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‘How I met the one I love’ — writing contest (02/08/2012)
By Frances Edstrom

In honor of upcoming Valentine’s Day, we’d like to hear how you met the one you love. Three lucky writers will win gift certificates!

When I meet a couple for the first time, I often will ask how they met. It might be that I am so interested because my siblings and I grew up with the story of how my father and mother met during World War II. My dad had joined the Coast Guard, which was folded into the U.S. Navy, and my mother joined the WAVES, the women’s branch of the Navy. They met in Washington, D.C. My mother’s roommate let my dad stay at their apartment while she went blithely off to her work shift, leaving my mom to wake up in the morning to this handsome stranger sleeping on the couch. Mother always told the story that she offered him some breakfast, and was so nervous and taken with him that she burned the eggs (boiled). It was only a matter of weeks before he popped the question, and mother, who was a devout Catholic, stressed to us how much she prayed over the question before she said yes. But since it was about three months between meeting and marrying (most of that time he was at sea), she may have prayed hard, but not all that long. The marriage lasted til death did them part, and seemed to us six kids to be a very happy one. We always thought it was so romantic that a guy from Massachusetts could meet and marry a girl from Iowa in the nation’s capitol.

My parents’ story wasn’t an unusual one during WWII, or any war, I suppose, when life seems to be something to embrace with vigor, since death is so close.

John’s folks met in the choir at the Congregational Church in Winona, where Jo had been a member since she was four years old, and Harold, a student at Winona State, had been commandeered to sing in the choir. Jo admired Harold’s ankles. When I first heard the story, I thought, “Wow. I never noticed his ankles,” so I took a look next time I could sneak a peek without seeming too weird. Truth was they didn’t do anything for me. But their union produced five kids and lasted well over 50 years, until Harold died in 1996. Jo liked to tell the story of wondering when Harold would ask her to marry him, as they had been courting a while, and she thought they were headed toward marriage. But Harold wasn’t one to rush into things (like his children!), and she was getting nervous. Then Christmas rolled around, and Harold hinted to her that he was thinking about giving her pots and pans. “Haar-old!!!! Pots! And pans!?” she exclaimed with as much volume and dismay as she, always a lady, could muster. He came across with a diamond ring and they were soon married.

But now it’s your turn. Tell us how you met the one you love, and mail or e-mail it to us at Winona Post, Box 27, Winona, MN 55987, or winpost@winonapost.com and put “How I met the one I love” in the subject line. We will print as many entries as we are able, and will award three prizes. First prize is a $150 gift card to Holtans Jewelry; second prize is a $50 gift certificate to Ginny’s Supper Club; and third prize is a $25 gift certificate to Beedle’s Restaurant.

Please limit your entry to 250 words. The deadline is February 13, and winners will be announced in the February 15 edition of the Winona Post.

A word to the wise: better not count on winning a prize to take the place of a romantic gift for your honey, because the prizes will be awarded AFTER Valentine’s Day!


John and I want to thank all our readers for their incredible support during this hard time for our health.

One reader wrote with her support, and also to comment on a column I wrote about lights in winter. She shared her fondness for the four seasons, and also confessed her love for snow and even snow shoveling. I had to laugh out loud when I read her next sentence: “In my sixties, I decided to do one last snow angel. Unfortunately, I messed it up because I had to roll over to get off the ground.” At least she could roll over! Let that be a lesson. Next time it snows, get out there and make a snow angel! 


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