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Valentine’s Day sprouts love stories

You can’t go home again:
A love story about Sierra Madre
By Former Sierra Madre Resident
Last month I went back to Sierra Madre and home. At least I tried to, with my brothers and sister, the four remaining Maloney kids. Sierra Madre’s claim on the signs leading into the village is “Home of the World’s Largest Wistaria Vine.” And it’s true–something like 2. all from one vine; We-all A!XEwonder-if-they still serve tea to old ladies who come to enjoy the colorful scene.
We plan to meet at the Malt Shop on Baldwin, right next to the Christian Science Reading Room and across the street from Hartman’s Pharmacy. Instead of those landmarks from our youth, we now find a slick Shell gas station and Quikie Mart. Still no traffic light in the village, though, probably the Only L.A. suburb without one. We decide to walk up Baldwin from the village, up the long, steep, road which turns out, to be not steep and no more difficult: that an ordinary stroll for us seniors. We pass the Episcopal Church and its arbor: with vine-covered benches that invited us to “Come, ye, apart, and rest a while.” That used to mark the half-way mark up to Alegria Street and home. Grandma Slight’s Victorian Gingerbread house on the corner of Laurel Street still manages to stand, but barely. Up ahead is St. Rita’s, our parish church, and the four-classroom two-story school we attended from first – eighth grade. We laugh remembering how Sister Mary Richard, brown habit flying, used to chase after Johnny Clark across Baldwin when the first-grader had enough of school and wanted to go home. He never outran her.
We pass the church in silence, each remembering private thoughts, satisfied to keep walking rather than try for a quick “visit” that at one time promised “time off’ in Purgatory. Now Alegria, 15 East Alegria , is in full view as we pass the school building. 15 East Alegria, Home. But our home is not there! My eyes fill with tears and my sister hugs me. It can’t be! What are those duplexes, those modern looking condos doing on our home ground- We stop walking, speechless, and simply stare. ‘
I had even sent a postcard addressed to “Owner of 15 E. Alegria House,” three weeks beforehand, writing that I’d be visiting and hopeful of a peek inside.
My card was never answered. Now I reach into my purse and I finger the black and white photos taken during construction in 1938, photos meant to be a gift. There’s my room, right next to the five cement entry stairs, with the front window view of the school. Now it’s all gone.
It’s been only a month since our surprise visit and IA!XA!Xm, ( thoughts still race and a few tears still remind me that I’m ageing, that nothing last forever, that you “can’t go home again” but sometimes at night I pretend to walk the familiar rooms of 15 East Alegria and I feel happy and safe and content.

My Valentine
By Eugene R. Webb
With my Valentine we don’t always agree;
But she sure means the world to me.
We’ve been married for over 65 Years;
We’ve had a lot of fun, laughter, and a few tears.
Our life is a bowl of cherries with pits along the way;
We’ve stuck together like glue, loving more each day.
It was way back in Junior High that we first met;
I know for me there has never been any regret.
I should tell you I am a human and not a toad;
Therefore, everyone knows there’s bumps in the road.
But my Valentine is very thoughtful, loving, and kind;
Not only to me, but always has others on her mind.
When I first noticed her, it was the red hair I did see;
And I found her to be a people person, just like me.
I appreciate my wonderful wife like no other;
She’s my friend as well as an excellent mother.
We both count our blessings that money can’t buy;
Loving life, God, and family is for us a big high.
We’re happy living in the golden age, one day at a time;
Looking forward to a free dinner with my Valentine.
I’m so grateful that cupid shot his arrow in my heart;
And that Aileen and I took the vow to never part.
I love my wife more today than even yesterday;
We’ll be together until the man above has his way.


