Will you marry me?

Before there's a wedding, there's usually an engagement. The Hook asked some well known locals to share their love stories, and we got an earful. From love at first sight, to broken fingers, to "prior engagements," the tales that follow demonstrate that you just never know when love will find you.


Rob and Joan Schilling

 Mutual friends introduced Rob and Joan, but the relationship almost didn't happen. "I called her the next day," Rob recalls, "but I didn't hear back from her for two weeks." Just when he'd given up, Joan called (one of her brothers hadn't passed along his message). After dating for three and a half years, Rob proposed on Santa Catalina Island off the Southern California coast.

"I wrote a special song called 'Love Story' for the event," he says. "I put it in my 'bag of tricks' with a bottle of champagne, and we went for a walk along the beach. We walked out on a large stone breakwater, and then I poured us each a glass of champagne, put headphones on her, and played my song. After it was done, I proposed." Her affirmative answer was a very good thing. "If she'd said no," Schilling laughs, "I told her she was going to have to swim back."


Terri Allard and Dwayne Evans

 "We met in a bar years before we were married," Allard says. "He was booking bands; I was the chick singer." When Allard first saw Evans, she says, "I thought he was just gorgeous." But unfortunately, she was living with someone else at the time. They developed a friendship, but the timing was never right each continued in other relationships, and they lost touch.

Then one night, after several years apart, Allard recalls, she was sitting in Miller's listening to "Ticket Back" when Evans walked in.

"Finally we hooked up," she says. The pair started dating in February, 1991, and that August, after one of Allard's shows, they went out to Switzer's Dam in Harrisonburg. Evans popped out a present a ring and presented it. The next May, they were married. Eleven years later, the two are still making music together, and they now have a two-year-old son, Will.


Bill Moses and Patricia Kluge

 Fate had love in store for Patricia Kluge, who met her third husband, Bill Moses, at a board meeting for New York's Tisch School of the Arts. While Kluge is a board member, Moses had only agreed to sit in for a board member friend who couldn't make the meeting. As Moses' daughter Kristen describes, "It was love at first sight for them."

One year to the day after the couple's first kiss in the Albemarle House rose garden, Moses proposed to Kluge with a stunning sapphire and diamond ring. Though he didn't get down on one knee, Kristen says, "In every other way, it was a traditional proposal."


Mitch and Betty Van Yahres

 "You'll have to talk to my wife about that," laughs Mitch Van Yahres when asked about his engagement. "I can't remember."

But Betty Van Yahres remembers it well. "We were both students at Cornell," she recalls. "We'd eat at the Homemade Cafeteria, and my roommate told me she'd met a really nice guy who'd be perfect for me." When Betty met Mitch, it soon became clear that her roommate was right.

"We didn't go together very long, but we knew we were going to get married," she says. At Christmas, Mitch presented Betty with a ring that had already made the family rounds. Mitch's brother had been engaged, but he and his fiancĂ©e had broken up. Mitch– who was working making set designs for the drama department– and Betty– then a graduate student working on her degree in plant pathology, "were very poor," Betty says. So Mitch's brother gave him the ring, and Mitch promptly proposed. The two were married the following August, and the second time was the charm for that ring.

"That's the ring I have now," says Betty.


Tim and Robin Longo

 "We met on September 28, 1985," Chief of Police Tim Longo recalls. His wife, Robin, was a patient registrar at a hospital in Baltimore, and Longo had injured his finger playing football that day. He went for an x-ray, and the two ended up talking for "two or two-and-a-half" hours. They exchanged numbers, Longo called her the next day, and they met for breakfast. Alas, there was more to the story. "I was already engaged to someone else," says Longo.

But not for long-o.

The wedding had already been postponed once, and the relationship was rocky. Longo called his then-betrothed and asked to meet with her. She replied, "You don't love me anymore," hung up, and the two never spoke again. Just before Christmas less than three months after their fateful meeting Longo proposed to Robin at The Great American Melting Pot restaurant.

But the proposal also caught the attention of someone other than Longo's intended. Three years after his September, 1986 wedding, Longo made an arrest in the Melting Pot for a "relatively minor but embarrassing" charge. At the station, the perp asked Longo to say hello to Robin. It seems he'd watched Longo propose and had never forgotten it. "We just laughed about that," Longo says.


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