The Lerro – Bradley Story

November 28th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in In The News

Allison “Allie” Lerro and Robert “Reggie” Bradley, Jr. originally met in High School in 2001. They attended neighboring high schools in Sandusky and Castalia, Ohio. Allison went to Sandusky High School and graduated in 2004. Reggie went to Margaretta High School and graduated in 2005; they were both swimmers in high school and attended The University of Toledo. The two met up once again at a Homecoming event in 2008, this time at The University of Toledo. Allie was serving as Homecoming Commissioner and Reggie was a member of the spirit group Blue Crew. The two talked, went out for ice cream and a movie, and it was history from there. Allie went on to graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences with an English Literature degree in 2009 and Reggie graduated from the College of Business Administration with a degree in Accounting in 2010. The couple was also engaged in 2010, where they first met, the Margaretta High School swimming pool. They were married on September 24th 2011 in Sandusky, Ohio. They are both die hard Rockets fans, so much that their wedding colors just happened to be Midnight Blue and Gold. They did their University proud with a “Rocket” themed wedding that included members of the Blue Crew, a Rocket fan bus and even the fight song. The couple currently work in the Toledo area. Allie is an Admissions Advisor at Herzing University, and Reggie as an ACCEL Associate in management at PNC Bank. They still attend as many Rocket sporting events they can in their spare time, it’s as if they never left campus in the first place. All in all, we can truly say these two are Rocket Fanatics! And they will definitely SEE YOU AT THE GAME!

Shannon Bauer and Harry Lerro met in 1975 on the 4th floor of Parks Tower. They were recent high school graduates and looking to move to the “big” city. Shannon graduated from Margaretta High School, in Castalia, Ohio in 1975 and Harry graduated from Mansfield Malabar High School, Mansfield Ohio, also, in 1975. They began their journey at the University of Toledo, in the Laundry Room of Parks Tower where they first met. They graduated in 1979; Shannon from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in Communication and Harry from University College with a degree in Sociology/Biology and Communication. He later went on to receive a degree in Allied Health and Respiratory Care and were married in 1983. Later, both were awarded Masters’ Degrees in Interpersonal Communication. Shannon spent the next 20 years in Toledo, on the radio, mainly with 92.5 Kiss FM as part of the original Breakfast Club. Harry worked in various Toledo area hospitals, mainly, Mercy Hospital. In 1993, they moved back to Shannon’s hometown of Sandusky, Ohio to be closer to family and start one of their own. They often come back to The University of Toledo, to attend Rocket sporting events and see their two daughters, Allison Lerro Bradley and Hannah Lerro, grow up in the Rocket tradition. Allison is a 2009 graduate of The University of Toledo and Hannah is just beginning her journey as a Rocket this year, as a freshman on campus. Shannon and Harry, both currently work as adjunct professors for local colleges but still remain true to their one and only Alma Mater! Go Rockets!


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Class Notes

November 28th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Class Notes


George Palovich (Ed ’60), Sun City, Ariz., was chosen — together with his colleague Janet Trisler with whom he operates TriPal Arts — as artist of the month for the Western States Arts Federation website. He also had a show, “TriPal Arts: Fifty Years of Ceramic Arts,” at Glendale Community College.

Millicent (Steva) Tropf (Ed ’61, A/S ’68) sends greeting from Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers, Fla. From their home on a deepwater canal, she writes, she and her husband Gordon can watch “the river dolphins and manatees swim up to our seawall.” Not surprisingly, both Tropfs have seriously taken up photography.



Larry Black (Bus ’82, MEd ’98), following 32 years as teacher and coach for Toledo Public Schools, most recently as Start High’s principal, accepted the position of principal at Leipsic (Ohio) Junior/Senior High School. He and his wife relocated to McComb.

Dave Sontag (Ed ’83, MEd ’88) was hired as director of athletics and recreation for Jefferson High School in Monroe, Mich., where until 2007 he was baseball coach for 23 seasons. He also taught journalism and English at the school for 21 years and served as a counselor.

Christa L. Luttmann (Ed ’84), Toledo, began working for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine as northwest Ohio regional director.

Duffield E. Milkie (A/S ’87, Law ’91), corporate vice president and general counsel for Cedar Fair LP, was elected to the board of directors of Firelands Regional Medical Center, Sandusky.


Karen D. Adinolfi (A/S ’92) was promoted to partner with law firm Roetzel & Andress, which includes 12 offices in three states and the District of Columbia. Working in their Akron office, she focuses on labor and employment litigation, regulatory compliance and union matters.

D. Chris Cook (Law ’92) was elected to serve a three-year term as District 10 representative on the board of governors of the Ohio State Bar Association. He practices with the Lorain firm of Giardini, Cook & Nicol LLC and serves as prosecutor for Sheffield Village, where he lives with his family.

Scott Messina (Bus ’93) was hired as director of human resources for Crown Battery Manufacturing Co. Inc., Fremont, bringing more than 15 years of experience in HR.

Jason Aslinger (Law ’96), Greenville, Ohio, was appointed judge for Darke County Probate/Juvenile Court by Gov. John Kasich in March.

Gregory O’Dell (Law ’96), Ann Arbor, brought 31 years of law enforcement experience to the University of Michigan when he became executive director for the department of public safety and the university’s chief of police.

James R. Carnes (Law ’98) joined the Toledo office of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP as a partner in the firm’s litigation practice group.


Gregory H. Wagoner (Law ’01) joined the Toledo office of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP as a partner in the firm’s litigation practice group.

Capt. Justin Shedron (A/S ’07) of the Ohio Army National Guard completed training on the UH-72 Lakota Helicopter — the Guard’s latest Medevac copter — in Grand Prairie, Texas. He’s slated to take command of a Medevac detachment located at the Akron-Canton regional Airport.

Jeff Moss (BusA ’09, Univ Coll ’11) accepted the position of network administrator with motion-control industry manufacturer Nook Industries Inc. in Cleveland.

Dane Theisen (Bus ’11) was the subject of an article in the Toledo Blade in August, profiling his, a website where UT students can buy or sell items, then complete their transactions at the UT Visitor Center in Rocket Hall. See

Marriages & unions

Marielle K. Vorherr (HHS ’05, HS ’07) & Brian J. Schmidt (Eng ’07). She’s a physical therapist for Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, he’s a civil engineer with Choice One Engineering, which has offices in Sidney and Loveland. Mason, Ohio.

T.J. Kiss (NRS ’08) & Amy M. Neff. He’s a registered nurse at Robinson Memorial Hospital. Fairlawn, Ohio.



Meredith (A/S ’02, MEd ’05) and Tom Blaine (Eng ’03) welcomed twins Caitlin Michelle and Caleb Matthew in April, joining big brother Jacob and the family in Sylvania.

Extended Notes

Ryan Hacker (MBA ’08) and Matt Aston (Bus ’99) have their heads in the clouds — it’s part of their business plan. Neighbors in Sylvania since 2005, they became business partners by transforming a casual backyard conversation into the company they launched last month. Their venture — TruePoint Scanning — will be of interest to anyone who works in building design and construction, since it utilizes 3D laser scanning technology to create point clouds, allowing clients to convert data into files readily imported into BIM (building information modeling) software — the technology many industry observers feel will replace CAD in design and construction.

“We see this as an exciting industry that is just beginning to gain momentum and become mainstream due to the culmination of hardware, software and computer technology,” says Hacker. “With the industry movement towards BIM, there will be a need for this type of technology to capture the vast amount of data that will be necessary to create these information models.”

The partnership builds on combined strengths, he adds: Aston is already an entrepreneur whose successful company, Ground Penetrating Radar Systems Inc. provides an immediate a national presence; Hacker, who until August worked for Signature Bank, brings strength in finance, sales and technology.

“Matt and I have been doing a significant amount of due diligence and feel strongly that there is a demand for this service,” Hacker says. “In addition, given Matt’s success as an entrepreneur, he will be able to guide us from the very beginning.”

Death Notices


Jack W. Galliers, Perrysburg, att. 1936-1941, Aug. 17 at 92.



Frances (Peirce) Hayman (Bus ’46), Tiffin, Aug. 6 at 87.

Donald C. Petrie (Bus ’46), Rome, Ohio, Aug. 10 at 88.

Mary C. (Stukey) Underwood (Ed ’49, MEd ’69), Swanton, July 28 at 83.



Carl W. Layman (Bus ’50), Toledo, Aug. 13 at 88.

Paul J. Weiss MD (A/S ’50), Aptos, Calif., July 25 at 83.

Jean L. (Lumley) Schultz (Ed ’52, MEd ’79), Monclova Twp., Aug. 16 at 81. Delta Delta Delta member.

Thomas M. Gill (Ed ’53), Elmira, Mich., Aug. 21 at 82.

Beatrice S. (Smirin) Greenberg (Ed ’54), Toledo, July 31 at 78. Alpha Beta Gamma member.

*Wayne E. Herkimer (Eng ’54), Millbury, Ohio, Aug. 10 at 79.

Leroy C. Herdman (Eng ’55), Springfield, Ohio, Aug. 9 at 93.


Charles D. Gibney, Geneva, Ill., att. 1960-1965, Feb. 18 at 68.

David Lanning, Toledo, att. 1960s, July 26 at 69.

Robert L. Stemmle (Bus ’65), Toledo, July 28 at 69.