A whole lotta love at One Colorado
ItA!XA!Xs ValentineA!XA!Xs season and thereA!XA!Xs a lot of love at One Colorado Old Pasadena.
ValentineA!XA!Xs giveaways and a super sweet way to tell your Valentine how much you care.
One Colorado wants to be your Valentine. And shower you with gifts! There will be three lucky winners for three great date-night prizes from One ColoradoA!XA!Xs stores, restaurants and iPic Theater.
ValentineA!XA!Xs giveaways include:
-Outfits for you & your sweetie
-Dinner at One Colorado + iPic movie tickets for two
-A gift certificate to your most loved One Colorado store/restaurant
Enter at One Colorado merchants displaying the One Colorado heart or A!X!!OLike Us-on Facebook and post on our A!X!!OBe Our Valentine-event page.
Exhibit some PDA at OC! Leave your ValentineA!XA!Xs wishes or secret longings on our A!X!!OHeart Strings-in the Courtyard. Pens and hearts provided.
ThereA!XA!Xs a special gift for the person with the most romantic story.
And share the love – # OneColorado #Heartstrings
Keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Pintrist pages!
Contest details at OneColorado.com and on our Facebook page. Deadline to enter is 2/13 at noon. Winners announced 2/14 via Facebook and Twitter. One entry per person.
One Colorado – 41 Hugus Alley, Pasadena.


I found the love of my life in another country
Since I was a little girl, in Colombia where I was born, my grandma used to tell me that there is a person for any one of us, the love of our life and someday I would find him. Well, in 1997, when I was 20 years old, and I was in my first year of college in Colombia, I decided to go back to a military base where I had lived as a child. My dad is a Colombian Air Force Veteran, so I expended most of my childhood and teenage years living in different places, even in America.
It was the spring break and for some weird reason I decided to go back to that place, I had the feeling that something special was going to happen. So, I traveled for a few hours with my siblings and I arrived to the military base called Apiay in a city called Villavicencio in Colombia. When I got there, I was able to get in the base and I went for a walk. While I was walking through the base, I saw this young looking white boy, with thick eyebrows and brown hair. I thought to myself that man is gorgeous. Later, I saw him with a group of people barbecuing, I immediately assumed they were Americans and I asked them some stuff in English, he realized I spoke English and smiled.
Later he came to me, introduced himself and we became friends, I left the base and I promised I would come back again, I came back two days later, he was waiting for me, we kissed and talk for hours about our lives and the future. He was in the USA military and I was in college. Later I had to leave to go back go to college, I didnA!XA!Xt want to leave him, but I thought it was pointless to stay and to get to know better a man that was not going to stay in Colombia. I remember the last thing I told him, was I never going to see you again, and he said to never said never, time is unpredictable.
While we were together, he gave me a paper with his name and a Mountain Dew soda. I kept the paper and the soda can for years. As matter of fact, after 17 years, I still have them. A few years later, I decided to look for him. I never forget him. In fact, he made me feel so special that I decided that I was going to find him.
After 3 years of looking on the Internet, I found him on line, I sent him and E mail, telling who I was, he remembered me but he was married. It broke my heart when I found out, and I decided to move on.
However, when the September 11 attacks happen, I wrote him back to wish him good luck in case, he was going to be deployed in Afghanistan. I was worried about a married man I hadnA!XA!Xt seen in years. I was living in Colombia, thousands of miles away from him, but I was scared that something could happen to him. He wrote me back and asked me to not write him back again. So, I did.
But a year later, I checked my e-mail and found an e-mail from him with the subject: Hi, can we talk-
I read the e-mail and he told me that he had gotten a divorce and wanted to know me better. I was thrilled. I knew it was destiny. I felt in my heart that he was the person for me.
We started an online relationship. I remember people used to laugh of me, but I didnA!XA!Xt care. We communicated through phone calls, chats, messaging, etc. Later he came to see me and met my parents. He wanted me to leave Colombia to be with him but my dad told me that he wanted to meet him first. So, he met my family, and told my parents we wanted to get married. We had already started the process for a visa, but because of some issues, and my Colombian nationality, the fianc-visa application was denied after waiting for a year. So, we decided to get married. We got married on May 29 of 2004, but again I had to wait another year to be with him. It was so painful to be away from each other. I remember how I hated to go to airport with him to say good bye. I still get tears in my eyes, every time I remember.
In May 13 of 2005, a year after we got married, I arrived to Michigan to be with the Love of My Life. I left everything I ever knew, my family, my friends, and my lifeA!XKI started a new life in America and I have never been happier, I have been living in Michigan for almost 9 years and I have two children. I believe we are predestined to be with a person, the love of our life.
Liliana Ospina-Herbstreith


