New Castle News

Local News

February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Contest: Read the third list of 'how we met' entries

The New Castle News asked readers to reveal how they met their spouses or significant other for a special Valentine's Day contest we are conducting. Here are today's contestants.

HARRY FLANNERY

I first put my eyes on my real love on the fifth-grade playground at New Castle’s Highland Elementary School in the 1950s. Her beauty, her smile, her goodness and feelings that were felt even at such young age never left.
Maureen Flaherty then went on to a private school and the years passed. In 1965, at my brother’s wedding, she was a guest with her mom and I escorted her down the aisle to her seat. Again, the feelings were unbelievable and my heart was beating so hard. Her beauty and, yes, her smile, just blew me away.
Of course, I felt I wouldn’t have a chance with someone like her and she did not stay for the reception.
Then in the days before New Year’s Eve 1966, I had no date. My father, who happened to be Maureen’s dad’s doctor, told me she was in town due to his illness, so why not ask her out? Of course I wanted to, but I was expecting to be turned down — yet she accepted! I later learned I was the third to ask her out and she ultimately told the other two that she was unavailable.
She had the memories of our grade school encounters and, yes, had feelings when I walked her down the aisle at my brother’s wedding. We got engaged on New Year’s Eve in 1967 and got married in 1969. I found the experience so difficult to comprehend that I wrote a book dedicated to her under a pen name: “LOVE: Sex, Marriage, Divorce, or Happiness?”

DOLORES ANN DESPETORICH

I’m not a writer, but I always like to tell how my husband and I met.
He was calling a friend of his and misdialed. I was 15 at the time. I wasn’t allowed to date yet. This was the early ’50s and dating standards were strict then — at least in our household.
We just talked on the phone, for months. He said he liked the sound of my voice. Then the calls stopped and I didn’t hear from him for a year.
One summer night I got a call from him. It seems he got a look at me one day. I had told him where I lived. Obviously, he had cruised down our street. We talked for a month or so and he told me where he swam during the summer.
Of course, being 16 and driving, my girlfriend and I went to check him out. Well, I wasn’t too impressed but we still talked. My parents consented to him coming to the house and we would talk in the driveway. Things progressed and we started dating. I never knew he was five years older than me. When I found out, I never told my parents until we were engaged.
Paul and I will be married 50 years next July. He will be 80 the day before our 50th. I will have turned 75 in March. It wasn’t what you would call a romantic meeting, just different. It’s funny how things work out.
 

CAMELLIA PUFFER

He tapped me on my shoulder and with a mysterious foreign accent asked, “May I have this Cha-Cha?”
It was 1988 and I was the instructor’s assistant at the Central Florida Ballroom Dance Club in Orlando. Our group rented the Studebaker’s Club every Sunday afternoon for our dance class, where this mystery man walked in off the street. He wasn’t one of us. He wasn’t dressed to dance in his white T-shirt, jeans and boots. He wore a leather hat and a knife on his belt.
“Someone tell this guy this is a private event,” I thought to myself. Then there he was, the shoulder tap, the question, and before I knew it — one-two-three-cha-cha — I was literally swept off my feet with a flawless cross body lead that only the most experienced dancers can execute. As I was led into many other advanced dance steps, I wondered, “who could this man be?”
His identity was revealed by our instructor — he was a long lost friend, a trained Arthur Murray dance teacher, and that accent was from Australia. Our first dance took place just weeks before Thanksgiving and I didn’t see David again until Christmas Day at a holiday dinner. Our friendship quickly blossomed, we had so much in common and we soon realized this was a God thing, that He brought us together.
We were married on Feb 10, only six short weeks after our Christmas together. This February we celebrate 25 years of marriage and dancing together!

EILEEN YODER

When I was 14, I saw my husband for the first time.
My brother and I were at a square dance in a newly built barn in the neighborhood. I was trying to get him to dance with me. He didn’t want to dance but said a friend of his would.
I asked which one he was and he pointed him out to me. I was not impressed and said, “I don’t think so.”
The next year my girlfriend and I were walking around the New Galilee carnival. My brother and another fellow came up to us. Before I realized what was happening, my brother and my friend took off and left this fellow and me looking at each other. I didn’t recognize him as the fellow from the dance.
We introduced ourselves to each other. We walked around and didn’t see my brother again that evening. He had to take me home.
We dated for the next two and a half years. And when he was in the Navy and I was a senior in high school, we were married on March 9, 1957.
I finished school and he finished his time in the Navy. In 1959, our first son was born and in 1962, our second son was born. For more than 20 years we danced in the Ball and Chain Square Dance Club.
On March 9, Danny and I will celebrate 57 years of wedded bliss. He looks better to me with each year.
 

