A CENTURY OF LOVE: "How We Met" Stories Spanning Decades and Generations
What is love? How, and why, does it last?
Through the decades of the twentieth century, advancements were made in almost every field of human endeavor, including medicine, science, and technology. However, despite continual progress, couples seem to know less than ever how to stay together.
Times change, as does clothing; slang comes and goes; music mutates and annoys every generation’s parents; yet people still meet, fall in love and begin lives together, no matter what goes on around them.
As a decade, a century, and a millennium simultaneously ended, news stories, books, documentaries, and prime-time features were produced on the advancements we have seen as a nation and as a planet.
Yet despite new knowledge and vast changes in our culture, through wars that have been fought and every eventual peace that has ever been established, strangers still meet under the most unimaginable circumstances, and suddenly are strangers no longer.
Despite answers that have been found to every imaginable mystery, writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, as well as ordinary men and women, still encounter the most basic human mystery in the simple question: What is love?
This book is an attempt to find an answer.
But it wasn’t my original intent.
Is it possible that there might be a secret, some elusive grail, to making a relationship work? Are there common truths that span generations? How do people create a life together that lasts, that defies statistics, and keep from becoming boring, or simply somnambulant?
People love telling the story of how they met. And everyone loves hearing these tales of early beginnings. That is where the original idea for this book came from. A collection of “how we met” stories. But as I began asking people to share, I realized that I was recording tales that also reflected the times in which they happened.
I soon envisioned a collection that spanned the decades of the century, and that mirrored the cultural changes of the times.
Starting with the twenties, included here are tales told with the background of immigrants flooding the streets, of economic depression, of war, of the birth of rock and roll, of the turbulence of the sixties, the confusion of the seventies, the increasing security of the eighties, and the technological nineties.
Here are fun, silly, romantic, serious, exciting, and loving tales of people I have grown to know.
In these pages you will read of couples who met in the excitement of the roaring twenties (New York, 1927), during the depth of the depression (Kansas, 1939), amidst the chaos and ruins of World War II (France, 1948), in the giddy post-war recovery (San Jose, 1954), the tumultuousness of the sixties (Boulder, 1968), the wildness of the seventies (Ann Arbor, 1974).
You will read of couples who met in line waiting for a table at a restaurant (1940), on blind dates (1946, 1955, 1992), at a singles group (1975), a summer teen retreat (1977), on a massage table (1980), during a blizzard on a volcano (1982), on the Great Peace March (1986), on an Indian Reservation (1989), and those who met via the personal ads (1986) and cyberspace (1999).
During my interviews, I asked all the couples two questions. First, was it love at first sight? Asking this question opened up the conversation and released an innocence, a playfulness, a deep connection, that was a joy to behold. These people have found a way to keep the early magic from fading, to keep a flame alive. I witnessed this flame time and again. As I listened to stories unfold, I became party to an excitement that was, in some cases, over 70 years old.
I then asked couples to share any advice or tips they may have learned to staying together, and here is where the lessons of time became evident. I expected th