It’s never too late
By Lida Bushloper
I started going to lunch at the Sierra Madre Senior Center after I retired. I was working on my first book of poetry and just needed a convenient, healthy meal. I didnA!XA!Xt go for the social aspects, as I was focused on my work. But of course everyone was very nice. There were single ladies, single men, and several married couples. I usually sat at one congenial table, but one day there was no room and I moved to another table. I ended up sitting next to Bill Robinson. He had lost his wife of 60 years several years previously, but I never gave it another thought. To me he was just one of the regulars at the table. After several weeks of pleasant chats, you could have knocked me over with a feather when he asked me to dinner. Of course, I said A!X!!ONo.- I had been divorced a long time, but right then my book was the only thing I cared about. I was not interested in being distracted by any kind of new relationship. Besides, I didnA!XA!Xt like him. Hey, IA!XA!Xm not telling you anything he doesnA!XA!Xt already know! But my neighbor, who had met him, kept pushing me to go out with him. A!X!!OJust try it once,-she said, A!X!!Oyou donA!XA!Xt have to go again if you donA!XA!Xt have a good time.- I wasnA!XA!Xt convinced, but Bill was persistent. He seemed more amused than hurt by my refusals. He kept asking me to dinner and I kept saying A!X!!Ono.- I kept saying A!X!!Ono-until finally he whipped up a batch of lasagna in his kitchen and brought me some in Tupperware. I guess he figured if I wouldnA!XA!Xt go to dinner with him, he would just have to bring dinner to me! After a few months, after heA!XA!Xd frequently made me laugh out loud, after IA!XA!Xd begun to see how intelligent, good-natured and decent he was, after he spent all his time showing me how interested he was in me and my work, I finally agreed to go out for coffee. It stayed at the coffee level for another few months. Still, more and more I found myself looking forward to seeing him. We talked for hours. A few actual dates followed. We spent a delightful Easter, soaring in gliders over the desert. When he took a solo trip to Italy, I was surprised at how much I missed him. By the time he returned, I realized I was in love. Finally, the book was at the printer, and he took me out to celebrate. For a few weeks, we went out to dinner every night, while my kitchen was being remodeled. This may have been more than he had in mind when he made that first offer. Since he had helped plan and supervise the renovations, my home soon felt like it was as much his as mine. He moved in that fall. As we all know, relationships are always moving in one direction or the other, and ours moved the right way. We were married last May at my sisterA!XA!Xs farm in Florida. We still eat lunch at the Senior Center most days, only now as newly-weds!


