We also noticed some trends that we thought were pretty interesting–like a lot of you met while volunteering (such mentsches!) or on AOL (hello, 90s), and a good number of you got married within less than a year of meeting your spouse. There were so many good stories that we didn’t just want to share one, so below you’ll find some of our favorites.
But we did promise a winner, and one entry definitely stood out for its pretty superb timing–it’s a Purim love story by Kveller reader Olivia Wallen. Here’s the story that won Olivia a copy of Brooklyn Love, followed by our other favorites below. Happy Valentine’s Day!
The night we met, it was Purim. He was dressed as Mordechai, with thick rimmed military issue glasses, a thrift store beard/mustache combo, baggy Aladdin style pants, and a heavily embroidered vest replete with elephants and flowers. He was acting opposite my younger sister in the Purim schpiel and she was wearing a formal gown, with a bit of a low cut front. Every time he spoke, bits of the beard/mustache would come flying out and would drift down the front of her dress. We sat together and laughed about the dress; when he said, “I crack myself up,” I laughed too. He asked me if we could go out for Indian. Two months after we starting dating, we were talking about getting married. A year and a half after we met, we made it happen. We have four beautiful children and it’s been 14 years in August.
The year 1998 is a year I will never forget. I was a single woman living in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was tired of the bar scene and being set up on blind dates. One of my friends told me that there was a site online called Love@AOL where you could see pictures and profiles of men looking to meet women. I thought I would give it a try.
I ended up looking in Washington state. I found a picture of a man who had an amazing smile and I was immediately interested. I sent an email and got a response the next day. We emailed back and forth and learned about each other for a couple of weeks. We are both Jewish with roots from New York. Joel was originally from Brooklyn and I am from Long Island. He flew in to meet me on July 23, 1998. We were inseparable from then on.
In November he flew in to surprise me and propose and then two months later I moved to Washington to share my life with him. We flew back to Arizona to share Passover with my parents. As we were all sitting around the kitchen table, my Mother and Joel were sharing stories of growing up in Brooklyn. My mother had asked where his grandparents had a hardware store. He told her where it was and she then asked was his grandmother’s name Ann? He replied yes and that his grandfather was Jack.
It turns out my grandparents were best friends with Joel’s grandparents in Brooklyn back in the 1950s. My mother had a playmate named Barry when they were 10 years old; that was Joel’s uncle who lives in Israel. Joel’s Uncle Barry came to our wedding a year later with pictures of my mother and him when they were 10 years old. He brought pictures of my grandparents and Joel’s grandparents together. After talking about our connections and how amazing it was, it was also bittersweet as Joel’s parents had passed and so had both sets of grandparents before we met. We believe it was our family that had passed that brought us together. This year we celebrate 13 years together and are proud parents of two children named after their grandparents, Shaila and Benjamin.
Following graduation, I lived for a year alone in NYC before finally being hired to perform in a sketch comedy group aboard a cruise ship. Job manual in hand, little did I know my future husband was sprinkled on almost every page–in different costumes. A soda jerk, an octopus on stilts, a football player, a clown–in endless explanations of comedy sketches. I moved into my tiny cabin, #4111, which shared a wall with #4113–the cabin he’d vacated just months earlier.
After one month performing with my three other cast mates, the team captain, Ray, told me I “had to get onstage with Seth somehow.” He said we were the male/female comedy version of each other. One day while in port, Ray had me leave a message on his phone. That night, Seth called my cabin and we talked for five hours. Seth flew to Miami a month later to meet me in person–just for the day. Two months later, he replaced a cast member who got a pilot in L.A. Six days into that fill-in, and three months after that first phone call, he pulled out a little black box and asked me to marry him.
My husband and I are both Orthodox Jews. This means that meeting your potential spouse normally involves resumes (kid you not), matchmakers, references, and a healthy dose of parental meddling. I had just moved to Baltimore to go to grad school, and I was in the midst of renovating my condo solo. My furniture had yet to arrive, so I spent a lot of time knee deep in paint chips and plumbing at home or looking for pointers at Home Depot.
I happened to get an email about a volunteering opportunity at the local Ronald McDonald house. While I normally eschew these kinds of activities, I knew if I stayed inside one more night sniffing paint fumes I would go crazy. So I went. And met my husband, who was badly mutilating a tomato for salad. I showed him how to cut a tomato so people would eat it and not think it was salsa gone awry. He asked me out over email the next day, and even though I thought he was not for me, I figured I would give him one pity date. The rest, as they say, is history.
My husband (JJ) and I met when we were hired as hosts at a new restaurant in town. There were only two guys on the host staff, and I didn’t pay much attention to either of them. One day, though, we were standing around when JJ mentioned in passing that he needed to get his Bob Dylan songbook back from his cousin. I was 18 at the time and a HUGE Bob Dylan fan–at that point I had already seen him in concert four times!–so I instantly started paying attention. Through our mutual love of music, we began to get to know each other and, soon after, started dating.
Here’s the thing, though: a couple years later, JJ told me that when he first brought up Bob Dylan, it was by accident. He had meant to say, “Bob SEGER songbook,” but when he saw my reaction, he was so happy that I was actually talking to him that he didn’t correct me. Apparently, he knew nothing about Bob Dylan, but he faked it during the conversation and then went home that night and did a bunch of research. Eight years, two sons, and four more Bob Dylan concerts later, and we are happier than ever.