HELEN McFALL

When I moved to New Castle with my parents and little brother, the rooms we rented weren’t big enough for all of us. So my dad took me to Grant Street where his sister and her family lived. While living with them, I met the family living across the hall.
Their youngest daughter and I became friends, and one day she invited me over. We went into her living room where I saw a TV for the first time in my life. But the best thing was, there was an 8x10 picture of a handsome young man in an Air Force uniform. I asked Sandy who he was, and she said, “that’s my brother, Dickie.”
I told her I was going to marry him — that I loved him. When Dick came home on leave, I made it my business to be over at his house. He never paid me much attention, always getting ready to go out.
Anyway, on his last night home, he asked me out. I was in seventh heaven. We took his dad’s Nash and rode around. He would sing along to the radio, and eventually pulled me over to him. A while later he kissed me, and we almost ran off the road.
Well, he went back to the air base, and we wrote each other practically every day. He got discharged on Nov. 16, 1953, and we dated, got engaged and on March 20, 1954, we were married.
Our marriage lasted 53 years until he passed away on Dec. 26, 2007.
 

ALICIA BALDRIDGE

My husband and I met at Surf City, N.C. I was sitting on a bench looking at the water and all of the sudden a guy walks up and sits beside me. Not saying a word, he reaches over and starts to rub my leg. Keep in mind I had never met him before.
Then he looked at me and said, “smooooooooth.” I was so shocked all I could think was, “thank God I shaved my legs today!”
Then he said, “meet me here tomorrow at 7 — we are going on a date.”
I said OK but I had no intentions of meeting “that weirdo” the next day. A week later, my friend and I wanted to go get some pizza so she invited a guy that she liked to go with us and he said he was going to bring a friend. We got there first and sat down. A few minutes later, in walks her date and the friend that he brought with him just happend to be the “wierdo” from the beach. We ended up having a great time.
We have been married for three years now, and have two beautiful daughters. That “weirdo” ended up being the man of my dreams, my best friend, and the best dad any child could ask for.
I love him with all of my heart and I thank God every day for such a great husband.
 

BONNIE BARNES

Tom and I go a few years back, 45 Valentine’s Days, to be exact.
Three kids, 12 cars, eight cats and two rabbits.
Lots of ups and downs, some good and bad habits.
It all began with a homecoming float, Theta Chi and Sig Kaps had a parade to promote.
From Waynesburg to Pitt, earning graduate degrees.
Then here to New Castle, and his job at YDC.
To consider a change, no way, no never!
We’re committed for life, always together.
 

WALTER CONNER SR.

As I recall, it was December of 1956. I was home on leave from the Air Force before going to Iceland in January 1957.
Patty Jo McKee was a ticket seller at the Vogue Theater. I was helping my father pump gas at a station on Washington Street.
During this time, we talked and had one date. We went to Dewberry’s on Route 224. She had a hamburger and a Pepsi.
I soon left for Iceland and we wrote to each other. In February of 1957, she wrote that her mother wondered when we were getting engaged.
Being in an isolated town, I got to take a leave during the year. In August 1957, I came home with a list of reasons why we shouldn’t get married.  It didn’t work.
Shortly after, we said “I do” and it lasted 50 and a half years until I lost her in a terrible car accident on March 22, 2008.
I still miss her.
 

PEGGY BEA FOHT

Certain people come into our lives for a reason. To give us strength, making us grow stronger.
One such couple I know has influenced us greatly.
While on an expedition to the South Pole with Adm. Richard E. Byrd in 1946-47, Bob told his sister, Donna, that he had received a “Dear John” letter from his girlfriend. Donna then asked her good friend to write to Bob. Her terms: “If he writes first.”
So his best friend wrote a letter and he signed it. Their correspondence continued for one and a half years, never meeting until their first date on Valentine’s Day 1948.
They continued to date until marrying on Sept. 16, 1950. He is a real gentleman and she is the perfect 1950s housewife, supporting and encouraging him. He provided for his wife and three children by building a business — and a reputation.
This couple is Bob and Phyrn Womer, our beloved parents. Their six grandchildren observed their strength the day they lost almost everything they worked so hard for when their house nearly burned to the ground in 2010.
Mom said, “Well, we still have each other.”
Dad said, “Each year, I love Phyrnie more.”
They celebrated 63 blessed years together in September. Their faith in God and love for each other has given them strength, which has brought them through many trials.
They have been an amazing example of true love for their family and friends.

 

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