Manitoba

Random phone call leads to 46-year marriage for Winnipeg couple

Tomas and Carrie Yudai now have 2 children and 4 grandchildren

Random phone call leads to 46-year marriage for Winnipeg couple 2:34

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Finding love may not be easy, but for Winnipeg's Tomas and Carrie Yudai, it wasn't exactly complicated.

"When I was calling people, I wasn't looking for someone to get married," Tomas told CBC News, remembering the day he met Carrie.

It was in November 1967 at a bachelor apartment near the Medical Arts Building on Notre Dame Avenue. Tomas had moved to the Manitoba capital a week earlier, and after growing up in the Philippines and getting a second degree in California, it was the first time he had ever seen snow.

"After a week or so I had this idea that maybe I should find some new friends or get connected with other people,"  Tomas said. "I thought, 'Maybe I can find other Filipinos here,' so I went through the phone book looking for Filipino names."

After a few misses — the people he called turned out to be Portuguese — a Filipino woman picked up.

"She says, 'Come over, you know, we're having a party,'" Tomas recalled. "So I said, 'Great,' you know, 'Thank you,' and I got the address."

They didn't agree on a time, so Tomas remembers he showed up around 6 p.m., though Carrie says it was more like 5 p.m.

"There was no party yet. The first thing I know, I have Carrie coming out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel and that's how we met," Tomas said.

Party for doctors, nurses

"I didn't even know that [my roommate] invited somebody and that somebody was coming early," said Carrie. "Everything was a blur after that because I thought, 'This guy is so early and I'm not dressed.'"

Carrie worked at the nearby Health Sciences Centre, and the party was for doctors and nurses — and that meant a lot of women and only a few men.

"Lots of single nurses and doctors [arrived], and he started flirting with all of the nurses," Carrie recalled, but Tomas said he doesn't remember that.

"I just remember there were a few guys there, and they were mostly doctors," he said.

Carrie was dating a doctor at the time, and Tomas says she "didn't even register," but the two kept getting together for dinners.

And on Dec. 26, 1967, a kiss.

The Yudais

Carrie was dating a doctor at the time, and Tomas says she "didn't even register," but the two kept getting together for dinners and, on Dec. 26, 1967, a kiss. (Courtesy Tomas and Cari Yudai)

"Well, you know,  there's one man for 25 women so you kiss him and that's it," she said, laughing. "There were so many females and few males because it was mostly nurses and doctors who came first [from the Philippines]. So nurses -- everybody [was] female except one or two and a few doctors and most of them were married."

In the following years they would drive across Canada, the United States and Mexico together — Tomas showing jealousy for one of the only times Carrie can remember.

Their car broke down in Mexico, and Tomas caught a bad cold while the engine was being rebuilt, so Carrie spent time alone in the park reading.

"I'm possessive and I'm the jealous type," she admits.

But when a 19-year-old local fell hard for Carrie and wanted to marry her, things changed a bit. Tomas insists he wasn't jealous, but Carrie remembers a loud "Goodbye! We're leaving!" to her new friend shortly before they drove out of town.

'I want my space, so I give him his'

Now, they have two children, four grandkids and and are preparing to celebrate their 48th Valentine's Day together.

Despite the ease with which they found each other, they think it was a lot harder to meet people in 1967 in Winnipeg than it is now.

Still, they're split on whether or not online dating apps like Tinder are a good idea.

Carrie said she would be suspicious of meeting someone online, but Tomas isn't so sure.

"You can know a lot more about people now before you decide to meet them. It's better and worse," Tomas said, adding you can tell a lot about a person by their eyes.

Their best advice to young couples? Let each other be.

Tomas and Cari Yudai

Tomas and Carrie Yudai today. (CBC)

"We have lots of friends who are together forever, like even indoors they're together. I want my space so I give him his space," she said.

Carrie likes gardening, socializing and shopping. Tomas is more into computers, music and spirituality. Both like to travel — but not always together.

"We have a strong sense of" Tomas begins before Carrie interjects "who we are."

"Yeah, who you are as an individual rather than us together," he says.

EXTENDED: How Tomas and Cari Yudai met in 1967 3:04

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