Mary E. (Mosher) Gerken (MEd ’67), Toledo, July 27 at 90. She taught industrial hygiene classes at UT and MCO.

John J. Beck Sr. (A/S ’68), Petersburg, Mich., Aug. 12 at 95.

Terry K. Stevens (Ed ’69), Tecumseh, Mich., July 26 at 64.


Roger Preston (Law ’70), Fairport, N.Y., Dec. 30 at 65.

Edward J. Masar (A/S ’73, MBA ’83), Novi, Mich., Aug. 19 at 68.

Edwina G. (Mercer) Biel (UTCTC ’76, Univ Coll ’95, MEd ’07), Toledo, July 27 at 56. She was an adviser in the UT Student Success Center from 2001 to 2006.

Shirley J. (Minnis) Perkins (MEd ’76, Ed Spec ’77), Toledo, Aug. 9 at 83.

James F. Zaenger (Univ Coll ’77), Overland Park, Kan., July 18 at 63.


Michael A. Yanik MD (Res ’81), Maumee, Aug. 8 at 63. The plastic and reconstructive surgeon gained a reputation as an expert in the care of catastrophic burn and trauma injuries, and launched the area’s first tissue bank.

Cynthia M. (Holewinski) Hiszak (UTCTC ’84), Temperance, Mich., July 30 at 49.


Eric G. Saltzmann (Law ’95), Anderson, Ind., Aug. 4 at 42.

Debra R. Rickenberg (MEd ’97), Toledo, Aug. 3 at 54.


Tara L. (Yager) DeSantos, Toledo, a freshman in the UT Gateway program, Aug. 7 at 35.

Alexandria F. Winters, Toledo, a freshman in the UT Gateway program, Aug. 15 at 20.

Faculty, staff & friends

James H. Allen, Sylvania, July 29 at 62. He joined the UT in 2003 as a hall operations manager in Residence Life and later became manager of the Electrical Department, the position he held until 2010.

Terry L. Leazer, Sylvania, who was a mathematics instructor at UT in the ’80s and ’90s, Aug. 24 at 87.  

JoAnn “Babe” Stahl, Rossford, former MCO employee, July 28 at 70.

Melvin R. “Butch” Jahns, Toledo, Aug. 22 at 67. He joined UT staff in 1970 as a custodian, later becoming a store clerk in Purchasing and retiring in 2001 as a storekeeper in Maintenance Services.

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UT in The News

November 28th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in In The News

UTMC experts weigh in on drug shortages
Shortages of drugs used to treat cancer are a concern to both doctors and patients. UTMC staff discuss possible solutions with reporters from 13abc.

Crowd goes wild for new UT mascot
Rocksy made her debut at UT’s second annual Music Fest.

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Rocket Romances

November 28th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni

It’s as natural as the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, the tickle and the sneeze — people meet and fall in love at UT. Some months back, we issued a call for stories of romances with a UT setting, and were floored with the rush of responses. Charming, funny and romantic in turn, these are the kinds of love stories that need no Hollywood script. Thanks to everyone who shared their memories and photos!

Dorky but nice

We met in the fall of 2002; Tom was a freshman and I was a sophomore. He introduced himself, asked a bunch of questions and I couldn’t help but think, “Man, what a nice guy – but what a dork!’ So we stayed friends throughout the years. We were both very involved with campus activities and I would always run into him. We were not at all involved in the same activities, so everyone would always say, “How do you know Tom?”

In the spring 2005, Tom ran for Student Government president. I saw him around more and more, and noticed his ambition, intelligence and fortitude were really impressive. That spring, someone convinced me to come to a birthday party at Dorr St. Café, and I showed up with gym shoes and a pony tail. Turns out it was Tom’s birthday. He said to me, “Heather, I always thought you were really pretty.” I still thought, “Wow, still a dork.”

The fall of 2005 was my 5th year; I had a junior level business class and was sure I would not know anyone in it. Of course, Tom was in my class! We talked, and then happened to see each other at Jake’s a couple of nights later. We got to chatting, and here we are today — married and enjoying our first child.

Heather (Ritz) (Eng ’05) and Tom Crawford (Eng ’06)
Lawrenceville, Georgia


Romance in the stacks

My wife (Kirsten Gee) and I (Kyle Gee) met at The University of Toledo in 2005 during grad school; I in law and my wife in medicine. We were married in June 2007. I earned my JD in May 2008 and the following month, my wife was awarded her MD. Since my degree had been awarded prior to her commencement ceremony, I had the privilege of “hooding” in her college’s ceremony. A week after her graduation, she gave birth to our first daughter, Brooklyn. We welcomed our second daughter, Mazie, in January 2011.

As busy graduate students, we spent a lot of time on campus. I, the former law student, spent countless hours in the Mulford Library and other parts of the UT Health Science Campus just so I could see Kirsten more. She in turn would visit me often in the law library. We enjoyed seven combined years at UT and look forward to contributing to UT’s future success.

Kirsten (MED ’08) and Kyle B. Gee (Law ’08)
Strongsville, Ohio


It’s been only 47 years?

My wife Beverly (Whitemore) and I met at University of Toledo. Sometime during the 1961-1962 school year, I began to notice Beve in the library studying. She was always impeccably dressed and I particularly remember two matching skirt and sweater combinations: one yellow and the other magenta.

Later I discovered she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega. Since I had dated a few AXO’s, I began asking to find out who she was. I was told that I should come to the Sorority Open House and I could be introduced. Well, I did and we began meeting in the hall between classes and studying together in the library.

When the finals were approaching in the second semester, I got tired of studying and called her from my home in Point Place. I told her that I was studied out and, even though I never asked a girl out for the first date to go to the drive-in, would she be interested? Her answer — even though she never went to the drive-in on a first date – was yes! That was May 26, 1962 and we went to the Jesse James on Reynolds Rd.
We became engaged in Ottawa Park and decided that we would get married in June 1964. However, we soon discovered that we did not want to wait that long. So we moved the date up to December 21, 1963. We believe it was God’s urging because, in June 1964 when I got my military assignment, I was to report for active duty in Fort Bliss, Texas, on June 13, several days before our original wedding date!

Looking back today after 47 years of marriage and two children, Douglas and Jennifer, and eight wonderful grandchildren later, we would not do anything different. Both of us are retired, but find ways to spend time together and away from each other. It is a great balance and works for us.

Thanks, TU (it wasn’t yet UT, but warmly referred to as “Bancroft High,” especially by us “Town-ees”) for providing the atmosphere for us to meet and blossom.

Fred G. (Eng ’64) and Beverly D. (Whitmore) (Ed ’63) Schaefer
Maumee, Ohio


Live from LA

We heard you were looking for UT campus romance stories. How about us? Debra Eversole (from Fremont, Ohio) was in nursing, I, Nick (from Philly), was in law. We met while living in the dorms, I in Dowd and Deb in McKinnon. We married in Elmore, Ohio, in December 1977 and have lived in Los Angeles since 1979. We have two kids: Matt (22) and Nicole (19). We are still happily married, and Debbie is a case manager with 30-plus years at Cedars Sinai Hospital. Nick is an entertainment lawyer/movie biz executive and more recently, a law professor, teaching the entertainment law course at the UT Law College over spring break last year.

The pic is of us at the 2011 Oscars. As a undergrad nursing student, Debbie was a member of the dancing Rockettes. She looks just as good in her skimpy little dancing costume today as she did when she danced as a freshman in 1974 at the basketball games.

Nick (Law ’77) and Debra (Eversole) LaTerza (A/S ’78)
Calabasas, California


Meant to be

Steve and I met at UT in 1983. I was at Freshman Camp and he was dating my camp counselor. He was a cutie, but I didn’t think anything of it. Well, he worked in the Carlson library, where I spent a lot of time, and I thought he was cute again!

Steve was a Sig Ep and wore that cool purple-and-red jacket! I was in Alpha Chi Omega, and a sorority sister set us up for a blind date to an Alpha Chi hayride. We had such a blast together, that was in 1984. Our first kiss was on the 3rd floor steps in McKinnon Hall where I lived. We had many picnics on the lawn by U Hall, went to many sorority and fraternity dances and many UT football games. One game we all got up on the wall and sang the fight song and spelled TOLEDO! We had pizza at Fat Daryl’s, or had lunch in the Greek side of the cafeteria talking to friends. We even spray-painted our names on the Bancroft bridge together.

Steve went to Bowling Green for grad school and we broke up. Three years later, he moved to Washington, D.C. My brother lived there, too, and I went to visit one summer. Steve and I had lunch together and we both realized we were meant to be and were married two years later in 1993.

Today, we live in St. Louis, have two kids and are still having fun together. Steve’s parents still live in Toledo, so we go back several times a year. We have shown our kids all our old hangouts at college. Hope you enjoyed our story!

Meg (Doman) (A/S ’88) and Steve Clarke (A/S ’86)
Webster Groves, Missouri


Wedding chimes in the Tower

My wife Penny and I were the first couple to my knowledge ever married on Centennial Mall while I was a student at UT — May 22, 1981. If anyone beat us to it, they did it secretly, as the Mall hadn’t been in place all that long.

