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February 1, 2005 > A Valentine's Day tribute

A Valentine's Day tribute

Lasting love, unending love

by Praveena Raman

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


-----William Shakespeare

Love is defined as a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person. This emotion has been explored and described through the ages in great literary works throughout the world in all cultures and in all languages. Romantic love traditionally has been love between two people of the opposite sex and has from ancient times blossomed after a union or marriage. Historically, the steps leading to this love have been a meeting, often arranged, courtship or getting to know phase, then marriage and finally love emerging from a spark of attraction that probably began at the meeting stage. In various cultures the trend at present has shifted from arranged meetings to meeting on one's own and a greater emphasis is being placed on love before marriage. Also in cultures where arranged marriages are still prevalent the trend has been shifting to arranged meetings leading to marriage. Even with these changes, knowingly or unknowingly, the steps leading to marriage are still the same, meeting followed by courtship. Below are stories from several Tri-City couples on how they met.

College Love
Often when you hear stories of romance, the boy meets girl stage happens in the couple's youth during school and thus it happened to Amy and Steve Cho. Amy had moved in her sophomore year at college to St. Louis to her grandmother's house after her father passed away. One evening she and her sister went at her grandmother's request to a church dinner where she met Steve. Steve was a senior at Washington University where Amy was a sophomore. Both of them majored in Mathematics. A few days later Steve came upon Amy in school studying under the staircase. He was amused at her choice of place and came to talk to her. During the conversation he asked her if he and a friend could come over and play ping pong at Amy's place. "My sister and I thought we would beat them at ping-pong," said Amy with a smile. "Little did we [Amy and her sister] know that Steve's friend was the NCAA champion for ping-pong. We got whipped by them at the game." Soon after that Steve asked Amy out on a date and their courtship began. They found they had a lot of things in common besides mathematics and their interest in each other grew. However at the end of the school year Steve graduated and had to go back to Los Angeles where his family lived and Amy stayed on to continue her studies. They decided to keep in touch without any promises. Steve went on to earn a Masters Degree and started working for Pacific Telephones. During her senior year, Amy got the opportunity to start work on her Masters thesis and was able to finish her Masters Degree one year after her undergraduate degree. Steve and Amy's long distance relationship grew stronger and right after Amy's graduation they got married after a four year courtship and settled in Fremont. The spark that fanned out into a bright flame has been burning for them for the past 30 years.

Politics and Multicultural Love
Politics played a big part in David and Theresa Bonaccorsi's life for many years. In 1989 David met Theresa's aunt during the Dukakis campaign. One day when he was walking the precinct, Theresa's aunt saw David and invited him over to her daughter's baby shower. David who loves parties accepted the invitation. It was at that party that he first met Theresa. Theresa who had grown up in the Philippines came to the U.S. through her grandmother, Pura, who lived in Fremont. A few days after the party David saw Theresa's aunt in the parking lot of the building where he lived and asked her where Theresa lived and if he could take her out. He found out that she lived with her grandmother in an apartment in the opposite building. Soon, with a little help from her grandmother David started courting Theresa and two years later they decided to get married. "Theresa's Catholic background was the common thread," said David. "That sparked our interest in each other." They were married at Mission Santa Clara in a multicultural ceremony. "We wore traditional Filipino attire. David wore the Barong Tagalog while I wore the Marie Clare style of Spanish dress," said Theresa. "The service and songs were in Tagalog, Italian, English, Dutch and Latin." David and Theresa live in Fremont and will be celebrating their 14 wedding anniversary on May 11.

Second Chance at Love
It was during David and Theresa's marriage ceremony that another romance was sparked between David's grandfather, Lionel Spratling and Theresa's grandmother, Pura. The Offertory in their wedding ceremony was given by Lionel who had just become a widower and Pura who had been a widow for 10 years. Lionel and Pura started dating soon after the wedding. Their courtship ended in marriage six months later. Theresa's grandmother moved into Lionel's home in Newark and both lived extremely happily for two years until Lionel passed away. Pura, who still lives in Newark, recently celebrated her 80th birthday.

Arranged Love
Sometimes meetings are arranged. This is the case of Arathi and Satish. Both hail from India where arranged marriages are still prevalent. Arranged marriages are actually a union of two families and the parents take on the responsibility of making sure of the compatibility between the families and the girl and the boy. After that, the couple meets and get to know each other (courtship phase) before actually deciding to get married. Once Arathi and Satish's families had confirmed that their families would get along well they started the "getting to know each other" phase. It was not that easy for the young couple as Satish was in Los Angeles and Arathi was in Bangalore. They exchanged photographs of each other and started a two and a half month long distance courtship by telephone, exchanging information about their interests and hobbies. "Marriages they say are made in heaven but ours was made by AT&T," laughed Satish. At the end of the two and a half months Arathi and Satish decided to get married. Satish went to Bangalore a month before the wedding and they spent all their waking hours with each other, going out on dates and just being together. "Even though our meeting was arranged it was definitely my choice," said Arathi. "If suppose something had not been right when I finally met Satish, I could still have said no to the wedding. As it stands I am glad we got married. It has been 14 beautiful years together."

Cyberlove
Art and Joan Kimber have certainly kept up with the times. About eight years ago Art, who was in his 70s, met Joan through an Internet chat room. They corresponded regularly with each other, exchanging information and exploring their common interests. "Art has a real sense of humor," said Joan smiling. "He told me he was a chicken farmer who lived in an old farmhouse." After four months, Art finally worked up his nerve to ask Joan if he could call her. At first Joan hesitated but decided that she could always change her number if things did not work out. Once he contacted her everything went well and they got married five years ago. Their common interest in music has been a strong force in their relationship. Art recently celebrated his 80th birthday and lives with Joan in Fremont.

A Love that was meant to be
Jeff Cox met his future bride, Laura, on the first day of orientation for new employees at Mervyn's department store at the NewPark Mall. He was 25 years old and she was 19. "We sat opposite to each other and caught each other's eye," said Jeff. "She reminded me of someone I had known in grade school." Jeff grew up in Fremont and Laura went to school in Union City. "She was eyeing me," said Jeff. "I could certainly see that she was interested. But I did not ask her out. I was too shy." Even though he did not ask her out, they started developing a friendship and ate lunch together at work. At this time Jeff began dating another woman who also worked at Mervyn's. One day, while having lunch with Laura, the person Jeff was dating at that time walked into the lunch room. As soon as he saw her, Jeff left Laura and walked over and started talking to his date. He did not realize he had done this at that time but Laura definitely took note and told him so later. After six months Jeff left Mervyn's for another job. He still had not asked Laura out. One day, a few weeks later, he came to Mervyn's to do some shopping. At the door he ran into Laura. They exchanged pleasantries and at the end of the conversation Jeff finally asked Laura out on date. That was truly the start of a long romance. Six months after they started going out with each other Jeff proposed to Laura and they were engaged. Two years later they married. They settled in Union City and will celebrate their 15 wedding anniversary on July 7.


I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times,
In life after life, in age after age forever.
My spell-bound heart has made and re-made the necklace of songs
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms
In life after life, in age after age forever.
Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
Its ancient tale of being apart or together,
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.
You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount
At the heart of time love of one for another.
We have played alongside millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love, but in shapes that renew and renew forever.
Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you,
The love of all man's days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life,
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours-
And the songs of every poet past and forever.


------'Unending love' by Rabindranath Tagore.
 
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