You Still Make Me Tingle

Married 60 Years

Fran and Tom

Ottawa, Canada

Tom had recently arrived in Canada from a farm on Northern Ireland.  He came to Brockville, Ontario with a high school education and $38.65 in his pocket.  Tom was at a party and as he was making his way up a set of stairs Fran grabbed his tie. Every province in Canada has a tartan associated with it and Fran, who had recently moved from Prince Edward Island to Ontario, saw the tie and thought he was a fellow Islander.  She was thinking it would sure be nice to meet someone from the Island.  Tom didn’t know what she was talking about when she asked if his tie was the PEI tartan.  Tom claims she wasn’t looking at his tie.

It was a Sadie Hawkins party which meant that women ask men to dance rather than the custom of men typically asking women to dance.  It’s based on Al Capp’s hillbilly comic strip Li’l Abner.  Fran asked Tom to dance as an apology for grabbing his tie.  Turns out they were both excellent dancers and continue to dance whenever the opportunity arises.   

Tom was actually at the party with another young woman who was expecting to marry him.  They weren’t officially engaged but they had discussed marriage and she was willing to change her religion for him.  She was Dutch Christian Reform and Tom was Catholic and was not willing to give up his religion, so she had agreed to take lessons in Catholicism.  Despite this detail, Tom asked Fran out on a date the following Tuesday.  He drove his then girl friend to teacher college out of town and proceeded to date Fran. 

On their very first date, they took a ferry from Prescott, Ontario to Ogdensburg, New York and attended a movie together. To Tom the date with Fran was just window shopping at first.  Fran knew he had another girl friend, but she thought she was quite young and that it wasn’t serious.  Fran was quite independent–she was a Home Economist for two counties and used to go to Montreal on the train.  One day she even received a proposal on the train whilst knitting.  Fran jokes that her government car and credit card were a big part of the attraction.

The night of their first date, Fran read Tom’s palm. Fran reported back to her roommates that she liked what she saw in his palm and she was going to marry him. A few nights later he met her roommates and they told him what she said, so Tom says 

I watched the whole thing happen from the sidelines.

Tom

“Fran has a way of telling you things without ever saying them.”  Tom knew that Fran was interested but at first, he thought it was just a passing interest.  Tom said, “Fran had everything I wanted in a woman.  Fran has a big personality, a great sense of being, and a good sense of humour.”  This last quality was possibly the most important because she got Tom’s jokes.  Other women he had met previously many of whom had just immigrated as well from different cultures, didn’t always understand them. 

Tom knew quite rapidly that Fran was the one but he had a problem because he was dating another woman.  In the small town where they lived, it wasn’t long before people reported back to his girlfriend that they had seen Tom with another woman.  He had to break things off with her.

Three months after they had started dating, Tom came by Fran’s office at lunch time on her birthday. Tom came to her desk and said he thought she would look better with an engagement ring on her finger. She made him repeat it and then said “yes” Although he did not take her out for lunch, they celebrated that evening at dinner.  Tom jokes that although it wasn’t a terribly romantic proposal, it was much better than a popular marriage proposal in Ireland, “Would you like to be buried with our folk?”  This was better.  They were engaged and married within the year. 

Shortly after the proposal, Tom had his appendix removed and Fran drove him to Prince Edward Island and dropped him off at her relative’s home.  He recovered for six weeks with Fran’s family while she returned to her job.  They wrote love letters to one another during this time.  Tom kept the cards and letters and one in particular that started with “Ever since your first touch sent a thousand tingles through me.”  According to Tom, Fran is not as forthcoming with her affection nor as romantic as he is and so this card meant a lot of him.  They still make each other tingle, 60 years later.

In the days of social media where people can hide behind a false persona, it is so important that you let the other person get to know who you really are and not the person you might be projecting on your profile.  You have to communicate with one another or you’re never going to get to know each other and your likes and dislikes.  Tom says he was always himself and had a good sense of humour and Fran knew what she was getting into—she loved his quick wit.  They were open and honest with one another right from the start.  They became comfortable with one another and it was like they had been together for years even though it had only been nine months or so before they were married. 

Fran says you have to hang in there.  They have been through a lot of things together—they have five kids and 12 grandchildren and they have had to work together.  It never seemed like that much extra work when another child came along.  “We made sacrifices and it’s not as expensive as people think it is.” Tom taught himself how to do different things like electrical, carpentry, and plumbing.  He never employed anyone to do work—if he couldn’t figure it out, he’d ask someone.  He once asked the man in front of him at the bank if he was a plumber and he said “Yes.”  Tom asked him how to do something and the plumber took him to the side and told him what to do and it worked perfectly.  This is how he was able to build a big addition on to their home.

Over the years, they discovered each other’s strength and weaknesses and worked out who does what.  Tom is more of a perfectionist than Fran.  He’s good at mechanical and fixing things—it has to be his way and just so.  Fran’s not as concerned.  She does some things better than him and he does somethings better than her. 

They have encouraged each other to do new things.  Fran gave Tom an accordian one year because she found out he could play a harmonica and told him, I think you should play.  Within two years he was playing in a band and continues to do so.

Broadcast Love wishes Fran and Tom many more decades of happiness and joy as they continue life’s journey together.

Love At First Sight–Not!

Arleen and Chris Together 41 Years

Arleen and Chris

Victoria, BC

Chris had recently moved to Port Moody, BC and was staying in a friends’ home and at the time was without a vehicle. Before the age of computers, people were reliant on calculators and Chris’s had broken down. The woman she was staying with said “I have a friend who lives in the same area as the office where you need to send the calculator and she would probably take it there for you.” 

Dodge Aspen

Arleen drove up to the house in her Dodge Aspen station wagon, looking every bit the part of a suburban mother, and when she stepped out, Chris was waiting for her—calculator in hand.  Arleen in fact, only worked part time in the area where the calculator was to be repaired and thought Chris had a lot of nerve asking for a favour from someone she didn’t know at all and said she couldn’t do it.  Chris thought Arleen was a snob. It was definitely not love at first sight for these two.

I don’t know what happened to the calculator, but I do know they met on several other occasions through mutual friends. On one of these occasions, they were at a restaurant with their group of friends, before going to a theatre and they sat beside each other and had an engaging conversation. It was at this moment they decided they actually liked each other—first impressions are not always lasting. Shortly after, Chris had a thought that she would like to get together with someone she wasn’t having an affair with, and Arleen came to mind. 

I enjoyed that Arleen and I’m going to call her and see if we can go out somewhere and have a nice time together.

Chris

 They did. Neither of these occasions were romantic dates. 