We wanted a small outdoor wedding and after considering several locations, decided that a small hill on Centennial Mall near the Edison Fountain would be a great spot. As I was editor of The Collegian, I had a relationship with University President Driscoll and asked him if it would be OK. He said yes. So we asked the campus minister to officiate and had a small gathering of family and friends witness the wedding. It was a beautiful day. As added touches, a student walking by played us a song on the guitar he happened to be carrying and the bell tower chimed after the ceremony.

Penny (Dinges) and Keith Price (UTCTC ’82)
Canton, Ohio


The right environment for romance

My husband, Josh, and I met right before college, went to UT together, got engaged while at UT, and got married during my last semester of grad school. We sometimes think back on how fun and carefree things were before we had the house, kids, real jobs, etc., but each year brings new memories, challenges and depth. We are blessed.

Some memories: Josh worked at UT recycling and the print shop. He saved up paper punches from the binding machine, so when the millennial new year came around, he had this huge bag of confetti. We were with my family that year, and everyone was throwing fistfuls of confetti. My parents were finding confetti for years afterwards in the couch cushions and curtain creases.

We were both officers for SEBS (Society for Environmental and Biological Sciences), planning Earth Week on campus, cleaning up tires and garbage at the Manhattan Marsh, etc. We also put together the first environmental sciences career fair on campus. Environmental sciences was a new major/program at that time, so there were no established employers. Josh, his friends and others in SEBS needed internships and jobs, so we brought employers to campus and did a decent-size career fair in the South Lounge.

We got married in August of 2002 when I was half way through my MBA. I had to take a textbook on the honeymoon to read in the car because one of my prof’s was docking my grade for missing class because of the honeymoon. (Grad school was actually a late decision for me, and the wedding was already scheduled.) A few months after the wedding when I was studying for final exams, we found out I was pregnant. Thank goodness it was my last semester of grad school!

Thank you for the trip down memory lane!

Deirdre (Florkowski) (Bus ’01, MBA ’02) and Josh Jones (Bus ’01)
Perrysburg, Ohio


Up on the roof

Like many UT alumni, my husband, Tom (Eng 2003), and I met through our involvement with student organizations. So when it came time to propose, Tom focused on how much UT played a role in our relationship. With the help of University staff and police, he was granted access to the roof of University Hall, and turned one of the turrets into the most romantic spot on campus, complete with candles, music, and an gorgeous view of the tower. Tom had enlisted my sister, Gillian Wilke (A/S ’04), to help buy the supplies, and my best friend, Michelle Kaminski Poeppelmeier (Ed ’03, MEd ’05), to make up an elaborate ruse to get me up to the roof. As Michelle led me through U Hall, I should have been suspicious, but for some reason I just went along with everything I was being told. The next thing I knew, I was on the roof, Michelle had disappeared, and Tom was on one knee. After I got over the surprise, Michelle reappeared and took pictures to commemorate the occasion. Campus involvement in our wedding planning didn’t end with our engagement, as we took our engagement photos on campus, 10 of the 12 members of our wedding party are also alumni, and we held our reception in the Student Union ballroom.

Meredith (Wilke) (A/S ’02, Ed ’05) and Tom Blaine (Eng ’03)
Sylvania, Ohio


Dropping (off) the ball

We met in the fall of 2006 at the Rec Center. I was in working in town and still coming to the Rec as an alumnus to stay in shape and feel young. She was an instructor persuading me to come to one of her classes. I thought she was attractive and that a little help on my abs wouldn’t be a bad thing, but I also knew she just wanted attendance and had no intentions of anything more.

Little did she or I know what would happen next. A few weeks passed and nothing more than a “Hi” or “Good class” was exchanged between us. Then one day we were unsuspectingly doing exercises on one of those big green ab balls and I fell off — not delicately, either. I mean fell off with a big THUD. I tried to play it off, but I knew everyone saw me, including the instructor. After class we had a few awkward laughs and I left.

Unfortunately that next week I left on business and wouldn’t have a chance to redeem myself for a while. A few weeks later while I was at the Rec minding my own business, the instructor came up and asked if the ball incident was why I had missed a couple weeks of class. We got to talking and it seemed she looked forward to seeing me in class. The next class, I somehow worked up the courage and asked if she would like to go to dinner some time. She agreed. Our first date was October 5, 2006, with dinner at Rosie’s and a few drinks at Jakes. We were engaged five months later and married on June 7, 2008.

Matthew (Eng ’05) and Natalie (A/S ’08) Ware
Clinton, Ohio


The legal approach

We met our first week as first-year law students at the law library circulation desk in 1975. I (was a student worker behind the circulation desk. Phil, quite disheveled from playing touch football outside with some other male law students, came up to the circulation desk, looking to chit-chat.

When I asked him what him what he had been doing, Phil explained about the touch football game. To which I replied, a bit sarcastically, “Oh, proving your manhood, are you?” Not the least bit intimidated, Phil was instantly smitten and immediately sought employment as a law library student worker. So not only were we working together, we also shared many classes together.

Friendship blossomed into romance and we married in downtown Toledo by Judge Resznick, who later became a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, in August 1978, a few weeks after taking the bar exam. Although I wasn’t looking for romance when I went to law school, it happened in the most mundane and possibly unromantic venues.

Oh, and we are still married. And our daughter graduated from law school this June, at the University of Chicago.

Carol A. Fichtelman (Law ’78) and Philip C. Berwick (Law ’78)
Saint Louis, Missouri


Injured runner falls in love with lifeguard

My husband and I met while at The University of Toledo. I was a doctoral student and also a competitive runner, having placed in the Toledo Blade 10K as well as being invited to participate in the Amaco Golden Mile twice. I put in about 45-50 miles of running out in the Brookside area west of campus and the Toledo Metroparks each week.

Following a disappointing performance at my second Amaco Golden Mile competition, I unwisely increased my mileage with a resulting stress fracture of my right tibia. After consultation with Dr. Brolinson (sports medicine physician who worked with many of us on various departmental research projects), I headed to the pool to maintain my fitness while my tibia healed.

Never a very good swimmer, I took advantage of another aquatic exercise at the Rec Center: deep water running. I was often the first one in the water, wearing my floatation vest. Even with the vest, a lifeguard was required to be on deck while I exercised. One of the lifeguards was very nice and friendly, and we struck up many conversations before or after my workouts. I was attracted to him but didn’t know if he was seeing anyone. Thankfully, a fellow graduate student in my department was a graduate assistant at the Rec Center, so she became my spy. After finding he was unattached, I plotted how I might bring our causal friendship to a new level.

One weekend I had my chance. I won tickets from a radio station to Murphy’s Place in downtown Toledo. I proceeded to the Rec Center, planning to invite my lifeguard friend to join me. Disappointed, I completed my workout with no sight of this lifeguard — not his shift! I showered and was leaving when I looked over the natatorium only to see that he was now on duty. Wanting to make the invitation seem casual, I went back to the locker room, put on my swimsuit, and did another water workout so he wouldn’t suspect I was back just to talk with him! He did accept my invitation; we had a marvelous time, and started to run together at the Metroparks (once I was cleared from my stress fracture) and to date.

Within a year we were engaged and then married in March 1994. Although I was devastated by my stress fracture at the time, that injury actually was a blessing as it brought Tobin Bushman into my life. This March we will have been married for 17 years and he is my absolute best friend…and still tries to help me become a real swimmer!

Barbara (Kooiker) (PhD ’95) and Tobin Bushman (Ed ’93, MEd ’95)
Strafford, Missouri


Signing up for love at open registration

I was captivated by Janet immediately when we were introduced by her sister, Diana, at the open registration for incoming freshman in the fall of 1969. Prospective freshmen gathered in the Field House for this intimidating process. Although Diana and I worked together at nearby Lane’s Drug Store in Westgate, I did not know about her younger sister, Janet.

During the fall quarter, Janet’s and my paths occasionally crossed during visits to the Student Union. Soon, we planned to meet at the Student Union for movie night or at the Glass Bowl for football games. By Christmas 1969, we began dating. Since we both worked part-time, balancing school and work consumed most of our time, leaving little time for dates. Study date night at Gillham Library or a University Hall classroom became a routine for us.

We both graduated during December 1973 and continued dating. We were very fortunate to find employment in the Toledo area.

On June 17, 2011, we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.

Thomas (A/S ’73, MEd ’79, Ed Spec ’81) and Janet (Laux) Biblewski (Ed ’73, UTCTC ’84)


Shy guy smitten by hair

I met my wife, Michele, in 1990 in the pharmacy program. Even though the program is small compared to other majors, there are still enough students where one could get away without being part of a clique or part of the mainstream campus. I was that person — shy but funny if you got to know me. Because I was a little older than the other students (I went into the service after graduating high school), it took me a little while to warm up to most folks.

One girl caught my eye, though, and her name was Amy. One night she was having a beer in Angelo’s Attic with a friend, Michele. I didn’t know either girl, but I did know that I was very smitten with Amy. I was sitting directly across the bar from Amy and Michele and after a few minutes, Amy made eye contact with me. So I waved. Michele also thought I was waving to her and offered a wave back. I didn’t want to embarrass her so I also smiled and acted like I was waving to her instead.

The semester ended without incident (no date from either girl because I was too terrified to ask either out). Fall quarter of 1990 would prove to be more interesting. My first class was English 295. When I walked in, I sat down behind this very attractive girl. Well, I technically only saw her hair at first, but it worked for me. Our first assignment was to write something about ourselves.

