Real-Life Fairy Tales
Keisha: We had mutual friends, Tisha and Jevon, they were dating. She was throwing her boyfriend a surprise birthday dinner [in December 2003] and I went over to the restaurant to help set up early. I had all of these things, trying to balance them in my hand, and I see a young black man in the parking garage and he walks right past me and gives me the "head nod." So I walk in and I have an attitude, and Rob is sitting there. He turns to me and says, "Do you need any help?" And I said, "The time to offer your help would have been in the parking garage."
In February 2004, I received flowers at work. It has an anonymous message, so I am like who in the world is this? We go another month into March, and I am shopping with Tisha, and Jevon calls her and wants her to come to some basketball game, I didn't want to go but she asked me to, so I went and Robert is there.
Afterwards, they want to get something to eat, so we go to a restaurant. While waiting to be seated, Robert tries to talk to me but I am very short with him and proceed to flip through a [local magazine]. Then he says, "Did you like the flowers I sent you?" That night, Rob asks me for my number, and so I gave him the number and he called me the next day.
Robert: I started planning the engagement in August 2006. At this point I wanted to marry her and wanted to give her an engagement she would never forget. I talked to my parents about it and then in August I moved in with my sister and rented out my house [to save up]. I decided to do it on her brother's birthday, and he was going to tell her he was having a big formal birthday party at the Ritz. There was so much going on. I was real nervous. I wanted everything to be perfect.
With the cancer continuing to grow within her body, Kat has never given up the fight. She's a pillar of strength. In October 2007, she completed the Michigan three-day breast cancer walk (57miles) and her team of 32 women, Luby's Boobies, raised over $90Ksecond only to a 217-person team sponsored by a local radio station.
Although we would not wish what we've gone through on anyone else, it has taught us how to truly love and live. I can say confidently that no oneI mean no onehas a stronger love than my wife and me. We live each day as if it was our last and go to bed each night with a kiss, a hug and a prayer for healing.
The love story doesn't end at just Kat and me. Our community has also fallen in love with my wife. Once people heard about our situation, we've received an unfathomable amount of supportdinners, gifts, well wishes, help with the kids and especially prayers. The reason for this outpouring of support is due to the person my wife is. She's loved by our community and she loves back.
This is our love story. Live or die, Kat will always be with me and if she does go to heaven, I find solace in the fact that it will only be a blink of an eye for her before we are back together again.
As the sun set I presumed we were heading back to camp, Erik urged us to drop by the marina. As we approached his boat I was greeted with it filled with rose petals. We took a boat drive. It was pitch dark out by now and I could sense there was nervousness in Erik as he told me there was one final surprise for me. He instructed me to cover my eyes, then moments later he said "open your eyes." There I stood looking out onto the lake and directly in front of me was the camp's beach front with the words "marry me" written large in flames across the shore. The first words out of my mouth were, "Can I get a dog?"
He presented me with the ring that he designed himself, and we drove the boat up to the floating docks surrounded by candles. There was a table with a plaid table cloth, two chairs and a dozen roses. Erik sat me down and presented me with some of my favorite foodsthe famous local apple pie, hot chocolate and ice cream. We proceeded to glee in delight and call our friends and family from the romantic floating docks surrounded by the beautiful Lake Ouachita. We shared the experience with the camp staff we had spent the summer with and the 600 campers that session. It was perfect.
Well, never say never—especially to love. When it hits you, you can defy all odds. We have been happily married for almost eight years now. Our life is very hectic and our finances are tight because our kids play football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, surf and run track. My husband still coaches and I help during my free time. Oh yeah, and we both work. Love conquers all!
One evening in February 2005, I gave in and answered a blocked call and a male asked for Patricia Ann. I asked who was calling and the answer was, "This is Herbie." I was speechless. After 32 years, someone from my past had been looking for me off and on for five years. If I hadn't changed had my phone number listed under my maiden name, he would not have reached me by phone. He did mention that if he hadn't reached me, he was going to drive to Lansing and ask someone if my family still lived in Lansing.
