Friday, February 11, 2005
Encounters with Cupid for Valentine's Day
It seemed like a great idea when we started tossing it around at a staff luncheon last summer — write about different couples in Carlisle and how they met each other. It turned out to be much harder once we put an appeal in the paper for people to contact us with their stories. We had visions of the article being a model of micro-diversity: young couples, old couples, gay couples, interracial couples. What we discovered is that people are a lot more publicity-shy than we had thought, at least when it comes to their love lives.
We heard stories about clambakes and ski trips, a woman who dropped a transistor radio on her future husband's head during a transatlantic flight (items in the overhead bin had indeed shifted!), a student who married a favorite professor, and an amazing chance encounter over the day lilies at the Seawrights' farm (to which the moral is, use a personal check rather than cash whenever possible). But they all happened to people who did not want their names in the paper at least in the context of their encounters with Cupid. Fortunately, when asked, a few couples bashfully came forward to share their own romantic tales. We hope these stories bring you a touch of Valentine's cheer!
Margaret Baltz Darling of West Street and her husband, Eric, are both avid musicians. So it seems fitting that Eric unknowingly wooed his future wife in the manner of a Siren, with flute melodies. Margaret tells the story.
"I was a graduate student at the New England Conservatory, working as an au pair for a young family who lived in a row house on Mission Hill in Roxbury. During that time, I often heard the sounds of a flute drifting through the walls of the kitchen. When I graduated and my commitment to the family ended, I moved into the fourth-floor apartment in the house next door, and took on a job as supervisor in the building, to help out with the rent.
"As it turned out, it was Eric I had been hearing through the walls, playing his baroque flute. He lived on the first floor of the building I'd moved into. We soon found ourselves going to concerts together and sharing our recordings, our love of baking whole-grain bread, and more and more common interests. He and I also shared the supervisory duties of the building, which amounted to minor repairs and regular communication with the owners.
"As winter came on, the cost of heating the building became an increasingly troublesome issue. I was a new hire at the Longy School of Music, at the bottom of their pay scale, and Eric was still painting houses and driving cabs prior to becoming assistant manager of Community Boating on the Charles. We were both paying off student loans. We weren't exactly rolling in dough.
"Eric's apartment on the ground floor was always cold, but mine was always toasty. Soon Eric was spending more and more time upstairs, and after a while we agreed that it was time to give up that cold place entirely and share our cozy nest at the top."
Back in the 1970s, Gail (Copeland) MacLeod and her husband Craig were teenagers here in town with only a passing acquaintanceship with each other. Then in 1992, Craig, recently divorced and the custodial parent of three small children, moved back to Carlisle to live with his mother, Cynthia. Knowing that Gail — who was also recently divorced and had three young children — ran a preschool out of her Lowell Street home, Cynthia suggested that Craig contact Gail regarding childcare.
"Craig enrolled his daughter Hope at the preschool," Gail explains. "Hope was two, the same age as my son Ryan. We'd see each other briefly when he dropped Hope off at the school, but I never thought anything of it. But then his older daughter Ellen and my daughter Emily, who were in middle school together, became good friends, and Craig and I were always dropping off the girls at each other's houses. So we'd sit down for coffee and talk a little bit.
"One day, I told Craig he should start dating again. In fact, there was a single woman living next door to his mother, so I suggested he ask her out. He did — and left the kids with me during their date! Nothing much developed from that, but we ended up talking often about how hard it was to meet people. And then one day he suggested we go out to dinner together! I had never even thought about dating him. But we started going out once in a while, and often we'd take all our kids places together."
In November of 1995, Gail and Craig took the kids to New York to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. "We did 'the Brady Bunch' thing," Gail says. "I had one hotel room with my three kids, and he had another hotel room with his three kids." Unbeknownst to Gail at the time, for Craig the weekend was a series of failed attempts to propose to her. "He'd planned to propose in a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park," she says. "He wanted to rent one carriage for all the kids and one for the two of us. When I heard about that idea, I said there was no way we could spend $200 on carriage rides! Then he planned to propose at the top of the Statue of Liberty, but the ring set off the metal detector as we went through security there and he had to show it to the guard without me seeing. He was so flustered by the time we all got to the top that that didn't work out either." In the end, the two of them with all six kids returned from New York unengaged. The next night, Craig took Gail to dinner at Top of the Hub in the Prudential Building. "We were looking at the twinkling lights below and I said that they looked like diamonds," she concludes the story. "So he said, 'Well, how do you feel about real diamonds?' and took out the ring!"
Bearfield and Emerson
Larry Bearfield of North Road reflects on his earliest encounters with his wife, Robin Emerson. The couple's relationship was professional for many years before it segued into a personal alliance. These days, their joint role as co-proprietors of Ferns Country Store requires them to maintain a strong personal and professional bond, day in and day out.
"I first met Robin in 1982 when I'd been hired as director of communications for a high-tech consumer products company whose advertising was handled by the agency that Robin owned. As part of the firm's growth strategy, I was hired to bring the marketing to the next level, which meant Robin would no longer be working directly with the president. Hence, when we first met, I sensed a strong undercurrent of annoyance directed at me, although if you ask Robin, she'll tell you that I was the one who was a bit snobbish and proved to be somewhat of a challenge. She likes to say that it took her a while to mold me. In time, we developed a terrific working relationship; we merged with a PR firm, became Burnieika Bearfield Emerson, and handled a number of interesting accounts, including Loon Mountain, Wal-Mart, and Cellular One.
"Robin always managed the businesses and I directed the creative process. Later, when the industry ceased to be fun, we consolidated our efforts and worked out of our home. We took a breather in '97 to merge our personal lives as well when we got married at our home in Carlisle on a brilliant June day.
"All these years later, we are still running a business together. Suffice it to say, you can't be business partners as well as life partners without having established a relationship built on respect and admiration for one another's strengths and qualities. We each have our individual roles to play and we give each other the room to practice what we're good at. We each recognize that the sum of our parts is far, far greater than our individual abilities. We work. On all levels."
© 2005 The Carlisle Mosquito