We had to stand and present our assignments. So when pretty-hair girl stood and turned, I was shocked to find out it was Michele. She gave her presentation, I gave mine, and so on and so on.

My inability (for about a month) to strike up a conversation with her came to a screeching halt one day when we were outside our 295 class during a break. Another fellow in class approached Michele and began a lame attempt at small talk. Of course I was furious, but I only had myself to blame. I couldn’t take his banter any longer so I shuffled over, stepped in front of him and said to Michele, “Your favorite color is royal blue, you admire the eagle because of its strength, you are quiet, friendly, kind and giving.

You played the flute for 10 years, cheered in your youth, have a brother Shawn, a sister Lisa and if you give me 10 more minutes of your time, I would surely love to get to know more about you.” She mentioned my shy wave the previous quarter, smiled and said she was wondering why I hadn’t talked with her since that evening.

We’ve been together ever since.

She is a pharmacist for Rite-Aid, I am the director of the Canton City Health Department as well as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard. We have two children, Ethan (12) and Emily (8). I have spent quite a bit of time away from home since 9/11 but because of who she is, life has only gotten better these last 20 years.

Mark H. (att. 1989-91) and Michele Adams (Pharm ’95)
Canal Fulton, Ohio


Election, then elation

My husband, Lavelle Edmondson, and I met at UT 11 years ago and have been happily married for seven years. In addition to being a proud alumnus, I am also a former employee, working in the Office of Undergraduate Admission as the assistant director. I left my position at UT to be a stay-at-home mom for our two daughters Lily 2 and Chloe.

Lavelle and I met doing what we both loved: participating in extracurricular activities. The first time we saw each other, Lavelle was campaigning for Student Government vice president and I was working for the opposing ticket! We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend shortly after the campaign ended. Even though I worked for the opposing SG ticket, I quickly became a huge supporter of Lavelle once he took office. We dated all through college, which gave us the opportunity to make so many memories together, including when Lavelle served as the student representative for the Board of Trustees. We got engaged a few months before we graduated in 2002, and were married in a Christmas ceremony on December 27, 2003. I’m sure not many people can say this: Thanks to UT’s Student Government campaigns, I was lucky enough to meet my amazing husband!

Claire (Best) (A/S ’02) and Lavelle Edmondson (Bus ’02)
Maumee, Ohio


Volunteering for love

We met at Parks Tower, volunteering for and leading four relief trips after Hurricane Katrina. We both worked and lived on campus for two years — he drove the bus and I worked as an RA and at the Grad School. And we got married on New Year’s Eve 2009. We also both work for First Solar in the IT Department. We were both active on campus and still active within the business fraternity (Alpha Kappa Psi) as alumni.

Allison (Dagilis) (Bus’ 08) and Edward Michels (Bus ’09)
San Francisco, California


In sickness and in health

He was just another guy, and I another coed. We “met” when I went with my very good friend, Kathy Teaman Blazoff (A/S ’83,) to visit her “crush,” Steve Peck (Bus ’82), in Carter West. His roommate was this guy from my chemistry classes, Dennis Eller. He was lying in bed reading a Sports Illustrated Magazine when Kathy and I barged into their room. We chatted for a while and left never really meeting the roommate behind the magazine.

Due to the crush Kathy had on Steve, we continued to barge into the lives of Steve and Denny. Another good friend, Maureen Ladner, dated a good friend of Steve’s, Gary Crump (A&S ’82). We soon became a nice, happy group of friends that included several other close friends.

Fast forward to senior year. Dennis had a crush on a girl in my biology classes. I suggested he come over for a makeover in my room on the 13th floor of Parks Towers where I was an RA. I cut his hair and told him to grow a mustache. The romance with the biology student didn’t pan out, but Dennis started looking better to me with the new hairstyle and mustache. Friends also mentioned he was interested in me as well. When he asked me to watch the UT-BGSU basketball game in his front row courtside seats, I knew he really liked me! We went to dinner at Max and Erma’s (when they had phones on the tables). The rest is history: married in 1984, two wonderful sons (Michael and Kevin), and living happily in Bay Village, Ohio.

In December of 2009, Dennis was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was treated at University Hospitals of Cleveland by a neurosurgeon named Dr. Warren Selman, another University of Toledo graduate! He took such good care of him, Dennis is still reading Sports Illustrated magazines next to me, and he still has his mustache!

We visit UT often — usually for Homecoming tailgating! We are lucky to have so many of our UT friends still in our lives. These friends were such a big part of Dennis’ recovery and such a source of strength for me! They include Rick Cundiff (Bus ’82), Kathy Teaman Blazoff (A/S ’83), Steve Blazoff (Ed ’81), Steve Peck (Bus ’82), Maureen Ladner (attended 78-81), Sandy Wolchko D’Anniballe (A/S ’83), Blair Thompson (A&S ’82), Mike Ritzenthaler (Pharm ’85), and Brad Brigeman (Pharm ’83). We feel so fortunate to have such wonderful, loving friends from our “Rocket” days!

We have had 26 wonderful years together thanks to meeting at The University of Toledo. With lots of love, prayer, and friendship, we hope to have 26 more great years of Rocket romance!

Susan (Neroni) (A/S ’82) and Dennis Eller (Pharm ’83)
Bay Village, Ohio


Band geeks hit high notes

My husband and I met in the Center for Performing Arts right before the start of spring semester 2002. A mutual friend introduced us in the hallway right outside the band room. Jon never believes me when I say this, but at that moment I first saw him I thought “I could end up marrying this guy some day.” I shook his hand and said hello, talked for a few minutes with him and then kind of went about my day not thinking much of it.

Over spring semester we were in Concert Band together. I was a trombone player, sitting in the back of the room and he was a percussionist (also in the back of the room.) For one song he had to play the timpani, which were placed right behind my chair. The one timpani drum had a foot pedal that would slip and make this God-awful noise that the whole room could hear. It was always something the rest of the band and director disliked, but the players really couldn’t help it. I didn’t realize it was an accidental kind of thing, so sometimes I would turn around and shoot Jon a dirty look. He was always very good-natured about it and would just shrug it off.

Come the following fall semester, we were both in the Rocket Marching Band, but we usually didn’t run in the same circles so we didn’t have a lot of reason to talk to each other.

However, destiny started working its magic. In a crazy roundabout sort of way I heard through a chain of no fewer than five people that he thought I was cute. I considered him cute, too, but I didn’t know him well so I figured I’d just play it cool until he asked me out. It took awhile — in fact, I’d totally given up hope — when one day he approached me on the practice field after a long, hot afternoon practice for Marching Band and said, “Do you have any plans for Friday night? Would you like to go to the symphony and dinner with me?”

Well, that was enough to get my attention. We were married in August of 2009 among many of our friends that were there from the very beginning. When we talk about the start of our relationship, we realize how much of it we need to attribute to their support (and peer pressure). You know a lot of people make fun of band geeks, but I have to tell you: the RMB has produced several strong, long-term relationships. I think part of it stems from the commitment it takes just to be in band to begin with, and that later translates to the rest of our lives.

Michele (Bus ’05) and Jonathan Wilson (att. 2002-04)
Perrysburg, Ohio


It’s chemistry

I met my wife Carol while we were both freshmen at UT. I walked into chemistry class (Dr. John Chrysochoos was our professor) on January 14, 1972 and sat next to Carol for a chance meeting that has lasted a lifetime! We like to say that the chemistry was right! Carol was a “townie,” while I was a “dormie.” We dated throughout college and were married before my senior year at UT (September 14, 1974). We have now been married 36 years and have two beautiful daughters (Maryann, age 27 and Juliann, age 23) who are now living out of state. We had the good fortune to visit Dr. Chrysochoos while the girls were teenagers where we introduced him to our daughters (again, all that good chemistry). Carol finished her degree in nursing after leaving UT and is now a nurse practitioner here in Ohio. We recently moved back to this area and look forward to more involvement with UT.

Glenn (A/S ’75) and Carol (Ingersoll) Cairns (att.)
Findlay, Ohio


Socked in

One afternoon in the late 50s we met in the UT Library. She went up the library steps and looked into the lounge area but the doors were locked. She saw me on a couch in my stocking feet. It was love at first sight; she liked my stocking feet. Because the door was locked, she walked hundreds of steps around the book stacks to find the lounge and talk to me. During the next year, I met her family and her TriDelta sisters and they liked me, so I was chosen. She apparently saw the eyes of her unborn children in my blue eyes. She knew what she was getting into. I only had enough money to take her to the movies one time and that was to see Gigi at the Paramount Theater — in the afternoon at reduced prices. I graduated in chemical engineering two years ahead of her, but we got married the same day of my graduation and moved to Radford, Virginia. She graduated at Radford College for Women in Virginia two years later. I had a job making rocket fuels, but I lived through all the explosions and we had three children who became a doctor, a nurse and a physical therapist. We now have four grandchildren (all above average, as Garrison Keillor might say). I have been retired for many years but Judy still enjoys going to work as an analyst at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. We fund a scholarship at UT in appreciation. And she still likes my stocking feet.