A Mother’s Love Story
By Megan Giles
Come February 14, 2014, I will have been truly, madly, and deeply head over heels in love for exactly 1,564 days, 13 hours and 9 minutes.
ItA!XA!Xs easy to remember such details like this when A!X!!Othe one-has finally come into your life. Details like our first movie date (Pirates of the Caribbean 4), our first Christmas ( I went traditional and gave him pajamas as one of his gifts), the first time he told me he loved me (even if it was almost two years after the first time I told him). When you have found A!X!!Othe one- every memory is a fabulous detail in the book of life.
They say falling in love happens when you least expect it. That it happens for a reason. It happens when you need it most. When you fall in love, you truly have let yourself be open and vulnerable.
Love can be tricky; it is a A!X!!Odecision to have a piece of your heart walk around outside of your body.-
I used to fall asleep at night dreaming of what the love of my life would be like… Would he be smart, kind, loving- Would he be tall, athletic, and handsome- Would he make me proud every day to call him mine- Would I make him proud every day- Will he wipe away my tears- Would I be tough enough to wipe away his- When he disappoints me, will I be forgiving enough to accept him for everything he is, and everything i know he can be- When he gets angry, will I be able to calm him- When he is hurt will I be able to easily listen to all of his pain- When he doesnA!XA!Xt make the team, will I be poised enough to tell him Michael Jordan got cut from high school basketball as well- Will I remember to give him all the advice that my parents and grandmother gave me-
Most importantly, when he falls in love and celebrates his first ValentineA!XA!Xs day with someone else, will I be strong enough to be happy for him- Will I be selfless enough to let him start his own traditions- Going to lunch and the Long Beach Aquarium with your mom every year can only be so cool, for so long, really.
Happy 5th ValentineA!XA!Xs day, my sweet blonde hair, blue eyed, Broderick. My heart, my soul, my son. You will forever be my most favorite Valentine.

Where art thou, Catherine
By Catherine Adde
The man waiting for me stood at the end of the long hall in the airport arrivals area holding up a sign that said A!XA!XWherefore Art Thou, Catherine–Good thing too, I would not have recognized him, since this was long before social mediaA!XA!Xs photo posts, and I had only met him briefly by chance a couple of years previous.-In any case, I thought it was an exceedingly romantic thing to be holding up this sign for all the world and me to see. Especially given his British reserve.
My flight from Los Angeles to London was 15 hours late, the plane developed engine difficulties over the Atlantic, and turned back to Newark. We, the bedraggled passengers, then waited for a new crew/aircraft to arrive while we schlepped around the airport for what seemed an eternity. Fortunately my airport lounge pass allowed entree into a quiet world (sans screaming babies and hari krishnas) where I could freshen up hoping to appear less frazzled when he met me. (My thoughts: a potential suitor-) Looking back, it could have been a travel horror story, however it turned out well and I bless that Pilot who made his decision and the new Pilot too who ferried me over the water, landing safely so I could meet my new Love.
Only I didnA!XA!Xt know he was my Love yet because he was my Pen- pal.
We had exchanged long hand written letters by after meeting by chance two years previously at LAX.
(I asked him, a perfect stranger, to watch my bags while I went to get a Coffee)..another story and so, in our letters, I got to know his mind and heart, learning who he was inside, not what he looked like, drove, or made for a living. I shared my thoughts and values openly as well -after all, he was safely a world away. But then he invited me to come to England for my vacation.
And so, it began at LondonA!XA!Xs airport, and at the end of an arduous journey, stood this patient, kind (exhausted) man waiting for me. He was probably as tired as I was, having waited for countless hours where airline staff could only spout company policy, telling him the flight was delayed, there were problems, no further information. Also, in 1991, there was no ability to track flight status online. He waited fifteen hours, frustrated, A!XA!Xwherefore art thou-sign in hand, for his Juliet to arrive. Later re telling his version of things, he said he shook his fist in the air and said A!XA!XDonA!XA!Xt you dare take her–which I found rather ominous sounding; but made it my heart jump knowing he anticipated our future together as much as I had hoped for the same.
He was there for me then as he is still here for me now, twenty two years later. He metamorphosed from platonic Pen pal to my Fianc-during that magical April in England. It was a brilliant and dry spring, flowers blooming riotous colors, bees droning on, I didnA!XA!Xt seem to notice my allergies going full tilt. We discovered our love while sightseeing amongst the ancient stones, pastoral hillside villages and the historic Roman city of York, city of his childhood. I fell in love with his England as much as with him and returned home knowing that this Man would be my companion through lifeA!XA!Xs journeyA!XKand beyond.

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