Arleen was married and had two sons and the day of their actual first date June 28th, was also the day Arleen was leaving her family home.  Her husband drove them to what was supposed to be just a dinner together at the Punjab restaurant on Main Street in Vancouver.  However, it turned into a date. Dinner was followed by a brief time in the Vanport Hotel bar—a working class “dive” bar that became known as one of the few bars in Vancouver where lesbians could meet and drink. Arleen insisted they leave when someone upended a table of drinks—it seemed like a sensible thing to do. They proceeded to go dancing for hours and hours and enjoyed each other’s company. They walked across the Granville Street Bridge, caught a bus to an all-night pizza place and arrived home at 4:30 am. They met again at a Meg Christian concert at the Van East Cultural Centre where they had attended with other people. Arleen came and sat beside Chris and started putting her arms around her and flirting. They went out for drinks afterward. Although this evening, once again, was not intended to be a date, Arleen drove Chris to her place in Port Moody where they had a play fight and then made natural progress from there.  Despite their connection, they were still both seeing numerous people including one person whom they both dated. 

On June 28th of this year, it has been 41 years since their date at the Punjab Restaurant. Chris came out in the late 1960’s which was a little different than now.  It was harder. Chris, as a radical lesbian, was at the first Canadian march for gay rights in 1971 and worked at the Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT). CHAT provided support services, education, and organized community events for Toronto’s gay and lesbian community. By comparison, Arleen says, “It’s so easy to come out now especially in urban areas where there is more support.” Having said that Arleen thought it was easy for her to come out from a societal perspective because of feminism. However, leaving the family home was not without its hardships. There was a strong feminist movement throughout the 70’s and a lot of that feminism supported lesbian relationships and it was political.  In fact, Arleen commented, “I felt that I wasn’t feminist enough without having a lesbian relationship.” 

Around January they went on a retreat together for the weekend and they got to know each other more.  Arleen decided Chris was interesting enough that she wanted to get to know her family and parents.  Chris had just decided that the last time she saw her parents was the last time she was going to see them.  Arleen wanted to meet the family and Chris knew they would like to meet Arleen, so she agreed to go back.  It felt safe for Chris going back because she had an escort. They were just going from Vancouver to Comox, a four-hour trip that seemed so hard and long for Chris, they had to stay overnight at the Arlington Hotel in Nanoose Bay before driving to Comox. After this trip, Arleen decided Chris was the one and she dropped the other people she was seeing.

In early February they went to a workshop together on how to change aspects of yourself through breathing and visualization. The fact that Arleen was even interested was for Chris, yet another example of how the many sides of themselves worked together so well.  It was a serious deepening for Chris and she realized Arleen was the one for her.

Chris had asked at the beginning of their affair that they not say “I love you” believing that the words brought a lot of baggage with them. On the weekend of summer solstice, Chris was staying with Arleen who was feeling she really had to tell Chris she loved her that weekend. At the same time a note had arrived in the mail from Chris. When Arleen opened the note she found the letters individually cut from a magazine saying “I love you, from an Admirer”—Arleen knew exactly who that admirer was. This is not just serendipity, this is a couple who was and continues to be in sync with one another’s feelings. 

On July 20, 2005 the Canadian parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act legalizing same sex marriage.  Arleen and Chris had discussed getting married and Arleen was not interested as they had been together for 25 years at that point, she had already been married, and as a feminist she didn’t see the point of marriage. Around the same time, they were considering marriage, Chris’s brother came for a visit and he told Chris he thought the gay movement was making a mistake going for gay marriage. Arleen had a different perspective, “If some people are opposed, we should get married as a political act.”  

When Chris was younger, she didn’t believe in marriage.  Her perspective has changed.  Chris sees marriage as important because of the bridging it allows. People who aren’t comfortable with words like lesbian or queers or gays because those words bring up bad things they’ve been taught in their head are more comfortable with words like wife and marriage.  Chris used the example of a woman they met in the elevator. The woman asked if they were sisters—something they get asked often even they though they don’t look at all alike. Chris replied, “No but we just got married.”  When people hear that you just got married there are tapes in their head about what to say, “That’s wonderful!”  “Congratulations!” Marriage is a cheerful word. If you give people who feel awkward with words like lesbian or gay, something they can understand like marriage, you can have a reasonable conversation and they will discover you’re a reasonable person and there is a bridging. 

Arleen and Chris had a preference to get married on the anniversary of their first date, June 28th however, the hotel they had chosen was hosting a large conference and they couldn’t get a room. They were married on June 29th, the day after the 30th anniversary of their dinner at the Punjab restaurant which turned out to be their first date and roughly 25 years after they moved in together.

They continue to celebrate both of these days. They also celebrate December 28th because that was the date Chris and Arleen moved in together—five and a half years after they started dating.  Chris had been in other relationships that had broken up after 2, 3 or 4 years and felt that it was one thing to go through a break-up and quite another to have your living space “messed with” and she didn’t want to repeat that.  Chris didn’t want to live together until their relationship exceeded her longest relationship.  Arleen shared responsibility for her two sons with her ex-husband so that suited Arleen fine that she had her own space.  They spent lots of time together with Arleen’s children while dating but Chris had no desire to be another mum or step on the toes of Arleen’s ex-husband, the children’s father.  Chris’s grandmother had a female lover in addition to her husband and they called her their Aunt, even though she wasn’t related and thus, Chris became the children’s Aunt. The kids were comfortable with their Mum having a female partner because Chris didn’t try to replace their dad. 

Arleen likes being in a relationship—some people are more solitary. 

I like having my person—my Chris. It’s not always beer and skittles but we keep trying to find ways that we can be more harmonious. Over time we have moved in that direction.

Arleen

They have been called feisty and still have fights but try and keep it as harmonious as possible.  Chris comments that they are both eldest daughters which at times is like two alpha dogs trying to live together and they are often both right.

“There’s a lot to learn about being with someone and how to do that. Not living together for five and a half years was helpful because there are so many things you discover about people it spreads the learning out in a useful way,” says Chris. 

When they finally got married 25 years later they were so sure and comfortable with that decision.

Arleen and Chris like many of the same things–dancing, a neat house, cooking. Arleen commented, “The gender difference allows for more separation in most marriages because there are different roles and friendship circles. When two women live together there is a lot of overlap, we really have to make sure that we take space for ourselves.”

Chris says she’s inspired by Virginia Wolfe’s A Room of One’s Own. “Even though we spend most nights together and we have joint bank accounts and friends, we still have our own bedrooms, offices, and bank accounts. It’s a way of getting space when you’re very together.”

They also go off to retreats separately.  Giving space in a relationship allows for growth both personally and as a couple.  This is a couple that has allowed and encouraged each other to grow. Arleen started writing in her 50’s and is now an award-winning author and poet. Chris returned to school and in her 50’s received her doctorate in literature and is currently an academic editor. 

In every marriage tasks are divided and understanding and appreciating each other for the roles they perform is huge.

Arleen

That’s a good reminder for me to thank my husband for being my tech support and putting on my shows for me so I don’t have to learn how to use our complicated remote control.

Broadcast Love wishes Arleen and Chris many more years of joy and happiness as they continue to grow together.

