is Sarah Whitney. We live in Kenai and have been married for a little over two months.

My wife and I met in May 2004. We became engaged on the beach in Puerto Vallarta Mexico on Nov. 26, 2004. We planned our wedding throughout the next year and were Married on Nov. 25, 2005 at sunset on the beach in Puerto Vallarta. ...”

Eric Whitney, Kenai

Pen pals turn into marriage partners

“I met my husband Floyd F. Poage Sr. when he came down to Cebu City, Philippines to meet the pen pal to whom he had been writing. It was love for both of us living very far apart.

It started when he found my name listed in Japan International Pen Pal Club. He wrote on my birthday, Sept. 1, 1969, and I received it after five days because I was working at the post office. He introduced himself and I answered him the very same day.

After that, letters were coming almost every day from him and I responded right away to each one. After three months of exchanging letters, he decided to come down and meet me in person. Before he came, I wrote him and asked, “Do you smoke or drink? I don’t.”

He arrived Dec. 15, 1969, and we were married Dec. 18. I came back to Alaska with him on Jan. 2, 1970, where our love for each other has kept us for over 36 years.”

Angeles P. Poage, Kenai

Wife offers poetic recollection of marriage

“He went “drag” —I was “stag” that December of ‘75. Unattached but always looking, I surveyed ALL of the guys.

I asked his boss to “hook me up” if indeed the gentleman was single. The crowded party was not conducive for many to mix and mingle.

On January 5th of the very next year — as I recall it was ’76. I met the man who had awed us all with his fine pair of drum sticks.

That very same night in Beaumont, Texas, he picked me up for a date. At a fine seafood dinner I knew I had a winner as he ate EVERYTHING on his plate!

It took 45 days for him to see that I was special, too.On February 19th, he proposed and he asked me to say “I DO.”

This year as we celebrate 30 with many memories to share, We have our son and his wife — a daughter-in-law wonderfully rare.

Cruising in June with Julian and Jess, plus eight of our very dear friends —In Hawaii we’ll remember fun times we’ve had that still never seem to end.

It was easy surviving 23 years of flying back and forth to the Slope. Now that he’s home, our love for each other will see us through the next 30 we hope!”

Jocelyn Wells, Kenai



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