Love, Manitoba style — stories of love, death and romance

It was a challenge that went straight for the heart. CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa asked her listeners to share their greatest love stories, in honour of Valentine's Day 2019.

CBC InfoRad listeners share their cupid connections: 'Apparently, we are lucky in love'

CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa sends her love and shares stories of love, courtesy of Manitoba listeners. (CBC/Donna Carreiro)

It was a challenge that went straight for the heart.

CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa asked her listeners to share their greatest love stories, in honour of Valentine's Day 2019.

Of those, one was selected and written into a made-in-Manitoba love song — to be revealed on-air Thursday, Feb. 14, on Information Radio after 8 a.m.

In the meantime, to get you in the mood, here now are some of your stories — love, Manitoba style!


The food of love

Kathleen Wiens

How we met: My husband Matthew and I met in the staff lunch room at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, where we both work. We met over food, which is an ongoing shared joy.

How we started talking: We struck up a very Manitoba conversation. I am Mennonite, and Matt is not. I looked at his meatless lunch, and my Menno mind was confused by the lack of meat. I asked, jokingly, "Where is the main course?" (meatless meals can confuse and upset some Mennos). We had a good laugh and struck up a conversation. 

Our first date was food-filled indeed. Tacos at BMC market, a cocktail at Blind Tiger, a beer at the Peasant, and finally poutine and a strawberry milkshake at Dairy Whip. 

For our wedding, we came up with an über Manitoba unofficial family name, a fun portmanteau of our Scottish and Menno names: "The McWiens family."

Kathleen and Matthew visit Neubergthal, Man. (Supplied/Kathleen Wiens)

From Fort Garry to China and back, with love

Laurie Finlay (and Ted Belanger)

We met in preschool.  

Most of our classmates walked but not us. Our moms took turns driving us to Friends Together nursery school as we sat smiling at each other in the back seat. But when school began we were separated by language programs, I in French immersion at Ecole Viscount Alexander and you in the English program at Oakenwald school.

We were reunited once again at Vincent Massey Collegiate where we got along famously. But alas, we were separated again as we went on to our respective faculties in university and I began dating your best friend.

The relationship did not last and in our second year at the University of Manitoba, we were reunited once more on a co-ed volleyball team. But with our complicated past, me having dated your best friend, and now my friend being interested in you, it seemed we could not act upon what felt was so natural between us.

It seemed like the time had finally come to be together.- Laurie Finlay

Finally, one snowy night after an evening at the Pemby, you walked me home and you held my hand. Our friends had moved on and it seemed that the time had finally come for us to be together. We were 19 and you asked me out on a date to see a movie at the St Vital theatre and our relationship began.

We dated through university and once we completed our education degrees. We sought adventure and as fate would have it, they required both a phys ed and kindergarten teacher at a Manitoba curriculum school in China. We travelled not only to China but much of Asia, Europe and Australia as well.

While in China we learned that our longtime friendship-turned-relationship was something out of a time-honoured poem and there was a Chinese saying for this: "Ching mei ju ma."

The Chinese friends we met would swoon when we would tell our story.

We were married two years into our lives in China and returned to Winnipeg shortly after.

Now, after 21 years of dating and marriage, 37 years since we first met, we are raising two beautiful children, back in the South End. The story continues ...

Laurie Finlay and husband Ted Belanger celebrate their close-to-lifelong friendship. (Supplied/Laurie Finlay)


Destined at birth

Tracey Bercier

My husband and I have been together for almost 27 years. We began living together about a year after we began dating. 

One evening, a few months after we starting living together, we were watching ER on TV. The doctors on the show were responding to a terrible traffic accident and I turned to him and said "I could never do something like that." He responded by saying, "My dad used to do that." I laughed and said, "Yes I know your dad did everything." 

So my husband picked up the phone and called his father. My father-in-law was an immigrant from the Netherlands and was very loud in his speaking and had a heavy accent. My husband asked his father if he was an ambulance attendant and I heard his father respond to him, "Yes and there was something about Salter Street bridge and babies." 