Know Thyself and to Thine Own Self Be True

Jeff and Rita

Victoria, BC

Five years before their first date, Rita met Jeff at a social gathering.  They had known each other professionally as they are both in the construction industry.  Rita is a designer and had used Jeff as a supplier for her glass.  They found each other easy to talk to and had a great conversation which ended when Jeff’s girlfriend showed up.  They had a connection—not a physical attraction but more like they understood one another.  Rita lost touch with Jeff as he missed a couple of quotes and was no longer her glass supplier.  Jeff was with his girlfriend for another five years.  Then one day they met on Tinder.  Jeff recognized Rita but she didn’t recognize him. 

When they began talking about their backgrounds, they realized how similar they were. Their fathers were both in the oil exploration business, so they moved around and lived in many different countries.  Sometimes it was glamourous and sometimes you were in the middle of the Arabian desert without air conditioning.  They both went to boarding school and had lived in similar countries while Jeff was in Tunisia, Rita was in Libya—they had lived parallel lives. As Jeff explained,

When you are in your formative years, it influences who you become.  You have a broad perspective on life, but you never grow any roots.  When it comes time to settle down and live with someone in one place it’s difficult.

Jeff

Rita had a fear that a partner would take away from her freedom to travel and to live wherever she wanted in the world.  She still has a hard time putting down roots.  Jeff understood this and was patient and didn’t react when she said she was moving to Spain in eight months shortly after they met. 

They had planned to get together in August, but they were both busy and the meeting was postponed until September and in the meantime, they got to know each other through text and calls.  Jeff had a Thai massage booked in Chinatown in Victoria which happens to be the oldest in Canada and one of the oldest in North America and they agreed to meet afterward.  Incidentally the masseuses name was Love.  The walls are paper thin, and he could hear Rita come in and say to the receptionist that she was waiting for Jeff.  He walked out of his massage and was bowled over—it was a magical moment he will never forget for the rest of his life.  Time stopped–the chemistry was so thick in the air he knew immediately he was in love.

As they were walking down the street, Jeff reached for her hand to hold.  Rita thought that was a forward move and at the same time it felt right for him to hold her hand.  Not only did he hold her hand, half a block from the Thai massage place he kissed her—he felt he was walking on air and he couldn’t help himself. Rita was concerned that he’d just broken up with his girlfriend and people would see them together.  Just as she voiced this to Jeff, his best friend drove by, pulled up beside them and asked “Who’s this?”  Victoria is a small town.  Before they went for dinner, Jeff asked Rita if she would like to see a project he was working on that was a couple of blocks away. He wasn’t expecting his team to be there but there was a push on to finish the project and they were working late to finish things.  Rita found herself thrown into the spotlight with a team of guys he’d been working with for years.  An interest in innovative construction projects became just one more thing they had in common.  Their second date had already been arranged—they went dancing at a night club on the water with a live band.  Again, Jeff was totally smitten and was waiting on the street for her taxi to arrive.  Rita met some of his siblings and friends that evening.  They spent the next four months travelling and having fun together and Jeff fell deeply in love. 

Shortly after they got back together because they did break up as love is never that simple, they were on a hike. Rita and Jeff stopped in a clearing after a couple of hours of hard slogging on the trail.  As they looked out over the landscape they kissed, and it was a spiritual and ethereal moment—they both felt transplanted to another space and time.  They looked at each other and wondered what had just happened.  It was after this moment that Rita said she knew, Jeff was the one. 

However, Rita did not go down without a fight. Rita has always pretended to be someone else in a relationship and being with Jeff was the first time where she could be completely herself.  It took several uncomfortable moments but now they both feel they can be raw and expose themselves honestly. Rita has gone from a space where she didn’t allow herself to fall in love or even say the words to a place where she can honestly say that she truly loves Jeff. Rita calls Jeff her oak and herself a river where she flows all over the place and he’s steadfast–they even have a painting of a river and an oak.

Jeff’s steadfastness is what has allowed me to open up and feel secure.

Rita

Rita still needs her space—she spent years living on her own and raising her three children and travelling from Quebec to Mexico and then to BC.  She felt a relationship would make her half the person she was and realized she had some issues to deal with.  Rita still needs three nights a week at her home.  Rita suspected she was hurting Jeff’s feelings when she would say certain words like “needing my space” which he interpreted as not wanting him around.  Rita had been reading about her enneagram because she was searching for ways to speak to Jeff about her needs without hurting him. The enneagram is a personality test that describes nine personality types. It was on the coffee table in her living room and Jeff flipped through the book and once he read about her enneagram, he understood what was behind her request for space. “I love that our relationship exposes so many parts of ourselves including parts of ourselves that needed to heal.” 

Jeff teases Rita that she is Little Miss Sabotage.  On New Year’s Day, four months after they met, Rita broke up with Jeff.  In her words, she picked apart everything and found little things as reasons why their relationship wouldn’t work. 

Jeff was devastated and confused.  Jeff described the breakup as having a supersonic missile that came in and blew down the layers that he had built up over his lifetime to protect himself.  He had to deal with the fall out.  One night, a couple of months after they had broken up, he had this spiritual experience which was quite new to him.  He was lying in bed reading and he felt this presence swirl around him.  He knew exactly who it was—it was Rita’s heart telling him not to give up on her.  Jeff replied out loud “What the hell are you doing here?  She doesn’t want to be with me.”  This experience as strange as it had been for Jeff, gave him hope. 

While this was happening, Rita was across town feeling very confused about whether to listen to her heart or her head.  They were apart for three months and during that time Rita realized what he meant to her. Her heart was telling her she missed him and should be with him and her brain was saying, “No, No, No.” Ultimately her heart won out and Rita made him cookies.  She dropped them off with an apology note as she had blamed him for everything, and she realized it wasn’t all his fault.  As Rita contemplated their relationship, she did a lot of reading and some inner searching. She realized her fear of commitment and her relationship with her narcissistic mother and not being able to attach herself to a loving relationship might have had something to do with the breakup.  Rita asked if they could go for walks together and get to know each other as friends.  Jeff told her he was never going to be able to be just friends with her nor would he be able to wish her well in another romantic relationship, but he would certainly go for a walk with her. Of course, by the end of the walk they were holding hands.

It’s been a year and a half since they started going on walks and they have never been happier together.  They describe their connection as spiritual and people see their connection and it makes them smile and maybe gives them hope to find their true love. Every morning Jeff wakes up and thanks his lucky stars because he is so happy. 

Rita would say “knowing that relationships are always going to expose both the good and the bad in each other, allow the grace of time to learn from it and learn that life isn’t always comfortable.  The beauty of these moments is that you can get through them and grow stronger.  Don’t throw in the towel when it goes awry as maybe there are lessons to be learned.  Allow yourself to explore a little bit more.”

