For CBC Calgary's series on "Modern Love" we've been asking for your stories — here are some of our favourites so far.
- INTERACTIVE: Modern Love
"Modern love" happened almost 18 years ago, right here in Calgary.
I was a single parent with two children — a daughter in Grade 7 and a son in Grade 5. It was October. My little family was settled into a routine of school and work.
One night I got a call from a company called Videos for Singles. (This was before text messaging, facebook and other social media.) I got off the phone, laughing somewhat hysterically. My kids wanted to know what the big deal was. I told them that the company would take a video of me answering some questions. Then I would get to look at videos of men answering the same questions.
If I liked what I saw, the gentleman in question would get to view my video. If he liked what he saw, then the company would give me his phone number. After a get-to-know-you meeting, the rest would be up to me. I didn’t have to give out my phone number or address. My children insisted I give it a try.
Against my better judgement — who but losers in love would try this route?, I thought — I made an appointment. The office was on 17th Avenue. The receptionist was sweet. There were plenty of files stacked up in the office. It took the salesman a bit of persuasion, but I finally paid my money and signed on the dotted line. He gave all the interview questions, which I took home to prepare for the videotaping.
My son and daughter had a hilarious time with the questions. "Who would be your ideal companion?" conjured up images of a Superman-type character, to someone resembling Toad of Toad Hall. "What would you like to do on an ideal date?" got them thinking of the Calgary Tower, bowling and scuba diving in the tropics. They had far more ideas than I did, I having been out of the dating scene since well before they were born!
I cannot remember much about the interview except that it seemed painfully slow. My daughter had advised me on the choice of outfit, and I kept thinking that my bra strap was showing. It was a nerve-wracking experience.
I did get to meet some very interesting people. Most were sincere, lonely men, looking for someone to talk to. There were a few I actually gave my phone number to, but none I shared my address with.
Then along came No. 747. Yes, we were all numbers, no names to preserve anonymity.
Even now I remember how he laughed at an off-the-cuff remark that happened to get taped after the interview was over. Somehow he was different from all the others, starting with coffee at Earl’s on 16th Avenue and a gentle kiss in the parking lot.
After vowing I would never tie the knot again, here we are after 17 plus years of marriage, with a blended family. Thanks to my children’s encouragement and a fateful phone call one October night, I can attest to the triumphs of "modern love."
A 'rugby union'
Here is my modern Calgary true love story.
I am originally from the United Kingdom and I married the first love of my life, a wonderful Calgarian girl in 2006. I would say it was a modern love story as I rediscovered her via the search engine Google.
The story does have a history as it started back in 1985, the year of the charity concert Live Aid and the movie Breakfast Club. My market town school, situated in Pontypool, Wales, U.K. is heavily into the sport of rugby union. In 1985, they sent a team of 15-year-old boys, including me, on a rugy tour of British Columbia for two weeks.
It was an impressionable age and the first time I had ever been on a plane and off the European continent. It was a wonderful experience and during the team’s five day stay in Vancouver I met a cute 15-year-old Canadian girl called Wendy who was staying with the family I was billeted with. We spent five days in what I can only describe as "holding hands in a state of teenage puppy love" while Wendy graciously showed me around Vancouver.
At the end of the tour, Wendy came to the airport to see me off and handed me a teenage love letter. We swapped addresses and wrote to each other once a month for just over two years. Unknown to me during that time Wendy had tried hard to get onto a school exchange program to stay in Wales so we could see each other again but had not been successful.
Time moved on and the writing eventually dried up as we grew up and went forward with our lives in our respective countries. I always held very fond memories of the letters and the brief time we spent together.
I eventually graduated and moved to London, England in the 1990s where I carved out a successful career in online banking. At the start of 2006, after 21 years of no contact since Wendy and I first met, I attended a conference in London on internet security, personal identify theft and phishing. We were shown how to attempt to steal a person’s identity and it starts with a name and Google search.
When I got back to my office I thought it would be fun to search for old friends and flames with some Google searches. I tried a few and eventually put in Wendy’s name. With the first page returned I was looking at a picture of Wendy staring straight back at me.
Wendy was now 36 and the owner of a set of physio clinics in Calgary and the chair of the Private Practice Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Wendy’s email address was right there and so I sent an email explaining who I was and did she remember me.
Several days went by and Wendy replied. Within weeks we were connecting with daily emails, calling and texting. The connection between us was incredible.
Wendy was brave enough to fly from Calgary to London in March 2006 where we instantly fell in love.
The old phrase "When you know, you know" could not have been more perfect. Wendy still had all of my letters and in one I had written "If we ever lose touch I will find you again, one day."
I flew out to Calgary twice that summer and loved the city. I asked Wendy to marry me in July 2006 and we were married in the historic town of Wells, England at the Bishop's Palace in the September of that year. I sold up, quit my job, left England and moved to Calgary that October.
Seven years later and I am settled in Calgary, the extremely lucky and loving husband of the first love of my life and along the way Wendy made me the proud father of two beautiful Calgarian born children, Teddy and Sky.
I now have a successful career in Alberta's energy sector along with a beautiful home and finally became a Canadian Citizen in 2012.
My father on my wedding day described our marriage as a true "rugby union."
A storybook romance
Let me start by saying that I am born and raised in Calgary, an Olympic baby in fact.
My mom went into labour during the 1988 Olymipics, as she was watching the bobsled race at Canada Olympic Park. This ties into the the tag line from my story.
On June 15th this year I was married to the man of dreams at Heritage Park. Our ceremony was at the Lantern Church in Inglewood and we partied the night away in the Heritage Park barn.
When my parents gave their speech the line that drove our party into laughs and tears was when my dad said: "I was lucky enough to have an Olympic baby. Many athletes were able to take home medals but I believe my wife and I brought home gold in the Couples Freestyle."
So now flashback from my wedding day, two or so years to when I (re)met my husband to be.
I was sitting at my very favorite coffee shop, Cafe Beano, on 17th Avenue. Cafe Beano is my go to spot, for homework, chats with friends, or just to people watch. On this day - late in January 2011 - I was very lucky to spot the man I did.
I saw a handsome man, bearded with lots of tattoos, speaking at a depth that was so refreshing. I soon realized I had met him before, years prior when we both were in rocky spots in our life. I quickly got on my phone (while proceeding to listen in on his conversation) and tried to text my friends to figure out his name. Before I knew it I had made contact with mutual friends and only a week later he had asked me on a date.
When Devon called me for this first date he suggested his favorite coffee shop, Cafe Beano. I thought wow, how fitting. That first date, in that very specific booth, will be one I never forget. We spent hours pouring over why we love Cafe Beano, what our lives are like in Calgary, and we were surprised and smiled often at all the things we both enjoyed.
This past November, after two years of dating, Devon proposed to me at Cafe Beano. We sat where we sat on our first date.
Devon had collaborated with my creative friends to make a book that told the story of our love. The book started with when we met the first time many years prior, to our first date at Café Beano, to the day he proposed. The back of the book had a space cut out where he had placed my ring, hand crafted by a Calgary artist.
Never thought I would say it, but as a born and raised Calgarian I fell in love, and found the love of my life, right here in my city.