Don (Eng ’59) and Judith (O’Callaghan) Bollenbacher (att. 1958-59)
Huntsville, Alabama


Love in a pumpkin patch

My husband Jeff and I met in high school. It was my senior year and his junior year that things began to spark. Jeff asked me to a pumpkin patch to help pick out a pumpkin for his younger sister, which I couldn’t turn down. That first date turned into many and soon it was time for me to head off to college. Thankfully it was just about a 30-minute drive, but living in another state and only seeing each other on the weekends seemed impossible for us.

He’d sent me off with a promise ring so that all the boys would know that I was “taken.” I would drive back after my classes on Fridays to catch him playing football, or he’d surprise me during the middle of the week and take me to dinner. It was a tough year, but one we got through.

Lucky for us, Jeff decided to come down to UT, too. My roommates and I stayed off campus at University Hills, and he and his friends grabbed an apartment across the courtyard from us. It was wonderful! We’d walk to classes together, try to get a similar time schedule and share books when we could. Going to the UT football games were always a blast together.

But then it was time for me to graduate and for him to finish his degree. I headed home and got into the “real world” and he ended up commuting his last year to save money and be close to me. Much to my surprise, the fall of his last year in school he brought me back to that same pumpkin patch from our first date and proposed to me. We planned a beautiful wedding two years from that date and invited many of our college friends to attend.

It’s funny because now Jeff’s sister is down at UT with her boyfriend. It’s great to see them do some of the same things we used to do. I can only hope their story ends as happily as ours.

To this day, we head down to bike the trails and ride around campus. We even started running the Glass City races just because it’s so nice to run through campus. Things have changed so much down there, but the memories make it seem so familiar.

Jennifer (Bus ’04) and Jeff Sims (Bus ’05)
Newport, Michigan


Bridge over kissing waters

We first met at the pool tables in the Rec Center mid-freshman year. We had a slow start to our relationship limited to mostly campus activities, as both of us were dorm residents and without transportation. Finally our relationship grew more romantic, and we shared our first kiss on the bridge on the west side of campus, between the Performing Arts building and the Academic House.

Shortly after graduating, we were married and now have two children. We enjoy visiting our old stomping grounds on a nearly daily basis, as our children have been attending the Appletree Nursery School. Both of our kids are very curious about the campus and how we met there. About a year ago, as we were driving over that very bridge, I told the story of our fist kiss. Our son immediately named the site “the kissing bridge” and has shared that once-private story with a number of family members, teachers, etc. We now drive over the kissing bridge regularly on our way to Appletree and the story is often re-told.

We’ve enjoyed watching the University campus grow and change over the years. Our son fully intends (at age 6) to attend UT for college. He’s already picked out the dormitory that he would like to live in (the large X shaped one). We enjoy attending Rockets games as a family, both football and basketball. Our kids have Rocket wardrobes and our son already has plans to dress as Rocky the Rocket for Halloween.

Tricia (Erhardt) (att. 1994-98) and Charlie Seddon (Bus ’98)
Sylvania, Ohio


Glass Bowl of love

My husband and I grew up in the same area of West Toledo, went to the same junior high and high school, but didn’t meet until we were both students at The University of Toledo in 2003.

We met through a mutual friend as I was beginning my senior year as a communication major, and he was in his third year majoring in finance and criminal justice. I was also a dancer with the Rockettes, and my (future) husband came to every home game. I can remember in those early days the excitement I felt performing on the field, knowing that he was in the stands somewhere, watching.

In the years after I graduated, as he continued his studies through graduate school at UT, attending football games at the Glass Bowl was a treasured tradition for us. Now that we no longer live in the Toledo area, we follow the Rockets and whenever we can, watch them play on TV.

We married in 2007, and moved to the Columbus area in October 2009. The University of Toledo will always hold a special place in our hearts, not only as the place where we became adults and began to build our futures, but also as a special place where we fell in love.

Melanie (Pudlicki) (A/S ’04) and Jason Ash (HHS ’06, Bus ’06, MBA ’09)
London, Ohio


We’re with the Band

My husband Adam and I met while in Marching Band at UT. One of the formations put our two sections together — we met and have been together ever since. Since we were poor college students, our together time usually was spent playing pool at A-House, or sitting together while I checked in guests to the dorm after 8 pm.

The October after we graduated we got married, and since have welcomed our first son, who proudly wears his “future Rocket” gear. Even in the heart of Scarlet & Gray country, we proudly wear our Toledo Blue and Gold — and have to tell everyone it’s for Toledo and not Michigan.

Side story: Adam and I went to high school about 10 minutes apart from each other, yet never met until we went to UT. During our freshman year and before we were dating, the band had a show for the parents in the Glass Bowl before the football season started. In the entire Glass Bowl, our parents happened to sit next to each other, started talking and learned about the other’s child. After that, my mom was telling me I should meet and date Adam him since he was from close to home. Similarly, Adam’s mom was telling him the same thing about me.

But seriously, who listens to dating advice from their parents?

Sara (Barger) (Bus ’05) and Adam Innes (A/S ’05)
Lewis Center, Ohio


So who needs money?

My husband met in June 2006 while he was an engineering major and I was a social work major. At the time I was working on campus at the candy counter in the Student Union where he was a customer who stopped in between classes.

We spent time hanging at some of the best hangouts on campus including Starbucks and the Student Union. We also had a fun walking around the beautiful Main Campus. Of course, at the time we didn’t have much money, but we made the best of it. On June 19, 2010 after working so hard in college we got married, and if it wasn’t for our time spent at UT we would have never met and had the great adventure that we had.

Tara Bojarski-Wick (A/S ’09) and Mathew Wick (HHS ’09)
Sylvania, Ohio


Love in the curriculum

In 1966 I met my wife at the old Tabard Inn on Dorr Street during the summer after I had returned to the University in Jan of 1966. She was a local townie, I was an East-Coast-out-of-town student. She used to drive me to class when I lived in the AEPi Fraternity House around the corner from her house. I used to wait for her in the old Community College Building between classes. She taught me how to drive a stick shift so I could drive my first car.

When I pledged a fraternity during the fall semester, she had to deal with me and all of the stuff we used to do. (Her brothers and cousins and uncles were all a part of the fraternity.) hen there were the Homecomings, formals and fraternity parties and other activities.

We spent summers and weekends at the Tabard Inn and The Pub, both on Dorr Street. Little did we know that we would end up living around the corner from The Pub when our first child was born.

We were married in August 1969. The week of our wedding I was enrolled in a UT Summer Workshop and spent a day in a Detroit brewery learning about employment opportunities (and of course tasting the beer).

We walked down the University aisle in 1970 when we both graduated the second time around. When she was working on her teaching degree, she had many professors who I had worked with or was working with. In fact, she had to sit in class and see video tapes of things I was doing as a teacher.

She is still employed for Toledo Public Schools; I am semi-retired doing consulting and teaching. We have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Happily married for 42 years.

Howard J. Moskowitz PhD (Ed ’68, MEd ’70, PhD ’80) and Linda Rosenberg Moskowitz (UTCTC ’68, Ed ’70)


Written in the stars

My husband and I met over 30 years ago as transfer students during our first year on the UT campus in Dr. Bernie Bopp’s astronomy class, gazing up at the stars in Ritter Planetarium. (Corny, isn’t it?) It was the typical ‘love at first sight’ for both of us and we dated, were engaged a few years later and have been together ever since. We have two sons who are now both attending UT. All of my sisters are Rocket alum and many of my husband’s family are as well.

Andrea (Deason) (A/S ’82, UTCTC ’86, A/S ’09, MLS ’09) and John Joldrichsen (UTCTC ’86)
Rossford, Ohio

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The Secret Admirer from Doermann Theater

November 28th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni

A True Story – By Tom Orr (A/S ’89), dedicated to his wife, Tambra Lynn (Smith) (A/S ’96), Seminole, Florida

It was not far from Doermann Theater that I attended a Communication 101 class; I remember it was the first day of class and the room was packed. Many of the 101 freshmen classes were very large groups of well over one hundred students, which would break off into smaller labs that were instructed by graduate assistants. Communication 101 was no exception. It was in this class that I would meet the woman that would change my life forever. It was also in this room that the start of our romantic journey began.

It was the first day of lab class. I scrambled around halls looking for the room number. Finding it, I entered and sat in the back of the room. It was then that I saw her for the first time; she was a very tanned beauty with a smile so bright it could blind a torch-welder. While I was attracted to her physically, like any male student in her class with a pulse, it was her dynamic personality that really got me! Her personality is sort of like what would happen if you took the Kellogg’s characters Snap, Crackle and Pop and put them on steroids. I would find myself slipping into some sort of out-of-body experience while sitting on the edge of my chair watching her talk. I knew there was something super-special and equally as unique about her from the first day she wrote her name on the board: TAMBRA. She said we could call her Tami.

I spent that quarter in college thinking about her and talking with her, sometimes with a group of students after class. Inside me there was a driving force that wanted to ask her out, but she had a boyfriend and I was dating someone, too. I sensed she was attracted to me, too, but I left our potential relationship in the hands of fate.

It was one of my thinking sessions in the old Doermann Theater that prompted an idea. Doermann Theater was sort of a magical place that allowed me to fantasize that I was a great actor just waiting to be discovered. It was the one place that I could go and unleash those feelings we get bottled up inside us and never release. Suddenly I imagined I was Romeo and Tambra was Juliet! That day I conjured up the idea of playing a game of Secret Admirer with her, and the theater would be the perfect setting to incorporate into my master plan.