Jeff quoted Shakespeare, “Know thyself and to thine ownself be true.”  It’s very important to know who you are and be comfortable with that person because if you want a relationship to succeed you must be that person.  You can’t hide out or have elusions out there because you’ll never be happy, and neither will your partner be truly happy.  You can fake it and make relationships last and for long periods of time, but it doesn’t mean the relationship is working—the way relationships should work.  

“Love expressed from yourself in its most genuine form is the most satisfying thing you can do in this life.  I think we are all here to find that experience.  This experience is not meant to be easy it’s meant to have lessons and trials and tribulations and tragedies but ultimately you want to find that moment where you get the love experience.  When you do, your heart will be free and open and soaring and you’ll feel nirvana. To get there you have to be honest and willing to accept that you’re not perfect and you’re in an imperfect world and there will be obstacles that are thrown your way that hurt you and damage you and realign you in ways that aren’t always good for you going forward.  Somehow you need to grapple with the fact that all of that is okay if you learn from it.  If you still go back out there and are willing to love yourself and that other person you will find your true love—someone who accepts you and can bring out all of you.”

Broadcast Love wishes Rita and Jeff many more years of adventures as their love for one another continues to grow.

DinHer Club

Kathleen, Jael, Alisha, and Kathryn

The Brunch Club

Ottawa, Canada

Pre-pandemic, and no longer willing to wait for the moment when she had a boyfriend in order to try out the many fancy, fun places and restaurants in her city, Jael invited a group of women to join her and thus the DinHer Club was formed.  Once a month, anywhere from 8 -18 women met at a restaurant and had dinner together. 

From this large group, a smaller group of four women now get together once a month for brunch. This foursome all work in social services and their paths had crossed through their professional lives.  Kathleen, whom Jael has known the longest used to work with Jael; Kathryn was a mentor to Jael when she was in school and then they lived in the same apartment block for three or four years; and Alisha shared a hotel room at a work conference with Jael and it was a great experience and they’ve been spending time together ever since. The DinHer Club had a wreath making party and it was at that party that things really “clicked” for this group of women. Not only do they meet for brunch, but this group likes to shop together and cheer each other on when they find the perfect outfit. 

My undergraduate degree is in Social Work, and I know how hard this profession can be.  It’s part of the reason why I went back to business school—I knew that I would burn out if I remained in social services for the rest of my career.  To have a group like this to share what happens during your day and know that there will be no shock because of the comfort and safety felt within the group is invaluable in this line of work. They are able to have honest conversations about situations.

Each of the women have their own groups of friends, but there is something unique and special about this group when they get together. 

They described their group and their conversations as authentic, honest and hilarious. 

If you can find a group of women, any age, who are supportive and kind and love you, that’s the best. I am lucky enough to have a group of girlfriends that I would do anything for. They’ve picked me up through bad times and I can say I’ve done the same for them. You have to take the initiative to find your people. Just like Jael, I love good food. When I first moved to Victoria I didn’t know anyone other than work colleagues. I decided that my husband and I, both of whom love food, should start a dinner club. Through six degrees of separation I was able to get three other couples together all of whom had recently moved to Victoria-a friend from high school; a work colleague of a good friend I met on a summer job; and a sister-in-law of a friend from grad school. It’s been 25 years, 12 of which I have not been an active member–showing up only when I’m back in town. However, the women continue to be an integral part of my life and though not as often, the group continues to meet.

So the question I posed to these women, is “How do you find your squad of women?”

Jael commented that “It’s important to have your historical friendships from high school, and family members. As you get older and you start to understand who you are and what you value, surrounding yourself with people that share your values is key to having friendships that are not taxing or exhausting. These friends fill your cup up, build you up and you leave any interaction excited for the next time you get to see them.

Alisha says “friendship can come in different shapes and forms. Look for relationships where you feel energized at the end of meeting rather than ones where it takes something away from you–a friend should add good, rich things to your life.  If you’re in spaces with people where you feel lonely or you feel you have to hide pieces of yourself, those people aren’t your people. Keep looking. You should be able to show all the different sides of yourself with your group of girlfriends.”

Kathleen said, “The big dinHer club where there were sometimes as many as 18 people was a little nerve wracking but being courageous and putting yourself in those situations to try and make connections with people is the best way to go about it and find your people.” She didn’t know anyone at first and just put herself out there. 

Both Kathryn and Jael commented that you need to honour what feels good—so if you find yourself stopping yourself from saying things or not being able to be genuine or honest or maybe you leave feeling disconnected or anxious about having shared something or your not excited to see certain friends–honour how you feel! It’s okay to have those friendships–we all have them.  What you want in this group are genuine connections. Look for friends where your interests are because that’s where you’ll find people in your adult life who connect with you now versus people who you know because you lived in the same community or went to the same school.

If gathering people together does not come naturally to you, Priya Parker, in her book, The Art of Gathering provides advice on how to do it. She says, “It starts with your need.” Ms. Parker uses the example of a mother who is working outside the home, last year teaching kids at home, cooking, cleaning, etc. and was completely burned out. She was feeling exhausted and still wanting to carve out time to spend with her girlfriends. The woman sent out an email to her girlfriends for an Exhausted Mom Dinner. Her friends responded immediately and the group was started. In the case of this group of women, Jael started with a need/desire which was to go to some nice restaurants without having to wait for a guy to go on a date. From that need, she determined the format–a dinner out at one of the restaurants with girl friends and the DinHer club was created. Jael is a natural, instinctive gatherer of people.

The next point is about roles–people play different roles in the group. Jael is the ‘gatherer” and the brunches are held at Jael’s because in her own words, “I like to control things and I love hosting.” Everyone brings something to the table–alcohol, fruit, the all important bacon and even recipes. The menu for their brunch during our interview was quiche and two types of pancakes–vanilla bean with Earl Grey cream and lemon poppyseed. This group likes to cook together but it doesn’t have to be that elaborate–order in or make it a potluck.

Lastly, its the atmosphere. In this case, they’ve all known each other for years and more importantly, Kathleen commented that it’s a safe group of women.  “I’m incredibly vulnerable on a different level than with other groups of friends I have because I know I’ll be supported and there will be no judgement.” Alisha summed it up, “The older I get, the more complicated life is and the more busy life is and the more pulls in different directions I have, friendships that are low barrier, easy and accessible where we make time for each other and put in the effort and you can talk about anything are the life blood of my life. Without this group, I wouldn’t know what to do with all my thoughts and energy and feelings.  We share our deep dark secrets and the beautiful successes of our lives.  It’s a really powerful, supportive group of women and I feel really grateful to be a part of it.”

During Covid, Ottawa had very strict lock down rules–Jael, being single, was allowed to see one other family.  She committed to not seeing anyone else so she could visit Kathryn’s family.  Alisha and Jael worked together and were able to see one another through work but were asked not to see each other outside of work.  They still stayed in touch in other ways.   Now that they are all fully vaccinated, they’ve been able to start up the brunches again.  The full DinHer Club will start in November, now that all the restaurants are open.  Starting next month, the men in their lives, who haven’t met each other, will be allowed to join them for dinner every second month.  And of course, this dinner with partners will be held at Jael’s. As for the larger dinHer club, no men allowed.

