Real-Life Romances
Recalling the start of something wonderful
By Erin Bell

Every love story begins somewhere – whether it’s a chance encounter at a party, through work or even as castmates in a play. Take a look at how some of our readers met and fell head over heels for their significant others. Their heartwarming (and sometimes funny) stories are proof that love can happen anywhere, any time.

Sarah-Herb-1We were friends who just hung out together a lot, but we were both clear that we weren’t dating. Then I realized I did want to date him. I spent about a week choosing the perfect movie to suggest for our next not-date (“Charade,” the thriller with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn). I managed to curl up against Matthew’s side before chickening out on telling him. Luckily, that didn’t stop him from taking the hint, and we were married six years later.  –  Sarah Herb, Mount Laurel

Mike and I met at Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia. I was a new nurse, and he was a senior in college working part-time at the hospital. All the old nurses had a crush on him. They would order stuff they didn’t need just so he would deliver it to the unit. I felt bad for him because they made him blush. We started out as good friends, and slowly it developed into our love story. The old nurses were thrilled.  –  Kelly Gambino, Haddonfield

Ron-and-Liz-JA2_0529Ron had a locker right across from me at Lackawanna High School. I was a sophomore, and he was a junior. He was “big man on campus,” being the quarterback, catcher on the baseball team and a great basketball player. I just thought he was cool! We caught each other’s eyes all the time but never really met until I was invited to his 16th birthday party. We have been together ever since. Years later, we joke because he always tells me he loved me in my red coat. But I swear I never had a red coat. I always tell him he married the wrong person.  –  Liz Jaworski, Medford

It was 1948. We took the same trolley to school each morning, and he would get on the stop before me. The first day he saw me, he told his friend, “I’m gonna marry her.” Every day he would look for me on the trolley, and he was so disappointed when I wasn’t there. We finally met at a church dance, and we danced all night in our own corner. We started going steady in 1950, and we were married in 1953.  –  Dorothy Bernard, Mount Laurel

Jon and I met in Houston, Texas. I was a police officer, and he was a rookie [NFL player]. He was a shy, teddy-bear type of guy. One night, some of my friends and I were hanging out at the same local spot as Jon and his friends, and this girl he had gone on a few dates with would not leave him alone. I asked him why he even dated her, and Jon’s response was, “Because you would never go out with me.” I just thought he was being sweet and flirtatious, but he asked me to take him to another spot down the street to get away from the other girl. Now close to 18 years and three children later, living with that shy teddy bear has been a very exciting journey.  –  Loretta Runyan, Mount Laurel

Jen-G-My husband was my co-worker. I thought he was lame, but we were friends. Then I was in a car accident where I suffered serious injuries to my face and almost died. My teeth were removed because my jaw broke, and I had a flipper for the front while implants were being made. One of the first things he said to me was, “How are you? I heard you can take your teeth out.” As if that wasn’t charming enough, we actually started to date a few months later. That was 13 years ago, and we’ve been married for seven.  –  Jennifer Gaffney, Atco

I was a camp counselor at the Helen Diller Vacation Home for Blind Children the year after I graduated from Bucknell. She was a college student at the University of Maryland College Park, studying education. Two counselors quit mid-summer, so my future mother-in-law sent my future wife to volunteer, with really bad directions. But she finally arrived (despite the bad directions) and became a counselor – and the rest is history.  –  Dan Tarditi, Haddonfield

We met through mutual friends in college. One night, we were at the same party, and I noticed Joe showing everyone a picture of his two little nephews. We talked and found out that we both loved kids – I was a student teacher, and he was already coaching a Little League team. A few weeks later, mutual friends encouraged us to go on a double date with them. They broke up not long after that, but we stayed together. Now, 19 nieces and nephews, four children and two daughters-in-law later, Joe is still showing pictures at parties – but now they are of our grandchildren.  –  Anne Donovan, Marlton

Anne-Klein-3The date was November 1974, and the introduction was strictly business. I was the director of external communications for Girard Bank in Philadelphia, the first bank in the market to sell gold. I also provided the financial comments for two daily news segments on KYW. Jerry was the assistant editor of Focus, a business magazine, and also a weekend news anchor at KYW. He was assigned to write a story on gold. He asked his cohorts at KYW if they knew me. They said yes and encouraged him to call for the information, which I provided. The editor of Focus was so pleased with the story, he suggested that Jerry take me to dinner to thank me.  –  Anne Sceia Klein, Medford

We met in high school while doing a show. I went to an all-girls school and he went to an all-boys school, so the schools would recruit each other for shows. In 1974, my school did “Oklahoma!” I was giggly Gertie and he was the peddler, and our characters got married at the end. Then, the boys did “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” I was Hedy LaRue and he was the Chairman of the Board. And again, our characters got married at the end! So in 1979, we got married a third time – this time for real.  –  Mary Kay Maley, Collingswood


After college, I started an internship working on the Disney World attraction “The Jungle Cruise.” I remember seeing Josh on my first day of training. I thought he was cute, but I was too shy to speak to him. We met later at a party and started a conversation about how we thought we might work together (a fact we both knew was true), and we ended up standing outside the party just chatting. I found out after our Disney internships ended and I was working full-time with Disney that he stayed in Florida for me.  –  Caitlin Burdey, Medford

In 1991, when I was 12 years old, I went to Florida with a friend from school. We hung out with a group of kids our age who were vacationing at the same resort, and that’s how I met Ben. He and I exchanged addresses, and then went our separate ways at the end of the week. (I lived outside Chicago, Ill. He lived in Medford.) A few weeks later I received a letter from him, and that began our years-long friendship as pen pals. We exchanged hundreds of letters about everything. Our letters eventually transitioned to phone calls and emails, but we always kept in touch even through high school and college and as we established ourselves in our careers. Then Ben invited me to be his plus-one at his cousin’s wedding in 2003. That weekend, we both realized our friendship had grown into something wonderful. We now have three kids, and this year will mark our 10th wedding anniversary (and I still have all his letters).  –  Danielle Myers, Mount Laurel

Joe and I met when we were 16 at an all-girls camp in Maine. Joe’s parents had a house on the lake, and he got a job as a kitchen boy that summer. It was my eighth and final summer as a camper. He would come and play guitar for the seniors after hours. We started dating about seven months later after seeing each other at the winter camp reunion. This year, we will celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary.  –  Debbie Focarile, Mount Laurel

February 2015
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