For eight highly-rated seasons, Josh Radnor has had viewers in stitches as he recounts to his future children how he fell for their mom in the CBS sitcom, How I Met Your Mother. This Valentine’s Day, Neighbors asked readers to tell us how they met their significant other — which could be someone’s mother, father, friend or other.
We loved your stories about still sharing flowers and chocolates after nearly 40 years of wedded bliss, about falling in love in your 20s and 80s, and of love at first sight.
To read more submissions, visit www.miamiherald.com.
Here are some of our favorites.
Get me to the
church on time
Sporting a David Hasselhoff hairdo, and a Member’s Only jacket that matched his Pontiac Firebird, my husband was a babe-magnet!
We reunited at the scene of our childhood, and the days of his powdered blue leisure suits, at our church, Kendall United Methodist. I was back from college and he was a ‘law dude’ at UM. Both of us had been encouraged to perform at a choir program. My husband had been a year ahead of me in school and our church youth group was quite large, so it was no surprise when the first question he asked me was, “Who was that guy you were always with in high school?”
George looked astonished when I told him that boy was my brother. Our church members conspired to lead us to the altar by enlisting us in Sunday School class that met in the bride’s room. A wedding — that George might have missed in his rush to get to the church, save a very helpful police officer who found out he was actually the groom — has led to 20 years of marriage and three wonderful children.
He is my best friend, and I am living my love story!
Melissa Walton Riemer, Kendall
“Female Copilot Wanted. Must like interstate travel and be able to read maps.”
That was the sign that John had planned to put in the window of his motor home. I e-mailed him back, “Don’t put the sign in the window. I can read maps and love interstate travel.”
John and I had met in 1979 when he was a professor and I was a new instructor in the Aviation Department at Miami-Dade Community College. We worked together on many flying projects and kept in touch as we moved farther apart. As time went by I took a job at Broward Community College and he and his wife retired and moved to Valkaria in east Central Florida.
About eight months after John’s wife died he sent me the e-mail about needing a co-pilot. Our e-mails and phone calls bridging the 170 miles between us became more frequent and personal. On November 30, 2002 I borrowed a Cessna 152 (a two-seater airplane) and flew to Valkaria Airport. He took me to lunch and our professional respect blossomed into love. We have been loving each other and enjoying our travels by land and air ever since.
Ursula Davidson, Miami
Love is in the air
It took me 47 years to meet that special someone, but traveling home from Kansas City to Miami in 2008, my plane got delayed for several hours while I connected through Chicago. As I stood near the gate waiting to hear information about how many hours the delay would be, I noticed this attractive woman a few steps away doing the same. We engaged in some small talk about the flight delay. Little did either of us know the love connection that was beginning.
Once the airline got their situation figured out, I started working on improving mine.
I asked Sandy about sitting together. … The travel delay didn’t matter anymore. The three hour flight flew by.
From that day on we spoke to each other every day, recently moved in together, got engaged last Thanksgiving, and in 2014 will be married (my first time).
There’s an old song called Love is in the Air. On that Sunday in 2008, love really was in the air! Our love has been sky high ever since!
Paul Neumann, South Miami
In 1956, I was in the Army at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. I was living off-base and found myself on Main Street one weekday at noon.
When I first saw her, she seemed to know everyone — smiling and saying hello — a gorgeous smile, trim and curvy figure and an athletic bounce to her step.
Then she was out of sight.
I came back the next day at the same time at the same location — no luck. I came back the next week on the same day — no luck.
A few months later a neighbor friend asked me to help him move his girlfriend and her roommate into an apartment close-by.
I went to help and, yes, the roommate was the mystery girl.
Now, 57 years later, she and I have three adult children and twelve grandchildren. With our fourscore birthdays behind us, I find her as enchanting as that first time I saw her.
While dementia may be stealing her memory, she is still the same. She leaves everyone with a warm feeling.
I’ll always remember that first day I saw her.
H. Ronald Cordes, Palmetto Bay
My parents’ love story
This is my parents’ love story.
My father was a streetcar conductor in Havana in the early 1940s. One day he passed by a photo studio when his eyes spotted the beautiful photo of a 16-year-old girl.
He told himself he had to meet her some day — and he did.
A few months later he was driving his streetcar when he passed by a street on his route and there she was, sitting on the steps of her house with some friends. My father stopped, got off and introduced himself. The following day he asked to visit her house. It took weeks for my grandmother to allow him.
During all this time, my mother made sure she was sitting on the steps when he passed by the street. Often he would throw notes attached to candies wrapped in cellophane.
Finally he was allowed to visit her twice a week.
My parents were married Feb. 14, 1944. I was born a year later and my sister the following year.
My father passed away Jan. 17, 28 days short of their 69th wedding anniversary.