Broadcast Love wishes you many more years of celebrating your lives together and supporting one another.

The Heart Knows What It Wants

Together 4 Years, Mexico

Don and Lupe

18 Years ago, Lupe moved from Guadalajara to Peurto Vallarta, Mexico. She loves the ocean and sailing so she decided to move near the ocean and her sail boat.  Lupe has a passion for photography and posts her nicest photos on her facebook page. Don is a professional photographer and he liked her photo and decided to check out Lupe’s profile. Don thought she looked like an incredible person and someone he would like to know and he sent her a message. He wasn’t looking for anything romantic–he just wanted to let her know that he liked her photographs. Don didn’t even think he would get a replay. Lupe answered and was very polite. After a little hesitation on Lupe’s part, they started a conversation about the photos. Nothing too serious was discussed at first and they found they had a lot of common interests. Then one day she asked him where he lived, he said “Germany.”  Lupe says, “What would happen if I knocked on the door right now?” and Don replied, “We’d go for coffee.”  They messaged each other back and forth for about a year.  Her daughter invited her to Paris for her birthday and who wouldn’t say yes to that. Lupe asked Don if he would like to meet up in Paris.  It was just a three hour train ride for Don so he said “Let’s do it.” Before they met, Don asked Lupe if she was married.  Lupe jokingly told him she was married to a guy in the cartel who was in prison to see if she could get a reaction from him.  Don bought it for ten seconds before he realized she was pulling his leg.  A few months later they met in Paris. 

Don had suggested they meet in the train station in Paris–what could be more romantic? He got off the train and Lupe wasn’t there—he looked all around and she was no where to be found.  He thought I’ve been stood up but I have a couple of days in Paris to enjoy.  Walking into the train station he saw her hiding behind a column.  Lupe was nervous and second guessing her decision to meet this stranger.  As an architect and designer, how a man presents himself is important to Lupe. Don was tall and very stylishly dressed, had a beautiful bag and he had brought his cameras. Lupe decided she would show her face and said “Hi, I’m Lupe.” With the exception of a few months, they’ve basically been together ever since. 

We spent a week in Paris and then I took Lupe back to meet my family in Germany and I knew right then that it was all over. 

Don

Don came to Mexico in late summer and this four-week visit was life changing–he was convinced that Lupe was the person he wanted to be with and Don decided he was moving to Mexico. Don went back to Germany, sold his home, shut down his business and said goodbye to his whole life and by December he was living in Mexico.  At first, his family was reluctant but then they were supportive. His mother, who’s German was trying to understand this move and asked Don, “What’s Mexico like?” Don replied, “It is the opposite of Germany.” His family couldn’t understand why he would move to Mexico to be with a woman.  He said, “when you know something is for sure you need to act on it and this is what I need and what I want.” 

Lupe commented, “We both knew in Paris.” They both love art and museums and while in Paris they dedicated one day for museums, one day to photograph walls and one day to photograph doors.  “How many people would like to do that with you?”

What an amazing present from the universe.  I would never have thought that I would be so in love.

Lupe

Lupe commented that they are so much alike. When they were unpacking Don’s things she realized they had very similar taste and it was like she was unpacking her own items–they even had some of the same things.

They are so in love and adore each other and it’s obvious to everyone around them.

There has never been a formal proposal–they both “just kind of knew.” They had planned a big party with over 100 people and then covid came and they are just waiting for it to be safe for people to come and they will reschedule. They were also under a lot of stress as Lupe owns a hotel and during covid the business was shut down. Her hotel business has since recovered and they will begin planning the ceremony again.

Lupe’s advice is to follow your heart.  Lupe had been divorced for almost ten years and Don was divorced as well when they began conversing on facebook. Lupe was very happy by herself and was not looking for a relationship. “We started up the conversation as friends and as such there was no pressure to impress each other because you wanted to be together.” Their relationship was very casual and after awhile Lupe thought to herself, “Don is a very nice guy. It was an amazing surprise that I found him.”

I never thought he was going to be the love of my life. 

Lupe

Don said it took him a long time to learn two basic things. Firstly, just live your life. When Don turned 60 he decided he wasn’t going to look for anyone in his life.  He didn’t have anyone in his life at the time and decided that if he never was in another serious relationship he would be okay with that.  He wasn’t looking for anyone and it just happened.  Don says, “If you are looking for someone, stop! Just live your life and let it happen. You have to be comfortable with yourself first before you can be comfortable with someone else anyway.” 

Secondly, Don has learned that if you do find someone and you are in a committed relationship, you have to realize that relationships are hard and you have to work at them. “When you get over the honeymoon period of it, you have to work at it if you really want it to work.  You have to stick out.” They both agreed things are never going to go perfectly.  Don says, “We have become so used to the idea that if it doesn’t work, you just throw it away and go onto the next. You can’t just dispose of people the way you dispose of stuff. Obviously there are some relationships that aren’t going to work.  However, if you really love each other most of the time you can work things out, even if you need to involve a third party like a counsellor.”

Don and Lupe were very secure with who they were as individuals. Even with that sense of security, they still had to be open to change—Don lived in Germany and moved to Mexico.  He had gotten to the point in his life where he thought “Why not.”  Don kept an open mind–previously he had lived his life thinking he wasn’t going to make big changes and then a few years ago he changed his perspective and it was one of the best decisions in his whole life.  When he left Germany there was a little snow on the ground and he had to catch a couple of trains to the airport and he came here and it was a tropical paradise.  He feels blessed to be here with Lupe and every morning they wake up and say how happy they are.

Broadcast Love wishes Don and Lupe many years of romantic adventures together.

It All Started With a Dance

Together Four Years, Engaged for One

Hana and Jean Maurice

Victoria, BC

Hana had not been out with her girlfriends for quite some time and they decided to go to a nightclub where they could dance. Jean Maurice lived about an hour and a half away and was visiting some friends who took him out. Hana saw Jean Maurice and mentioned to her friend that she thought he was cute. Her friend, being a good wingman, went over to Jean Maurice and suggested that he ask Hana to dance with him. He asked for her phone number and texted her later that night. The next morning Hana called him.

A week later, they had their first date–dinner at the Cactus Club followed by a nice walk on the beach.

There was no particular moment when Jean Maurice decided that Hana was the one. Over the course of a year and a half of dating, they discussed their likes and dislikes. Hana liked going to the gym which was really important to Jean Maurice as this is really an important part of his life. Hana likes to travel and he doesn’t love to travel but he thought okay he could do that for her. They both had children and Jean Maurice’s daughter, Olivia was just 11. Olivia is very protective of her dad and if she didn’t like you, she would let you know. Hana passed the Olivia test and over the course of time, they fell in love.