Even though he had been involved in two long-term relationships, I was surprised that he had never married. Even though he lives in Dayton, Ohio, and me in Lansing, Michigan, we are still together. He still works but we do visit each other and we talk on the phone twice a day. I had vowed that I would never fall in love again, but God touched Herbie's and my heart and brought us back together again.
I came to realize what a special person he was when I told him that I have MS. When I told other men that I had dated, they never called again. After I told Tom, he said, with tears in his eyes, "Thank you for trusting me enough to share this with me," and then he called the next day. When I am lacking, he is strong. When I am needy, he provides. When I am down, he cheers me up.
We share many things—a love of music, of friends, of family, of life's experiences. My mother died a few days before one of my birthdays. Tom sent me a letter that (in part) read, "It is hard to focus on the 'happy' part of 'happy birthday,' but that's okay. Happy can come later when you are ready. All I know is that you make me so very happy. I often can't find the words to tell you how much I love you and how much you mean to me. You're everything to me. I love you. I'll always love you. To the moon and stars, and back again. Your loving husband, Tom."
I know he is my soul mate because he makes me happy, fulfilled, complete and satisfied. How blessed we are to have come together. In my innermost being, I also know that I have known him and he has known me our whole lives.
I was serving aboard a destroyer off Vietnam in December of 1965 when one of my shipmates got a letter from his wife asking him to find someone to write to a friend of hers, a young woman from Germany who had immigrated to the United States two years earlier. We wrote until my ship returned to California. Heidi was waiting for me when we arrived in April 1966. She was just beyond the gangplank and I nervously walked from the ship to her. We stood facing each other for seconds, but I could not move nor speak when I was so close to her. She took a step closer, put her arms around me and kissed me. After this breathtaking kiss my only response was to say, "That was very nice. Should we try it again?" We spent the rest of the day together.
Two months later I asked Heidi to marry me and we married August 21, 1966, four months after that first kiss. Years later we found a connection that set us on our journeys to find each other. She had talked of departing from Germany aboard a passenger ship to immigrate to the States on March 14, 1964. My first deployment to the Western Pacific aboard the destroyer had begun March 14, 1964. We had left on the same day, the same year from ports thousands of miles apart on a journey to opposite sides of the world, so we could meet two years later. What are the chances?
The fact we are still together is a testament to our resiliency. We had to deal with my post-traumatic stress disorder. I overcame alcoholism and started a college education at age 40, with Heidi's encouragement, and received a B.A. and master's degree. Today we are closer than ever. I thank God every day because he sent me to Vietnam so I could find her.
We'd both been cast in Our Town, and we met at the first rehearsal. In spite of our ages, we had mutual friends and a similar sense of humor. Russel, who freelanced as a photographer, took my first headshots, but he discovered his true calling when he did an Our Town poster with portraits of all the cast members. Soon he was doing nearly all the Globe's theatre posters and other theatres' posters, too.
Russel and I kept in touch over the years, and in 1983 when I moved back to my hometown from New York City, we began to date. (I was over 21 by then!) We went our separate ways againme with my heart brokenso I moved back to NYC to write and work in theatre, while he pursued his fine art career along with his illustration business.
At long last, in 1989, our timing was right. I visited San Diego over the holidays and called Russel the first week of January. The next day we met for lunch in Old Town and talked for four hours. He took my brother and me out sailing in the bay the next day and afterwards we sat and talked and talked. And Russel proposed that night!
Needless to say I accepted, and we were married a few months later. We took a nearly three-year "honeymoon" on our 26-foot sailboat in Mexico (sort of a working vacation, as I was writing and he was painting), and fell more in love with every mileand every year. We lived on that boat until 2003, and just celebrated our 19th anniversary on our new 35-foot boat, and I can't imagine a better life partner. Which just shows that sometimes we can get what we know we wantif we're willing to wait for it!
Hollywood's hottest couples share their love stories
Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw's Love Story
What it took for one woman to say "I love you" first