I set out that day to find out as much about her as I could, starting with a phone call to my best friend and partner in crime, Dan McCauley. We were not hardened criminals in any sense of the word, but we had been known to tempt fate from time to time. Dan fancied himself as sort of a modern-day Sherlock Homes; most of his part-time investigating was done with a computer and a phone book. His motivations each time were the same: WOMEN! I called upon his services to help me investigate my Tambra Lynn, and he did not let me down.

Before long I knew Tami still worked part-time at the University, spent the evenings as a cocktail waitress in a high-end restaurant and lived with her parents not more than a few miles from my house.

It was at the University, under her office door, that her Secret Admirer struck first. I had handwritten her a little card and slipped it under the door. The exact words of that card escape me now, but it told her she had an admirer that thought she was something special…this mystery person would only let himself be known as “Your Secret Admirer.”

The game continued for a few weeks, but each time the message was a little more creative and flowers started accompanying the notes. At one point we drove up to her house at night in the pouring rain and Dan bolted to the front doorstep and delivered a giant vase of brightly color flowers while I idled in the getaway car. Then one night we became even bolder, parking outside the back door of the restaurant where she was waitressing inside. As one of the wait staff was walking in the door, Dan casually walked up and handed over a dozen roses with a note, and asked to deliver it to her. Seconds later she had them in her hand and was running out the back door looking for clues, to no avail. The notes continued and she became even more curious as to the identity of her admirer.  The game had reached a point that I felt I needed to reveal my secret identity to her.

My next note, which I left on her car windshield, told her I wanted to have dinner with her and let her know who I am. I asked her to reply back to me by leaving a note in Doermann Theater under the old portrait on the Western Wall.   I needed to know if she would agree to meet me.

I will always remember the day I went to check for mail from her. I entered the theater from the back stage entrance. Slipping around the black drops peering out to see the empty room. As I walked quickly down the wooden oak steps toward the wall of portraits, I could feel the gargoyles peering down at me.

I stood in front of the portrait looking up at the old man’s fading face before me and paused.  My heart pounded. Many questions danced in my head as I reached out and gently lifted the hand-carved oak frame from the wall. At first, nothing happened; I rattled it a second time. Then I saw it: a folded piece of lined white notebook paper dropped at my feet. Never before had I been more excited to read a note.

Moments later I had escaped to the courtyard and found a quiet spot on a hill by some pine trees to read the note. Her first words were, “WHO ARE YOU!  WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?” All in all, I felt it was a fair question; I sort of had been stalking her. But it was not until I read her note that I realized she might have been slightly afraid of me. Regardless, I had made a decision, and it was time to let this Princess know the identity of Prince. I could only hope my armor would shine in her eyes when she found out who I was.

Her note told me to leave her a message under the old portrait in the theater and she would come for it. My note asked her if she would meet in a public place for dinner.  She was to pick a place and time and leave me a note so I could respond back by the stroke of noon on Friday, this would have set us up for a possible date for the up coming weekend. All was progressing smoothly until the unexpected phone call from my past that threw a wrench into my plans.

Somewhere during the time I left her the note and the Friday when I was going to respond to the dinner invitation I ended up getting back together with my old girlfriend. This was the same girl who prevented me from dating Tami the first time I had meet her in class the year before. Why exactly I got back together with this woman I still can’t really explain, but as we all know, when it comes to relationships we don’t always do the most logical things.

The meeting

There she was, sitting in a lone chair in the middle of the Doermann stage, reading a book. She had positioned her chair to read by the natural light that shined in from the limited windows. Her posture was perfect and her legs were crossed, it looked as if she was sitting before a panel of judges reading for a bit part in a play.

The vibe of my presence must have hit her; the feeling that someone was watching her was too strong to go unnoticed in such a still place as Doermann Theater. Startled, she suddenly put down her book and looked directly toward me! My adrenaline went into overdrive; I remained motionless, afraid to breathe.  She jumped from her chair and I felt myself flying down the stairs, barely touching them. My body was running for its life, while my mind was saying STOP! LET HER CATCH YOU! But I could not stop running; the animal instinct of being chased leads way to running, and so I did!

The next thing I knew I was somewhere on campus catching my breath, wondering why the heck I just ran from her. The poor girl was scared enough without having to chase down her stalker in a dark building, alone.

Enough was enough…I had to end it and end it now. I walked back to the front entrance of the theater; I paused briefly to hear the bell tower chime twelve times. Something told me she went back, somewhere inside me there was hope that she still had faith I would return by noon as promised in the last letter.

I did return and she was sitting right back in her chair reading again. I walked down the outside wall of theater as to be hidden from her view. As I walked I reached in my pocket and pulled out the note I had intended to leave behind the portrait. I managed to reach the stage without being noticed and stood directly behind the tattered velvet curtain six feet from her chair. I took the note and slid it under the curtain; it came to rest against her foot. As she jumped to her feet I pulled the curtain back, revealing my identity.

She was definitely surprised to see me. It had been over a year since we had seen each other in her class. She did not seem to believe I was her Secret Admirer at first.  Her friends at the restaurant had reported I was blonde after having seen my friend Dan deliver my flowers.

Her smile was bright as ever and her eyes definitely had not lost the sparkle. We laughed and talked on that old stage for awhile and then I told her I started dating someone since starting the whole Secret Admirer game, but I wanted to take her to dinner if she would accept. She seemed a little surprised, but accepted my invitation and a date and time was set.

I remember pulling into to her parent’s driveway; it was a small house in a West Toledo neighborhood full of giant oak and maple trees. I had seen the house once before, the night I pulled up in the pouring rain keep the motor running while Dan put flowers on her door step.

She greeted me at the door with a big southern smile so bright it almost distracted me from the hot black dress she had on. Tami, or Tambra, as her mother named her, had roots in Alabama. All night I kept thinking I had never gone out on a date with a Southern Belle before. We dined and we danced and we laughed.

There was only one thing I knew we would not do, kiss. You see, in order for my current girlfriend to agree to let me take Tami out on a date, I promised I would never see her again and above all, I was not to kiss her goodnight at the end of the evening. I, of course, agreed to her terms — what else was I to do?

I pulled back into her parent’s driveway. They had left the porch light on for her and I saw a little head peek out from behind the curtains when I pulled up. I put the car in park and turned to thank my Southern Belle for a great evening. All the while I kept reciting my old girlfriend’s warning in my head: Don’t kiss her, don’t kiss her, don’t kiss her. Just say goodnight and drive away. I really don’t remember much about what was said at our farewell, but I do remember I broke the rules! We kissed; I think she might have moved closer to me when I turned toward her, all I know is that our lips found each other! Somewhere deep inside I knew I would kiss her before the night was over. Not kissing her would have been sort of like opening a fine bottle of wine, smelling the cork, swirling it in your glass and pouring it down the kitchen sink without ever tasting it.

After the kiss she hugged me I watched her hop out of the car and spring up her doorstep like a rabbit returning to her den. When she reached the door she looked back and waved goodbye. She walked into her house and out of my life.

As I drove home that night I pondered the consequences I would pay from my girlfriend for that kiss. I don’t keep secrets very well; my conscience always gets the best of me. But I knew one thing; it was worth whatever penalty she could dish out.

Life went on with out my Tambra Lynn, but I thought of her often. My current relationship was less of a tunnel of love and more of roller coaster ride. The relationship lasted nine years and included dating, living together, getting married for five years and getting divorced.

During those rough nine years, my professional career did quite well. I worked in advertising for several years and made a lot of new friends. One of these friends was a middle-aged woman named Pat. She was always fun to talk with and had a bright personality. I worked with Pat for a couple of years before she left the company for another job.

One day around Christmas, I was out on the streets trying to hustle up some advertising dollars and I ran into Pat. I had not seen her since she had left the company a year or so before. We chatted briefly and I told her I had split up with my wife.  She jokingly said she should fix me up with her daughter. I laughed and told her I was sort of dating someone right now. I wished her happy holidays and was on my way.

As fate would have it, I ran into Pat again not more than six weeks later. Once again she said she wanted to introduce me to her daughter, but this time she pulled out a photo and handed it to me with a proud look on her face.

As I looked down at the small, wrinkled photo I could tell she had probably shown it everyone she could stop long enough to see it.  As I looked closer I could see there was a woman and a small child standing together.  It was very obvious they were mother and daughter; they had the same bright sparkling smile and glowing eyes. These were the same eyes that I saw on the first day of class ten years earlier in my communication class. These were also the same eyes I looked into when I had kissed my teacher good night ten years ago.

All this time I had no idea that I had been working side by side with Tambra Lynn’s mother. How many times had I wondered what happen to her, how many times was she in the same building with me visiting her mom and I never even knew it. We could have traded parking spots or drunk from the same water fountain just seconds behind each other. Did I fill balloons for her daughter at the annual company picnic?

My mind was going a million miles an hour and I began to chuckle. Pat was taken aback at my laughter and asked what was so funny. I looked up at her and said, “I was the Secret Admirer from Doermann Theater.” Pat looked as if she was going to faint! As we parted she vowed to call Tambra and tell her of our amazing discovery.