Hana knew he was the one because of the effort he made to come and see her. For over a year, they lived in two different cities–an hour and a half apart. Jean Maurice came out every weekend and sometimes he would even come during the week and leave early in the morning to get to work on time. There was no specific event where she decided he was the one, she just knew about a year into the relationship that he was the one for her.

Jean Maurice asked Hana to celebrate their third anniversary in a particular restaurant in Nanaimo. As they were driving, Hana looked over and saw her son and daughter were next to them on the highway and she thought that was odd. When they pulled into the parking lot, she saw some of his friends park as well. That’s when she realized he had invited people to celebrate their anniversary with them. They had dinner and visited with their friends and then Jean Maurice stood up and made a very romantic speech about their relationship and proposed. Jean Maurice said he wasn’t nervous. “I never get nervous,” he said. Hana’s biggest surprise was the speech he made–as long as she’d known him he wasn’t the person to stand up and speak.

Their wedding plans were put on hold because of covid but they have ready to get planning again.

Hana said that when they have problems they don’t run away from them. They stick through any disagreements and work through everything.

Jean Maurice, who was born in Haiti, jokes that,

We put up with each other. We come from two different worlds and culture but at the end of the day, we like each other and care for each other.

Jean Maurice

Jean Maurice takes his life and work seriously, but when it comes to play his whole perspective changes and he is a big kid. Some people might judge him for this while Hana takes him for who he is. It’s important to accept your partner for who they are rather than trying to change them.

Broadcast Love wishes Hana and Jean Maurice all the best as they begin their life together as a married couple.

When the Universe Brings You Together

30 Years Married, 38 Years Together

Sean and Siobhan

London, England

As is often the case, Sean’s version of the first time they met is somewhat different than Siobhan’s. Sean says they met two years earlier at the May Ball in Oxford where one of the standout bands they heard was Play Dead with lead vocals by Rob Hickson. Siobhan says she was there with her boyfriend of two years and has no recollection of meeting Sean.  However, she does concede that they must have been in close proximity because their recollection of events was similar—most notably a blond woman singing jazz next to them. 

Siobhan’s version is quite different. When Siobhan left for university she was in a relationship and had vowed to stay true.  A week before she was about to return home for Christmas and see the “love of her life”, she went to a bar in Cambridge with a girlfriend and across the room spotted Sean. Sean at the time had long, black curly hair and his look immediately attracted Siobhan and she made an instant decision that he would be her next boyfriend.  Sean says it was his shoulder length, bad boy, mafioso looking curls that attracted Siobhan. Siobhan introduced herself and he duly ignored her.  Sean said he was just playing hard to get.  It worked.

Siobhan, not be deterred by Sean’s initial hard to get response, found a photograph of Sean with some of his friends and from the photograph she was able to figure out where he lived on campus.  She went to visit him in the middle of the night.  He very kindly allowed her into his room. A few days later Siobhan returned to Yorkshire.  He had provided Siobhan with the number of the house where he would be staying with his mother and her new boyfriend. Sean’s, now stepfather didn’t like the idea of having Sean around and so when Sean’s friend called he would tell her “This is a business line and I won’t be getting Sean,” and then hang up.   

They returned to university and Siobhan and her friend were in a pub again and returned to their dorm room and her friend passed out in the shower. Siobhan threw on her coat and nothing else and ran across the campus to get Sean to help her with her roommate. That was the second night they spent together. Soon afterward, Siobhan’s boyfriend decided to visit for the weekend from Oxford with the intent of winning Siobhan back. Unfortunately, when he arrived they were all out at a pub. Siobhan was sitting beside a very tall, handsome, post graduate Australian. When her boyfriend entered the bar and saw Siobhan, he made a beeline for the Australian and started a fight with him. In the meantime, Sean sat across the table and did nothing knowing full well he was the guy who should have been fighting. That was the end of that long term relationship. Siobhan became more determined than ever that she was going to be with Sean.

The following year, a group of their friends had decided that they would all rent a house together. However, when they showed up in the fall, Sean and Siobhan were the only people still interested in living in the house. By default they ended up living together–without planning to or being asked if that was okay with Siobhan. They rented one bedroom on the main floor of the house. Siobhan did not tell her parents of her living arrangement and when they came to visit, she had to move all Sean’s clothes out. In her third year of studies, Siobhan, who was studying languages, chose to spend a year in France. Sean said he would take a year off as well and got permission to have a leave of absence. Siobhan thought he would come to France with her but instead he went to China. He explored Manilla and then went to Hong Kong until he ran out of money. It was cheaper for him to live in China so he went there while waiting for money from his parents so he could get a ticket home. While in China, he got involved in the movie Shogun. The casting director was looking for an assistant to help with casting. His job was to go to the hostels and look for people interested in being extras. His career in casting ended abruptly when his ticket arrived from his father and he had to go home. Sean wrote love letters to Siobhan over the year but she didn’t read them because she couldn’t read his handwriitng–she didn’t even keep them. Sean flew to France to visit Siobhan twice over the course of the year.

In year 4, they had agreed to live together again in a house. At the last minute Sean changed his mind and went back to live in the College so he could focus and make sure he got good grades. At the end of the year, because they didn’t have any plans and weren’t sure what they were going to do, they lived with his mother and her new boyfriend in London. Sean’s mother’s boyfriend wasn’t happy about this, and they lasted about a month living there and then moved in with Siobhan’s sister. She wasn’t keen on having them live with her either so they moved on and lived in various spots for about a year. At which time, they decided to live in the Philippines because it was cheaper there. There were three or four years where they moved from the Philippines to Australia and back again earning money here and there before returning to London and getting proper jobs.

Sean says he knew right away when he saw her at the May Ball in Oxford. Siobhan said she knew Sean was the one right away when she saw him in the bar. She hung around because she knew he was the one even though he was never going to commit to anything–he didn’t believe in marriage and he didn’t want children at the time they met. When they returned to London, Sean got hepatitis quite badly and Siobhan nursed him for several months and her caring added to Sean’s realization that Siobhan was the one. When he was better, they decided to get serious about their careers–Sean became an accountant and Siobhan went into publishing and then went back to law school at night.

Siobhan was expecting a proposal every New Years’ Eve and it never happened. Finally one morning in February 1991, they were lying in bed and Sean turned to Siobhan and said let’s get married.

The plan was to get married at the registry office. However, when they went down to fill in the forms the waiting room was so depressing with its orange bucket seats, Sean looked at Siobhan and said, “We can’t get married here it reminds me of my grade school.” Siobhan was thrilled to get married in a church and because they lived in the neighbourhood and she had a connection with the church through the publisher where she worked, they got married in beautiful St. Bride’s Church on Fleet Street designed by Christopher Wren. They had to get permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In their initial interview, I failed to ask them about their wisdom. However, in a follow up conversation with Siobhan, she had this to say about what makes them work, “Compromise is King” in any relationship. She said you have to learn to “let it go” rather than holding a grudge. It’s important to be supportive and see things from your partner’s point of view. Siobhan says the most important thing is to be honest with your partner about your wants and needs.