Nidia Rodriguez Gralewski, Miami
Love at the Bushwhacker
Forty years ago, I picked up Dave in a bar near Coral Gables.
On a rainy Saturday, my friend Sue and I were ostensibly doing laundry next door, but decided a drink at the Bushwhacker would break the monotony of the wait. On the way into the bar, I grumbled about detouring around a car, boat, and trailer obstructing the puddle-filled parking lot. Donna, the bartender, had only three customers that gray afternoon, guys checking out an electronic game called paddleball.
Sue looked around. “Nobody interesting here,” she said.
“Speak for yourself.” I had looked around and spotted Dave – proud of bearing, well dressed, nice smile, gorgeous blue eyes and, my weakness – a cleft in his chin.
Sue glanced at her watch. “Let’s toss to see who checks on the dryers. We don’t both need to go.” She lost the toss and left.
Donna came to me and said, “Dave, the guy in the blue shirt, needs a partner for paddleball. Would you be interested?”
We won two games before the laundry was dry. Two years later, in a Gables church garden, Dave finally won me.
Had it not rained, we might’ve never met. Dave didn’t habitually frequent bars on Saturdays, he spent them on Biscayne Bay in that boat I had complained about. Never griped about that boat again.
Marie Grime, Kendale Lakes
Flowers and football
In the summer of 1974, I was fresh out of college, working for a shipping company at the Port of Miami. The company had leased a new ship. I was about to leave for the weekend on Friday when my boss informed me that I was expected on the ship at 7 p.m. for a reception welcoming the new crew. I had a date, but not going was not an option.
I opted to go, meet everyone, welcome the crew, then leave. I met about 50 people.
One of them showed up at my office the following Monday and said: “I saw you across that room Friday night and knew you were the one. I’m going to marry you!”
I promptly informed him that he was crazy.
Not letting this deter him in any way, he embarked on a campaign to win me over, starting with tickets to the Dolphins game. Then came flowers, chocolates, concerts, even taking my mother to the circus and my cat to the vet. He convinced me.
In July of 1976 we got married.
We still go to Dolphins games. And, he still brings me flowers and chocolates.
Helen and Jerry Doyle,
The dance of love
The evening was boring. I was at the Tropic Club, a place where seniors meet and enjoy dancing. The problem, I didn’t notice anyone to dance with. I was about to leave when they announced a mixer.
What’s a mixer I wondered? The answer came: “Ladies line up, and gentlemen choose the first lady for a dance. When the song is over, he escorts her to the back of the line and returns to the front for a new partner.”
I tried it, thinking, at worst, it’s only three minutes.
I approached and she was staring at the ceiling and didn’t see me. I stood just looking. I didn’t want to introduce myself. She was beautiful and I was happy just looking at her. Her sister nudged her and she looked at me.
I knew when the dance ended I was suppose to bring her back to the line. I didn’t. We just kept dancing. The evening was no longer boring.
I wanted to see her again and I told her so. We are together for three years now. Both of us are in our 80s and unbelievably happy in love.
Melvin and Joyce Taks,
Sunny Isles Beach
Like a song
I met my soul mate the summer after my first year of law school. I was 24 years old, sitting in a waiting room for a job interview. As I chatted with a young woman waiting to meet her friend for lunch, he came into the waiting room to meet her. It was love at first sight. He left for lunch with his friend, and I went inside for my interview. Somehow I knew that we would end up together.
The next Monday I started my summer job. My “office” was in the library, and coincidentally he kept needing to get a book to “do research.” The attraction was magnetic. When he invited me to join him for lunch at McDonald’s, I set aside my vegetarianism and seized the opportunity, excited to be able to spend time with him. Friday night he took me to dinner, and afterwards we walked to Peacock Park and gazed at the full moon.
When I came home that night, I told my roommate that he was “the one.” We have been together since that day, and 37 years later he is still The One. Fate brought us together, and love has kept us together.
Marcia K. Cypen,
I met my wife Ginger 44 years ago while she was a cashier at the Stevens Supermarket on Red Road. I always went to her register and made extra trips to the supermarket, trying to get her attention.
While in her checkout lane a customer ahead of me bought items totaling $11.11. As she totaled my items they also came to $11.11. I asked her if the same amount ever occurred back to back. Smiling, she said ‘no.’
Being a horse racing fan, I felt this was my lucky day. I asked her if she would like to see the races at Hialeah Park. She accepted my invitation and to everyone’s surprise we were married three weeks later on April Fool’s Day 1969.
Ever since that lucky combo our lives became one beautiful daily double. But bittersweet. Ginger passed away on 11-11-2004, Veteran’s Day.
On April 16, 2007, she had the honor of being the first dependent of an Army veteran to have her ashes buried in the new South Florida V.A. National Cemetery in Lake Worth during the opening day ceremony.
Jack Iacone, Hialeah
Sorry to leave you
I met him three times before that special day.
