"My Most Romantic Story:" Runners-up


Renee Hessel
New York

After close to 40 years of marriage, I became a widow, and for 10 years, I didn't date. So I had lots of free time available. I volunteered to chair my 50th high school reunion and met up with lots of my fellow classmates via e-mail and telephone.

As the day of the reunion approached, I held a committee meeting in my home. Three people came to help with the name tags--another woman and two men. One of the men, Ira, was single. But I never gave a thought to dating.

The committee meeting was very successful, and when the day of the reunion arrived, Ira asked if he could come over to help me transport souvenirs to the restaurant. I accepted his offer.

The day of the reunion was a real high, and as soon as it was over, each of us returned home, I received an e-mail from Ira asking if we could "do lunch" the coming week. I accepted, thinking he just wanted to tell me who he had met at the reunion and to thank me for chairing it.

I was wrong. He was interested in getting to know me better. As the weeks went by, we saw each other weekly, and then daily.

I am a lucky woman to have found love again, "the second time around." Ira and I are now planning to move to a 55-and-over community together.

Life is good, and I feel like I am eating dessert daily.

Donna H

I was the studious girl in high school who tutored the football players but never dated them or anyone else. Years later I found out nobody ever asked me on dates because they were "warned" by the football players that if they hurt me, the team would hurt them (AARRRGGGHH).

Luckily, my Freshman year, the class officers held a mystery heart game. Every Freshman listed five things people might like to know about them. Those items were written on the backs of numbered paper hearts.

Each Freshman was given a heart containing information from another Freshman of the opposite sex (randomly picked out of a bucket), and they had to find the person who "matched" their piece. The first boy and the first girl to correctly identify their match would each get a gift certificate for a free limo ride, dinner for two, a dozen roses, and a box of chocolates.

I was pretty sure I knew who my heart matched because it sounded like a guy I knew. So I went looking for him to find out if I was right. Patrick was one of the quiet guys from the Football team. When I approached him, he said he thought he had my piece too. (It turned out that we were both right!)

Little did I know that he'd had a crush on me for quite a while. He searched for the guy who had gotten my information on his heart and gave the guy $40 to switch pieces with him--even though he wasn't sure it was the correct piece.

Since both of us were first to find our matches, we ended up going on romantic dates two weekends in a row.

It was the sweetest thing that had ever happened to me, made even sweeter by the fact that we had both been lucky enough to get each other's hearts-- or so I thought.

I didn't find out about his "switch play" until after we had been dating for nearly 2 years.


Emily Sherman

My husband is an active-duty Marine, so he is gone a lot of the time either for training, deployments or other military obligations. It is something that after almost 6 years of marriage I have become accustomed to. But when I was pregnant with our first child in the summer of 2005 I was devastated when my husband had to attend fleet week in New York City for 10 days right at the end of my pregnancy.

My due date was just around the corner and I was living in an area in which I had no family or help if an emergency were to happen.

Sad that he would have to go despite our circumstances, I begged my husband to call me daily so that I would feel less lonely and anxious.
Each day and night he called me. But I grew sadder and sadder with each passing day that we were apart. This was a special time for us both and I wanted us to be together.

One night when I was feeling very lonely, my phone began to ring. "Too late at night," I thought, "to be my husband." When I answered the phone I was treated to a scene straight out of "Top Gun." On the other end of the line was a chorus of 20+ United States Marines, including my husband, serenading me and all the other lonely wives and girlfriends that they all had phoned at the same instant to sing, "You've Lost that Loving Feeling."

At that moment, I fell completely and madly in love with my husband all over again. Despite our distance. he had still found a way to be completely romantic and to let me know exactly how much he loved and missed me as well.

It is something I will surely never forget.