Siobhan and Sean are back living in England after several years in Australia.

Broadcast Love wishes Sean and Siobhan many more decades of adventures together.

A Thirty Year Fling!

Jane and Joe

Today’s story is my favourite because it is mine! My husband Joe and I have been married for 31 years.  I first met my husband through a mutual friend.  I was in my early twenties and had just come out of a divorce. I got married when I had just turned 19 which is a story for another day. A good friend of mine, Susan, said “I have this guy I really want you to meet.” and she tried to set us up.  However, we both said “No, we don’t need to be set up.”  Then one night we were in a bar together and this guy came over to say hello to Susan and she later told me that that was him.  I didn’t think anything of it.  Soon after, I left Winnipeg in Canada and went to graduate school. In the first year of the MBA program each student belongs to a study group that meets regularly to discuss cases. In my second year we remained close and I hosted a dinner party for my study group and before it was over, my friend said he had to go and meet his high school buddies who had come from Winnipeg for a visit.  Later in the evening, I met his buddies at the bar and again at a party afterward.  My thoughts were cute but drunken goofballs–a little harsh on my behalf because I know I over imbibed in university once or twice. 

We all graduated a few months later and I went back to Winnipeg and the company that hired me flew me back to find a place to live and I met up with my girlfriend and she said “Now that you’re back, I’ve got to set you up with that guy.” Susan started to describe him and it turns out he was one of the drunken goof balls. Then I moved into my apartment and she was with me again and she said, “Guess who lives in this building?”  Okay Universe, I’m getting the message. 

Shortly after moving back, I called Joe and his friend and asked if they would like to have lunch with me. Joe said we’re both up in my apartment which was a couple floors above mine, and we can come down now and have a beer with you. And that was the beginning.

My friend from my study group wrote me a letter telling me about his travels and asking if I had met up with Joe and Colin, his two high school friends. He wrote, “If you want a long term relationship you should go out with Colin but if you want a fling you should go out with Joe. I had already started seeing Joe and besides, at the time, a fling seemed like a good option as I was planning on moving to Vancouver within a year. So I like to refer to our relationship as our ongoing fling.

It was a short romance because I think both of us knew early on that we would be together. We started dating at the end of May and he asked me to marry him in December. I definitely knew by about October that I was going to marry Joe. When I returned home from a business trip just before Christmas, Joe wanted me to open a present from him. Inside the wrapping was a piece of paper asking if I would marry him.

I would take the bus from work and then walk down the street to my apartment and on at least three occasions Joe “happened to be” in the elevator when I arrived. He has since confessed that he would wait and watch for me and then jump on the elevator. One time I asked if he’d like to come up and have dinner. I made Hawaiian Meatballs. When I asked Joe when did he know that I was the one, he said it was the dinner with the meatballs. So I had to include the recipe even though I haven’t made it in years and no longer eat beef. I have made them with turkey meatballs and vegetarian meatballs and they also work.

When I asked Joe what he thought made us work, he said

That’s the easiest question, it’s respect. I respect you.

Joe

If we had advice to give to people it would be to not give up. When the kids were around 6 and 3, Joe and I separated for ten months. We decided to get back together and of course there have been ups and downs in our marriage since and we know that we are committed to making it work.

I think the other thing that makes us work is our ability to go with flow. When you live in different countries and different homes, situations are not going to be as you anticipate all the time. For example, renting homes in Australia was a completely different experience than North America and took some time to adjust. You have to be able to go with the flow and just laugh sometimes.

Friendship Turns Into Lasting Love

Tom and Malcolm

Married 2 Years

Toronto

It was their first year of university at McGill.  They happened to be in the same residence, a floor apart.  Malcolm remembers the first day he saw Thomas—it was the second day of residence and there was a party going on in the basement—a mixer to help the nervous first year students meet people.  He walked in and saw this handsome, loud, extroverted guy in the corner running a drinking game and it was the only life in the otherwise awkward party. Malcolm made his way over there and got into the game and was pretty smitten right from the start.  Malcolm thought to himself, university is going to be great.  Tom has no recollection of this meeting at all.

Malcolm was a floor below Tom but he quite quickly became part of Malcolm’s friend group.  Not unlike many first year students, Tom had a tough time his first year of university being detached from his support system and putting pressure on himself regarding grades.  When he started to isolate, Malcolm was there to pull him out of his room to fun events. Malcolm had this way of helping him out not just with his grades because he was in Tom’s words, super smart, but also he was a social butterfly and determined to make the most out of his first year. Tom found reprieve from his studies when hanging out with Malcolm and was drawn to the light he was giving off.

Tom said he had just come out after high school, had a lot of internalized homophobia and was very emotionally guarded .  As much as he was attracted to Malcolm he was also scared of the vulnerability.  He put up a lot of boundaries and didn’t know how to navigate them.  Tom explained, “If you’re queer and you aren’t out in high school, you don’t get a chance to practice your feelings and emotions, the way others do with dating.  Being just friends with Malcolm was easier.”   However, towards the end of first year university, Tom and Malcolm were playing Call of Duty–a video game where you shoot zombies, Tom kissed Malcolm for the first time.  Malcolm was so excited he ran into his best friends’ room the next morning and told him because he had been hopelessly pursuing Tom for a year. But then Tom and Malcolm never mentioned the kiss again for a full year.  It was the elephant in the room—always between them and never spoken of. Shortly after the kiss, Tom asked Malcolm to move in with him and some other friends for second year.  So they lived together in a house but Tom was still not ready for anything other than friendship.

In the second semester of Tom’s second year, he did an exchange in a different city. For the first couple of days away he felt these very intense pangs for Malcolm and thought that’s weird what is my body trying to tell me—maybe I should listen to it.  Then he shoved those away and thought I’m gone for the next few months I don’t have to deal with this.  When he returned, Malcolm had a boyfriend and Tom had a very emotional reaction to this news. Finally, he just decided he was going to let himself be vulnerable and it was very transformative for Tom—he felt open and cared for and invigorated by this vulnerability that he had been afraid of.  He felt alive and happy. He had talked himself out of this possibility for a long time– he took a big risk and Malcolm met him where he was at. 

Malcolm is such a generous spirit to be around, an amazing friend and person to talk to. 

Tom

Malcolm quipped, “Don’t pine after someone for a whole year, go after someone else and they’ll suddenly decide they want to be with you.”  He ditched his boyfriend and the rest is history.

Malcolm knew right away from the very first time he saw Tom that he was the one.  He said it was bordering on an obsession—he didn’t think about anyone else more than he thought about Tom in both a romantic and friendship sense.  Tom helped him come out to his family and that was a keystone in his life.  When he told them, Tom’s voice was in his head egging him forward. 

Even before we were romantically together it was always Tom.