I was busy at my desk working when the phone call came. As I lifted the receiver to my ear, I heard that sweet voice again. She was talking a million miles an hour and had that same excitement and enthusiasm in her voice that she had the first day of class. She told me we had to do lunch right away! I was slightly hesitant because I was dating someone, but accepted her invitation. I knew I just had to see her again. Fate had taken a pretty strange twist to bring her back into my life and I wanted to make sure I did not miss my chance to see her before she moved out of my life again. I was to meet her for lunch the next day at a family-owned Italian restaurant named Rosie’s.

I arrived at the restaurant not really knowing what to expect. I had not seen her for ten years, except for the photograph her mother had shown me. I had butterflies in my stomach. Would she still be adorable? Would she still be spunky? Or would life as a single mom have dampened her spirits and weathered her face? I remember seeing some women at my ten-year high school reunion that really looked downright bad. Could this have happen to her, too?

I waited in the lobby for my date to arrive and watched shadows dance on the floor as trees blew around in the spring wind outside. I stared at the moving silhouettes as if watching a recital, my mind flashing back to Doermann Theater.

The next thing I knew she had arrived and we were talking over lunch. I could not tell you what I ate that day, but I can tell you what she was wearing and the color of her lipstick. I was really enjoying her physical beauty, but was continually distracted by her outgoing personality. Her smile was even brighter than I had remembered and her eyes glowed so warm I started to looe track of time. The ten years we had spent apart seemed to slowly disappear.

We talked about old times and current times and generally caught up on the last ten years of our lives. I also told her that I was, once again, dating someone right now and currently separated from my wife. I felt like it was happening all over again, just it had ten years before when I told her on the stage in Doermann that I was dating someone. Then she said something that almost knocked my off my chair. She said, “You ought to divorce your wife, drop the girlfriend, marry me and move to Florida.” I laughed and said you hardly even know me. She said, “Why? Are you an axe murderer or something?”

She made it seem all so simple; it even felt simple at the time, too. But how could it be so simple? We are taught that life is complicated and things always have complications.  She had a child, I had a girlfriend and Florida was over 1,200 miles away. Her idea was just too crazy to discuss any further, but it sure did spark something inside me.

I walked her to my car to show her some pictures of my dogs. She sat in the passenger seat; I was in the driver seat. Our date was nearly over and I did not want it to end. Asking her to my car to look at pictures was the only thing I could think to gain extended bonus time with her.

She was wearing thin white winter gloves and I had on black gloves. The weather was frigid and the wind made it feel even worse. We sat in my ice-cold car looking at photos and when they were done, I had run out of stall tactics. I reached down and held her gloved hand in mine as I told her I really enjoyed seeing her again. The bond was too strong to end it like that, so I reached down and took off both of her gloves and, feeling her hand warm in mine, smiled. I squeezed her hand in the hopes that somehow this would serve as a symbol of the feelings that were bubbling up inside me. She squeezed back; it seemed like an eternity that we just sat there holding hands, not saying a word. When our hands parted she left my car and walked across the parking lot to her car. I sat in my cold car and watched her drive off into the blistering winds.

I stared out my car window and watched the snow dance in swirling motions across the parking lot. Looking down I realized my right hand was becoming numb from the cold. The warmth from her hand was gone. It was at this point in my life that I realized I must see her again, and I could not wait another ten years to do it.

Over the next couple of weeks I could hardly sleep thinking about her. My mind was racing and I kept thinking that second chances don’t come along very often in life and I had to find out once and for all if she was the one for me. There was something about her that was different, I knew it from the day I met her. It is hard to put into words; it was more of an intuition than a physical characteristic.

Then one day the idea came to me while sitting in my recording studio inside my farmhouse in Michigan. I would write and record an original song for her with some of my musician friends. Before long I had the words written and the song recorded by a friend. We re-recorded the song by Queen, “You’re My Best Friend,” but our version had different words and the main chorus was, “Oooh Tambra Lynn.

The only thing I needed to do now was figure out a time and place to for her to hear it. With the help of her mother, it did not take long to come up with the master plan. The Secret Admirer from Doermann Theater would strike again!

After I explained my plan her mom agreed to set the trap for her unsuspecting daughter. She called Tambra and asked her to meet her for lunch. Now the clock was running again, and the Secret Admirer would take her mother’s place for lunch. But before my arrival I would have the wait staff deliver package to her. Inside this package would be a Walkman tape player with the original song all set to play.

During the course of a person’s life occasionally there will be a certain event or moment which they will remember forever. These moments etch into one’s memory like photographs. Sometimes there will even be a certain smell or other sense that will trigger the mind to return to that special moment.

Tuesday, March 12 was one of those days I will never forget. I arrived at the restaurant about 20 minutes before she was scheduled to arrive. The wait staff let me pick a booth set back from the main traffic of the restaurant and agreed to seat her there and deliver my package on a tray with the drink order.

When I spotted her through the window, she was moving quickly toward the front door. She was wearing a long gold coat with blue lining. Her shoulder-length hair had a red tint and bounced as she walked in the front door. I almost knocked over the hostess trying to dive out of her view as she entered. The days of running from her in Doermann Theater came rushing back to me as I hid behind a plant. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as butterflies did the mambo in my stomach.

She was seated and looked at her watch. She was early as usual, just like when she checked her secret mailbox in the theater. I watched has the waitress come to take her drink order — she had the small brightly wrapped package on her tray. Upon leaving the table, she handed Tambra the mystery package with a smile. I watch her open it with all the excitement of a young child on Christmas morning who has just given his parent a homemade gift. She began to smile as she read the card; I thought I saw her eyes began to glass over as she these words:

“Although your mother is very nice…
She just helped your secret admirer strike twice. 
Even though she won’t be joining you for lunch…
You won’t be dining alone I have a hunch
But before I arrive I have something to say…
So open this box and press play”

I watched in amusement as she put on the headphones and began to listen to the debut of the new single featuring her name in the chorus. The lyrics were funny and serious, all rolled up into one song. She looked full of emotions as she was sort of caught up in that place between laughing and crying, but mostly she was just smiling. She started to scope the place for her secret admirer; I knew this was the moment I had been waiting for since the day I met her. I took a deep breath and stepped out from behind my plant, just like I had stepped out from behind the red velvet curtain on the stage in Doermann Theater the day I let her know I was her admirer.

Our eyes met and our giant smiles mirrored each other as I sat across from her in the booth. I wanted to shout out, “I’m single, I’m single, and I’m single!” but I kept my cool. She listened to the words of the song and they told the story for me.  I don’t remember exactly what she said to me first, but I think it was probably some wisecrack, like, did I ask her to lunch again to tell her I was engaged to someone else. But this date ended different than the other two dates in our life, this time I asked her if she would go out with me, and she said, YES!

The next six months of dating were incredible! We did so much and had so much fun.  She had the most adorable little daughter from her previous marriage. Her name was Brittany Lynn, and she melted my heart at first sight.

The night I met Brittany I drove to Tambra’s apartment complex in West Toledo.  Brittany knew I was due to arrive soon so she waited outside the security door at the complex to greet me. I approached the building and this energetic little soul inside a seven-year old girl’s body came running up to me. “You must be Tom!” she said. She was the most incredible sight I had ever seen. Looking at her eyes was like going back in time and seeing Tambra as a little girl. She even had the same sparkle and shining personality as her mom.

That night before I left Tambra’s apartment I helped Brittany put glow-in-the-dark stars on her bedroom ceiling. She rode around the room on my shoulders so she could reach the ceiling and stick the stars on it. When we were all done the three of us turned out the lights and lay in Brittany’s bed looking up at our creation. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life, looking up at that mini-universe of plastic. It was not the stars that meant so much to me that night; it was sharing the view with the two people lying on either side of me.

Life was perfect — well, almost. I was still technically married to another woman. I had been separated for months, but my divorce was still lingering on and on. Tambra was very much looking forward to the day when it would be final, as was I. When a court date to finalize things was near I realized it would fall very close to another special date: Tambra’s birthday. I went to my attorney and told him I did not care how much money it would take, but he needed to do everything humanly possible to set my divorce date for May 15, Tambra’s birthday.

The morning of May 15, 1996 I drove north on country roads to the small town of Monroe, Michigan. I had a court date to be divorced, my attorney had come through for me, the divorce was completed and I was a free man. Now for the fun part: How do I tell my true love the good news?

I returned to my farmhouse-recording studio where I produced a mock-up radio show. There were several different segments to it — joke commercials that incorporated her daughter, Brittany, DJ song dedications and a breaking news report. I enjoyed doing the news report the most since this was my profession after college. The entire variety show was built around the news report, which announced my divorce earlier that day.

We went to dinner with her parents and Brittany that night. I picked her up at the apartment and I gave her the tape.  She popped it in her tape player and listened to my silliness.  The news report was a total surprise and she had to keep asking me if it was really true, thank goodness it was!

We went on vacation to Florida together at the six-month mark in our relationship. I had made up my mind the time had come to ensure she did not get away again, so I decided to pop the question sometime during our vacation.  We stayed at a world famous hotel called the Don Cesar; it was a pink castle on the shores of Saint Pete Beach.

