19 romantics pen stories

Published 4:04 pm Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pat and Carl Siler

Valentine’s Day will be a bittersweet one for 64-year-old Pat Siler, of Eau Claire.

Siler’s husband, Carl, passed away from cancer in 2006. They had been married for 44 years.

There isn’t a day that goes by that Pat doesn’t think about the man that stole her heart almost half a century ago.

“I loved him to the day he died and I love him still,” Pat said. “He was my life.”
Pat is one of 19 people who submitted a love story to Leader Publications’ love story contest.
Pat’s story about the day she met Carl received the most votes and was declared the winning entry. She will receive a dinner for two at Farmhouse Bakery in Vandalia.
Every time Pat goes into town she has to drive by the cemetery where her husband is buried. She always stops to pay Carl a visit.

“I loved his mind. He was so intelligent. He started out like most of us, very poor, but he pulled up his bootstraps and wound up running his own well-drilling business,” Pat said.

“We ran it out of our home and I was his secretary for 33 years.”

On their 42nd anniversary, Carl got down on one knee and asked Pat to marry him once again.

“It was so special because when we got married he never proposed and never told me that he loved me. He called it (our 42nd anniversary) my anniversary of nots — I did not do this, I did not do that. He wanted to make up for it,” Pat said.

Pat and Carl had two daughters together. Pat said Carl was a wonderful father to them both.

Second place: Ronald Fazi

Ronald Fazi believes his wife is a gift from God.

The 33-year-old Dowagiac man had just gotten out of a “terrible relationship” when he turned to the church for guidance.

He prayed often for God to find him a wife because “I am no good at picking women.”

He left the search strictly in God’s hands, not going on a date for more than two years.

That’s when a friend told Fazi she had the right girl for him.

When Ronald met Jami, of Dowagiac, for the first time in August 2011, he had a good feeling about her.

The two were married Feb. 4 at Hope Community Church in Niles.

“The way I see it, if God wanted her to be my wife I would’ve met her sooner or later, but I’m glad I met her sooner rather than later,” Ronald said. “God is good. That is all I can tell you.

I know he wants me to be happy now.”

For finishing second in the contest, the Fazis will receive a $25 gift certificate to the Olive Branch in Granger.

Third place: Melissa Corwin

Melissa Corwin, 26, of Niles, met Thomas Foreman, 20, by chance in an online role-playing game called RuneScape.

They began chatting as friends at first in 2006, but that friendship grew into something more in 2009 when they started dating.

Since then, the two have had a son and have taken trips together to Texas and Chicago. They have a new puppy, an English bulldog/pug mix.

They got engaged and will be married sometime in the future.

“We mesh and balance each other out so well,” Corwin said. “The qualities I lack he has. We have patience for each other and a lot of people don’t have that. We communicate really well, which is so important.”

For finishing third in the contest, Melissa and Thomas will receive a bottle of wine.

First Place Essay: “Love Came Walking”


My long curly brown hair bounced on my shoulders in time with the rock ‘n’ roll music I shared with my older sophisticated 19-year-old neighbor.

Under the watchful eye of my mother and our surrounding neighbors I felt something stir in me as I danced with this young man with sun tanned skin, smoldering brown eyes, and jet black hair.

For me nothing else existed on that beautiful sunlit day.

A hail from the bottom of my fenced in yard brought the dancing to a stop as Jimmy and I turned to greet this stranger. My breath caught in my throat as I viewed this tall rangy boy who stood looking me up and down with interest. His slicked back D.A. stood glistening in the sunlight against a silk white shirt with a red velvet collar. His black pants hung loosely around his legs. His head never turned as he spoke to Jimmy, but he never took his eyes off of me. I was fascinated by this stranger.

He was unlike anything I had ever met before. He was someone from the wrong side of the tracks.

As the conversation ended and Carl turned to go, I stood watching him walk away. It occurred to me that I might never see him again, and suddenly I felt a very deep sadness.

The fascination I held for Jimmy was gone.

That evening I said to my mom, “That Carl is the man I am going to marry someday.”

“Over my dead body,” she replied.

Carl and I were married on a lovely August day, and we spent the next 44 years together.

Second Place Essay: “Love From a Higher Power”


Jami and Ronald Fazi

I had just gotten out of a terrible relationship. As a last resort I started going to church because nothing else I tried had ever made me happy.

I accepted Jesus Christ. I prayed, I’m no good at picking women for myself so I will be patient and let the Lord pick one for me.

As a single dad of a 5-year-old boy I had plenty of other things to keep my mind off of the wrong women.

Two years later I volunteered to coach my son’s T-ball team (something I didn’t want to do).

It’s funny how sometimes the things you want to do the least turn out to actually be gifts from God. One of the parents on the team kept asking me what kind of woman I was looking for and I wasn’t looking so I told her I guess I really didn’t know. I told her, “I guess I want someone who is fun and I can talk to and wants to just take it day by day and see where it goes — no promises, no commitment and one day at a time.”

She kept telling me about this young woman she worked with. I kept putting it off and telling her no I wasn’t looking for anyone. And finally in August she talked me into meeting her.

So on Aug. 4 we met and I was speechless. There is only one word to describe my first impression of Jami:  breathtaking.

She is everything I have ever wanted in a woman. She’s beautiful, sweet, loving, smart and a wonderful mother for my son. We are getting married Feb. 4, 2012.

The Lord has answered my prayers and given me the woman of my dreams and then some.

All I had to do is be patient. This to me is undeniable proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy, and Jami has made me the happiest man in the world.

Third Place Essay: “Farm Boy Meets City Girl”


Thomas and Melissa Corwin

I met the love of my life in the most random way. To everyone else Thomas was just pixels on a online game we played called RuneScape.

He held my spirits high through a heart-wrenching choice I had made. I had filed for divorce and felt lost and unsure of the road ahead.

He talked to me on the game and lifted my spirits when I had lost all faith. I was not looking for love … I feared bringing the wrong man home because I have young impressionable daughter.

He invited me to a party at his home two hours from the town I live in. Deciding some single fun might get my head straight I agreed to come. He was shy in person, down-to-earth. The typical case of farm boy meets city girl.

An unexpected spark showered us that day. The party was great his friends were all very kind and welcoming, but the day after the party I dreaded the thought of leaving this small town and the people whom I had just met. I left that night not knowing what, if anything, would become of us.

We kept in touch on our game and by phone. Started swapping weekends as to who would drive to who. He took me to Texas to meet his mom.

Thomas moved to my town to be with me, leaving everything behind.

Shortly after visiting Texas we discovered I was pregnant with his son.

Thomas proposed to me three months before our son arrived. It was a cold winter night. He led me from the car to the dam and knelt in the snow. It was beautiful. He is such a wonderful man.

Thomas was once my mystery man behind the screen — now he is my knight in rusty armor and I’m his princess in peasant’s clothing (we like to kid). He is a great father, friend and lover.

This April it will be three years since that leap of faith and I have to say I’m so happy to have made that trip. I didn’t believe in fairy tales —until now. How could I ask for a better happy ever after?