Malcolm

Tom joked he would never profess early love for anyone as he’s much more cautious—he didn’t want to be hurt.  Tom didn’t want to commit to anything and wanted to be free and independent.  At the same time, there was so much passion and feelings for Malcolm but his insecurities kept coming up and he had to figure things out.  He knew Malcolm was the one when they could talk about these things and work them out and Malcolm was committed to doing this and to making this the best relationship ever.  Once those dynamics were figured out, it gave Tom a sense of security and he could relax and knew it was a longterm thing.

Malcolm told Tom that he had to propose to him and left it in Tom’s corner.  Tom planned a very romantic proposal.  It was Pride weekend in Toronto and there were a number of fun events celebrating queer love, and they went to some marches and gay bars, had some dinner and cocktails.  When they got home, their roommates had set up their gazebo with plants and candles and Tom read Malcolm a poem that he had written about what Malcolm meant to him and the last line was Will You Marry Me? And Malcolm said “Yes.”

I didn’t realize I wanted a big proposal til I got one.  It was perfect.

Malcolm

A personal poem after an amazing day was exactly what he wanted.  A bunch of their friends were hiding in the house and when he said yes they all came out and it became a big party. 

Tom says he internalized a lot of messages about sexuality as a kid.  Although he feels confident about who he is and his relationship, in the back of his mind he still thinks twice about things like walking down the street holding hands. He’s hopeful someday that will no longer be an issue.

As a nurse, whenever Malcolm wears his ring, people will often go “Oh you’re married” and proceed to ask questions.  A lot of spaces don’t feel safe to have that conversation because there are religious hospitals where administration has certain beliefs and conservative staff and your patients may not hold similar beliefs to yours.

It’s weird to have a symbol of love yet it’s a constant conflict over whether to wear my ring or not in a professional setting.

Malcolm

He’d like to feel like he should be able to wear his ring whenever he wants. 

Tom commented that they surround themselves with people who love and accept them but they are also in regular contact with people who are judging.

Tom believes there is a narrative around love that it’s all roses and sunshine because people don’t talk about their challenges even with their friends.  There’s an expectation when you’re in a relationship that you’re a pair and you are figuring your stuff out on your own and you don’t want anyone else to know that you have challenges.  That can be a disservice because it gives the impression that relationships are always super easy and that they don’t involve work and challenges mean that you have to break up with someone.  Relationships are hard even if you’re deeply in love. Tom believes couples should talk about their issues because it’s not whether you have issues but how you work through them and move forward and figure things out together.  Malcolm realizes as they grow old together, different challenges will come up and they’ll have the skills to deal with them.

Tom has grown so much personally from being with Malcolm. 

Relationships have the power to force you to search in yourself, look at your insecurities and unpack those. That’s the powerful growth aspect of relationships if you’re willing to go there you can be transformed and you can be so much more comfortable and knowledgeable about yourself through having this other person in your life. 

Tom

He’s so grateful that Malcolm was able to guide him through various issues and allowed him to take risks and be vulnerable and still feel safe.  You have to have trust in your partner.

Broadcast Love wishes this couple many more decades of fun, adventures, discoveries and joy together.

Music and Dance Brought Them Together

Married Over 30 Years

Jody and Jim

When I was in my early teens, my Mom took me to a show called Up With People (UWP) in a nearby town. I was a huge fan of the show and thought when I grow up, I would like to join UWP. As time went on I focused on other pursuits after high school. For some reason the theme song of UWP stuck in my long term memory and Jody was a little surprised when I was able to sing it to her when we first discussed doing their interview. Jody and Jim met through Up With People.

Started in 1965, Up With People is a program open to youth aged 17-29 that brings people together from different mindsets, cultures, ethnicities and beliefs.

The vision is an inclusive and sustainable world where people are equal in dignity and rights.

Up With People

After training at the headquarters in Denver, the youth travel to nearly 20 communities across two or three continents, spending about one week in each community. Each week, they live with a local host family, participate in service projects, learn about various cultures through educational workshops, and perform in Up with People’s musical stage production. The goal is “to teach young people how to interact in a multi-cultural environment and create change in communities with varying needs.”

Jim, 21 flew from his home in Indiana to Arizona to begin training for Up with People and the first person he met at the airport was Jody, a 20 year old from Washington State. There were 500 people at the training session which lasted six weeks. In their cast, there were youth from 25 countries.

Jody jokes that Jim dated just about everyone in their group first–Jody says 10 and Jim says 4 or five. Dating was limited because they were on the bus touring and it meant that you sat beside them on the bus and hung out together. They went home at Christmas, and when they came back, Jim says that ‘s when he fell in love with Jody.

Jody, Jim and one other guy became close friends and Jody remembers saying,

These guys are good eggs and I’m probably going to marry one of them.

Jody

One of highlights of their time with UWP was doing the half time show at the Super Bowl in 1981. The real highlight was Jody’s and Jim’s first kiss in Lemmon, South Dakota after a show at a high school and they kissed in a classroom. They spent six months together touring Europe with shows every two or three days. After their time with the traveling show, they were hired on as staff and spent the summer working at Sea World in Florida doing five shows a day.

In the fall, they both returned to their studies at university–Jim in Indiana and Jody in Washington. Jim and Jody had a long distance relationship for two years during which time Jim wrote Jody every single day. Judy wrote once a month. At that time, there were no cell phones and long distance calls were a big deal. Jody lived in a Sorority and whenever she got a phone call, they would make a public announcement, “Jody, long distance on line two.” and all the girls would squeal with excitement and want to know what was the latest.

Jim graduated and moved up to Tacoma, Washington where he got his first full time job while waiting for Jody to finish her degree in dental hygiene.

Jim couldn’t decide whether he should ask Jody to marry him or go to the opening night of the first Rambo movie. Jim had asked Jody’s father for permission beforehand. He decided he could do both–the movie and the proposal, so he asked Jody to marry him in her bedroom in her parents’ home and then Jim and her whole family went to the movie.

Jody was able to use her Grandmother’s diamond in her ring which made it extra special. They settled in Tacoma, Washington and raised two sons and now have a granddaughter.

Jody and Jim were friends first and when they first started dating they were together 16 hours a day with 123 other people. While they were traveling they saw each other’s highs and lows. The environment wasn’t real–in their words it was like a cocoon where they were sheltered from the outside world. They took their time once they left UWP to get to know one another. They created a strong bond which stead them well in their relationship.

For 31 years, Jim’s job has taken him on the road and if they didn’t have trust in one another their marriage would never have lasted. They continue to enjoy each other’s company–Jim says “We have a ball together. Yes, a relationship is work but it’s fun work if you have a good marriage.”

Currently, in keeping with the philosophy from Up With People of giving back to the global community, they created Hardwick Dental Teams and their team of 12 have provided dental services to the Masai people in Kenya and they are planning to return in 2022. If you would like to assist them or find out more, you can go to hardwickdentalteams.org