I met him when I was seven years old, when my aunt and uncle took me to St. Miguel de los Baños to visit a friend.
Then at the age of fifteen when arranging some documents at the Department of Statistics, when I was eyeing the neighborhood, he was reclined on the veranda of his house porch.
The third time was when I was invited by a friend to go with her to her father’s doctor’s office to see two good-looking young men who took singing classes at the academy in the same building. We saw them, but they didn’t notice us.
Finally, when I was chaperoning my older sister and we went to the theater. He started a conversation that lasted the whole show and at the end we exchanged telephone numbers.
A week later he came to visit and we became boyfriend-girlfriend. We were young and studying. He was permitted to visit me twice a week and speak to me for 15 minutes a day.
We were married four years later at Our Lady of Montserrat Catholic Church and married 47 happy years.
His last words before going to our Lord were, “I am sorry to leave you alone!”
But he is still hanging around.
Josephine A. Castellanos, Miami
Love in the beverage aisle
It was in February 2012, just after Valentine’s Day. I was shopping at my local Walgreens.
I first saw her at the beverage coolers. She had selected her beverage of choice and turned away. I in turn made my selection and turned to continue my shopping.
As I entered the cross-section of the store, I saw her with a beautiful little girl seated in the cart.
I approached them and commented on how beautiful the little girl was.
As a second thought I stated, “By the way I think you’re beautiful too.”
Small talk followed and when we exchanged phone numbers.
That weekend we had our first date, a simple lunch at the Aventura Mall food court. After lunch we walked around and talked for three hours.
We’ve been dating ever since and recently became engaged.
John Deane, North Miami
In 2004 the (now) love of my life and I used to attend a yoga class. Not only we were both married, the yoga teacher was his wife. There was no mutual attraction. Move forward to 2011. I was divorced and he was in the process of divorcing, when a friend of mine’s boyfriend told me he knew this guy who was “very serious and handsome”. He wanted to set us up. When a man says that another guy is handsome it makes me wonder. But I said yes.
We have been together ever since and we both hope that it lasts for the rest of our lives.
Lana M. Narosky, Key Biscayne
From swimming to marriage
I was on vacation from New York and I decided to leave my hotel to check out the public beach. I put down my towel, applied suntan lotion and closed my eyes to work on my tan.
Minutes later a man with an accent said, “Would you like to go for a swim?” I said yes!
Later he invited me to Joe’s after a week of swimming, talking and dining. He showed me a shoebox with his family photos. I bought him a photo album and told him I would return soon to set up his photos.
With tears in his eyes he said, “Will you marry me?”
I said yes, and off we went to city hall. The date was November 6, 1959. We are married 54 years. We don’t swim but we still love walking on the beach.
Rhoda Oppenheimer, Miami Beach
I met Erica at an outdoor concert by Orchestra Miami two years ago. We were part of a Meetup group. I saw her as “attending” on the group site. I arrived early with my bicycle as people started to gather. She couldn’t find us so I stood up and waved at her. I was not going to let her get lost!
However, as she recalls (women always remember details), I didn’t even say Hello!, but “I am Eduardo” in Spanish — “Soy Eduardo” — and extended my hand. I was nervous. I guess she won’t be able to say ,“You got me at ‘Hello.’
We watched the concert, Mozart and Beethoven. She offered me to sit on her blanket. We started talking and found lots of things in common, starting for our love of music and our Argentinian past. I walked Erica to her car afterward and called her the next evening. Just hearing her voice again, so sweet and happy, and closing my eyes to see her printed image from the day before, warmed and filled my heart. Loved her. We are married now and continue to enjoy our music together and all the beautiful things life has to offer.
Eduardo Lis, North Miami
Reading and loving
Fifty years. Seems like yesterday. Gables High School. Band Room. “Uncle” Willie Ledue, Director — beloved leader, trusted friend of music students. “Robin, see Louie over there? Tell him his white marching shoes are perfect or he gets a demerit.”
Off I went and delivered the message. After much discussion, the lifelong commitment between a bassoon and a clarinet — a handsome second-generation Greek boy and a rather plain Anglo girl — was ignited.
Louie and I shared a wonderful friendship through high school. I went off to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and he to UM. We phoned weekly and I read his letters daily in my 1964 Cavaleon yearbook professing his love. So many fond memories and experiences together in “Old Miami.”
Our marriage endures because we accept each other. Our strengths and weaknesses complement and continue to build a solid union. We joined hands in 1968 to experience life as a couple. Patience and understanding. Joy and sadness. Reaching out and helping others. Literature, music and travel. Studying. Reading each morning and discussing it — from the Miami Herald articles to the Wall Street Journal. Our love continues. Aging as partners.
Robin Sarantos, Palmetto Bay
Compiled by Howard Cohen and Jessica de Leon.