We were lying on the beach by the surf; I had my bag of tricks next to me on the sand. While she took a sunbath I built a sandcastle next to the tide. Inside the castle I had inserted two ring boxes.  The first box near the top contained a joke ring my jeweler friend had fashioned after a detailed description I had given him a few weeks earlier. It was made out of pewter and had 3-D butterflies coming off of it in all directions. It was about the most obnoxious thing you could have imagined. It was exactly what Tambra had described to me one morning after waking from a nightmare. After she left the room I wrote down the exact description she gave me that morning so I would not forget it. The second ring box at the bottom of the castle contained the authentic engagement ring.

When my castle was completed I return to her side and reached for my bag of tricks. I pulled various visual aids ranging from some original homework papers I had saved from her class ten years before to the collar from my first dog when I was a child. Then I pulled out a wrinkled piece of notebook paper and read the following words:

A note behind an old picture frame
Had more meaning than a Secret Admirer’s game

I found the woman I’ve dreamed of over the years
She’s made me happy and dried my tears

Many times we shared together I have found
Have become cherished like the collar from my first childhood hound.

I have other secret treasures that I will never part
Graded papers from my favorite teacher I loved from the start

You’re the sexy Genie in my magic lamp
You’re the beautiful Ginger on my Island camp

You’re my bright shinning Lula from Doc Hollywood
You’re my devoted Samantha, witch of good

Like a shuttle launch you make my heart pound
And make life exciting like a full count toss from the pitcher’s mound

You add spice to my banana bread
And sprinkle bouncing power on our Olympic bed

You’re cleaned my closet and every inch of my place
You pack me lunches and leave notes in my brief case

You’re my red-haired Reba who sings in my heart
Songs of new beginnings knowing we will never part

You’re camped with me and climbed on a log
You’ve even spread cream on my pink-bellied Indy Dog

And after all you’ve done and all your love
I get a cheerleading daughter who fits like a glove

There is no doubt in my mind we were meant to be
Faith played her hand to bring you to me

So now it’s my turn to put my cards on the table
I’ve come back for you now to complete the fable

Please take my hand forever and let’s seize the day
For the heavenly Father has willed it that way

I promise to be faithful to you all of my life
Tambra, will you marry me and be my loving wife?

She accepted my proposal and I directed her to the castle to find her treasure. It did not take her long to find the first box. She had tears in her eyes as she opened the lid.  If I had only had a camera to capture the look on her face when she saw those 3-D butterflies coming out at her. I think she hit me, but I was laughing too hard to remember. Upon further excavations, she uncovered the second box.  Her reaction to it was much different than the first one. I placed it on her finger and the bright Florida sun reflecting off the water brought it to life.  She was relieved to have the ring out of the castle and on her finger. The entire time I was reading her my poem I had this vision of some little kid knocking over my castle and running off with the boxes.

Later that night we met up with Brittany; she was very excited to find out we were engaged. Now that Tambra had accepted my proposal to be my wife, I had one more to proposal I needed to present.

We went to a beautiful park on the shores of Gulf of Mexico called Sand Key Park. The sun was setting over the sand dunes and the sea oats were blowing back and forth in the sea breeze. I asked Brittany to walk with me toward the surf. Halfway to the water I stopped walking and kneeled down in front of her. Her bright sparkling 7-year-old eyes were now even with mine as she looked at me with anticipation. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a ring box and presented her a gold ring with a purple gemstone. I asked her if she would be my daughter and allow me to adopt her and be the lifelong father she never had.  She said YES with a big smile and hugged me. I will never find words to describe the innocence of that moment in my life.

Tambra and I enjoyed that evening at Sand Key Park so much we decided it would be the perfect setting for our wedding. We set a date and time, Christmas Eve at sunset by the water’s edge.  There would be no big wedding hall, no live band, no giant reception with hundreds of guests, just our immediate family, some sea birds, and if we were lucky, a dolphin or two.

After the weekend in Florida, and becoming engaged, we went back to Michigan and began the process of selling our house and getting things in order to move over the next three months. Then the day finally came for the big move. We packed up the biggest Ryder truck you can rent to the top, along with our two cars and rolled out of town Friday the 13th, December 1996 for our new home in Seminole, Florida. Tambra had Brittany in her car, my friend Ernie drove the truck and I was in my car along with our two 80-pound Weimerainers, Indy and Dudley.

We arrived at our new house, which Tambra and Brittany had only seen on video. I had secretly shipped down all our Christmas tree ornaments to my parents. They had set up and decorated a tree in the house to surprise the girls, and they were! After a day or two of unloading I realized I had just over a week until the wedding. I began to start to think about what I might do surprise my bride. After all, it’s not every day you marry a girl you had been stalking on and off for ten years. It did not take me long to come up with a rather unique idea.

I tend to be a little on the theatrical side of things, so what better way to sweep my new bride off her feet than by horseback? I figured skydiving was too dangerous and coming by Jet Ski or boat would be too modern. But a horse would be perfect; all I needed to do was find someone with a horse in a strange town in less than a week whom was willing to break the law by having his horse ride on the beach and give up his Christmas Eve to do it.

I stopped at some horse stables I had driven past the week before and started asking around. No one would even consider taking his or her horse on the public beach, since it was illegal and carried a big fine if caught. One of the last people to reject my idea told me there was one more person I had not asked who just might be crazy enough to do it. His went by the name Scotty and could be found in the old run-down stable at the end of the stable’s property.

Scotty looked like a character out of a movie; he had long white hair and wore a big cowboy had that shadowed his weathered face. His eyes had sort of a wild look in them as he listened to my crazy plan while chewing on a piece of straw. His face lit up and he smiled at me without saying a word. Then he spoke, and to this day I will always chuckle at what he said: “I’ll do it for a fifty dollar bill and a six-pack of Busch beer.” He later told me that I needed to come by during the week and practice riding his black mustang, Shadow. I agreed to his terms and also completed my riding lessons that week; all the while my bride thought I was doing some last-minute shopping.

I pulled into the hotel parking lot of the Sheraton Sand Key resort just before 4:45 PM on Christmas Eve. There in the corner of the lot, right next to Sand Key Park, was Scotty’s horse trailer. I had him park it between some construction trailers so it would not draw any attention from the hotel security. Scotty had executed the plan perfectly; Shadow was brushed, braided, saddled and ready to ride. All I needed was the signal from my lookout post that the coast was clear. I had positioned my brother, Sasha, on a near by sand dune on the edge of the park. He wore a big hat on his head; the moment he took it off I would know the coast was clear and the park patrol had passed.

My heart was pounding and I felt the butterflies being release in my stomach at the exact moment I saw the hat come off his head. Time was at hand, ten years of a dream in the making was about to become reality. All I needed to do was manage to keep my balance and hang on this shiny black mustang, as she galloped over the sand dunes and delivered me to the girl of my dreams. My mind suddenly flashed to the final scene from Planet of the Apes where Charlton Heston rides off into the sunset only to find he is on planet Earth in the future.  Then as I reached the top of the dunes and started down the other side and saw her standing there looking up at me on my horse with my silly cowboy hat.

She looked like a combination of an angel and a flower child from the ’60s. She wore a crown made from flowers and she was barefoot in the sand. Her dress blew in the gulf breeze and almost looked surreal in the glow of the setting sun reflecting off the water. Standing next to her was a mini-version of herself, seven-year-old Brittany. It was at that moment I realized why her grandmother always called her “my little angel.” There was no question that she was one when I saw here, and I have never doubted it since. My mother captured that view of her standing on the beach in an original painting, which she made from looking at a photograph. This painting will forever hang in our home as a reminder of our wedding day.

I dismounted Shadow as Scotty appeared from the brushes and jumped on her, sort of like a fireman jumps on his pole during a fire alarm. I could hear galloping hoofs fade off into the distance as the ceremony began. My best friend from high school, Rebecca, was a notary public and performed the ceremony for us. It was a nice touch to have her share the moment with us since she had been with me though the good and the bad times of my life.

The setting sun cast a heavenly glow on my bride’s face. We stood directly in front of each other and I looked into those sparkling eyes from my past. I remember being so close to her I could see the reflection of the sun setting over the water in her eyes. We did not know it at the time, but Brittany was crying as she stood next to us during the exchange of vows. We saw her crying on video later and asked her why she was crying; she replied she was just too happy.

The ceremony was short, simple and honest. I remember when the line came about kissing the bride no one had to prompt me to do it. Our lips were together for an undetermined amount of time, but I remember being snapped back to reality and opening my eyes as my mother said, “Oh my goodness.”

We walked down a few steps to the rolling surf of the Gulf of Mexico and waded barefoot in the water with Brittany. Next we stood in a circle and held candles while singing Christmas carols. It was an intimate moment for everyone, the kind of moment that lives forever. Some people walking down the beach stopped to watch. I think some may have even joined our Christmas Eve Choir.

To this day my bride and I have returned to the “scene of the crime,” as she calls it, every Christmas Eve. We have been married over five years and I feel even closer to her now than I did on our wedding day. I think the secret to a good marriage or relationship is to keep things interesting and enjoy each day together. I spent my time in the quiet of Doermann Theater, imagining the life that I wanted to live with the girl of my dreams. Now I am happy to say I am living out that dream each day.  Just the other day we took the boat out at sunset and ate carryout while anchored by an island. After dark we lay on the bow and watched the stars come out while we enjoyed being together. It was a night to remember, the kind that makes you excited to be alive on the planet. And as far as I can see, I plan on continuing to live happily ever after, one day at a time, side by side with my Tambra Lynn.

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