Well I heard this and took the phone away from my husband. I asked my father-in-law what he meant, as I was a baby born on the Salter Street bridge in 1967. He explained that when he was an ambulance attendant they picked up two women a week apart on Sundays and had to stop the ambulance to deliver their babies. 

I asked him if he remembered  where he picked them up from and he stated yes he did. One was on McGregor and the other was on a street at the end of Salter.  My parents lived on Templeton, at the end of Salter when I was born. I had heard the story of my birth many times.  

I was the second baby ...- Tracey Bercier

I was the second baby that my father-in-law was speaking about. 

My husband's response to me after I hung up the phone with my father-in-law, in shock, was, "My father was the first person to hold you and I will be the last." Twenty-seven years later I believe that he is right.

Tracey Bercier and husband Anton Eyer celebrate a love that seemed destined from the moment she was born. (Supplied/Tracey Bercier)

Love story with life

Pat Komadowski

Dear CBC,

It's not a person. On the anniversary day of my 3C cancer remission, I thought what better way to celebrate. 

I will get some flowers later honouring my life, but wanted to share my love story with life.  

After chemo I walked often, walking towards life. Like a scene in a movie. 

I made a bucket list in case, and in these 20 extra years filled it.  

There was a moment in chemo that stands out for me in my love affair with living. Walking, I noticed farmers burned the ditch grass, common practice, in the ash of burnt grass … a Ladyslipper! Endangered flower.   

Out of the ash I grew and running towards life ...- Pat Komadowski

I felt I was that flower, out of the ash I grew and "running" towards life. My love.  

I don't need a song. But on this day, felt like a good day to share. 

Cancer survivor Pat Komadowski celebrates a most precious love of all ... her hard-fought love of life. (Supplied/Pat Komadowski)

A prince in wolf's clothing

​Dianne Parker

My love story started in 1988. For two months I would takes walks in the evening with my friend. Her boyfriend and his friend with meet up with her to talk to her. My impression at the time of the driver (who is now my wonderful husband), was that he was immature and annoying.

My friend and I would walk to a chip stand to get  poutine. He would be there, he would throw me spit balls — which really annoyed me.

Then he would offer to buy the poutine for everyone and I would turn him down and order myself one.

Later at the Halloween dance, a werewolf approached me to dance with him. We danced all night. By the end I asked if he could remove his mask to see who was I dancing with. And then I responded, "Not you!"

We got to know each other, and now the rest is history. I found out how much of a gentleman he is. Till this day he still opens the door for me and is extremely caring. He is truly my prince charming. I am very lucky to have found him. This August we will be celebrating 30 years of marriage.

Dianne Parker found true love with her own 'Prince Charming.'

Falling in love with a fine fella

Laura Tutlies

If I married the Neanderthal at the place where we met (and we may just do that) it would be at the front of my home on the east shore of beautiful Lake Winnipeg near Grand Beach.

The truth of why this fella is a Neanderthal is a whole other story but for now let's get to the love part. 

He was walking his three rescue dogs and he stopped to admire my new deck. I don't think he meant my bodacious body, at least not back then. I was a mess — grieving the passing of my very excellent husband. The Neanderthal was sweet but flew past my first notice. 

The sudden encounter that sealed our fate was so romantic ...- Laura Tutlies

At that time he was a seasonal visitor and as karma would dictate, a few seasons passed before we connected romantically. The sudden encounter that sealed our fate was so romantic it is not fit for general public listeners or watchers.  

That said, my neighbour and friend will tell you this, "Be careful when kissing by the garden gate — the birds are blind, but the neighbours ain't."

Love is grand and so is my Neanderthal. We have been kissing, laughing and loving ever since. The future is an adventure unfolding — beyond the garden gate. He is a widower too and apparently, we are lucky in love.

Laura Tutlies celebrates her good fortune finding love again. (Supplied/Laura Tutlies)