Falling in Love: Lawrence shares its best Valentine’s Day memories

Alice Norris' front porch.

Alice Norris' front porch.

We’ve all heard the Valentine’s Day humbug about today being nothing more than a commercial ploy to get in your pocketbook. Every day should be a day to show your love, right?

OK, so that includes today, yes? Let’s move on.

We asked the Lawrence community to share their most memorable February 14s spent with their loved ones, and to encourage thoughtful entries we dangled a lovely grand prize out there for the best ones: Valentine’s dinner for two at Pachamama’s, which even at $60 a plate is always sold out weeks in advance, and a room for two at the brand new Oread hotel, a $230-worth free test run of Lawrence’s newest monument.

You sent us well over 100 stories of all kinds — here are the ones that we found interesting or unique in some way. If you missed out on the contest, you can still post your own Valentine's Day story in the comments section below!


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Ann Dean's husband, Ryan Johnson, on a Valentine's Day hike near Boulder, Colo., in 1996. Dean's story won our 2010 Valentine's Day contest, and the grand prize: Valentine’s dinner for two at Pachamama’s and a room for two at The Oread hotel.


By Ann Dean, Lawrence

My husband Ryan and I usually don’t make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day but in 1996 we decided to do something different to celebrate: a trip to Boulder, Colo. to visit friends. One day we went to Boulder Falls to hike. We got there and it was beautiful, especially for a couple of Kansas kids who hadn’t seen much of the mountains. My husband ended up veering off the trail. I was a little intimidated by the surroundings and I called out to him not to go too far. Before I knew it I saw Ryan 60 feet high above us on a small precipice of rock enjoying the view and looking like the king of the world, with arms outstretched and a big smile on his face. I took a picture.

The next thing I saw the love of my life sliding over the edge of the cliff and falling through the air feet first. My heart stopped and all I could hear was my friend screaming his name at the top of her lungs, just like a scene from a horror movie. Somehow he spun around in mid-air, bounced off a boulder and landed on the path directly in front of us. I couldn’t move, all I could think to myself was that I had witnessed my valentine falling to his death.

He had a huge gash above his eye, but amazingly he was conscious and said “Whoa!” We got him to the car and quickly drove to the hospital. He had dislocated his shoulder and needed 30 stitches, but thankfully the CAT scan revealed no damage to his brain.

After all the excitement I asked him what had happened. He said the ground simply crumbled under his feet and he started to slide. The last image in his mind before he went over the edge was grasping for a blade of grass like Wile E. Coyote.

The doctors told me Ryan had a minor concussion and I was supposed to wake him up every hour to make sure he knew his name and what day it was. Valentine’s Day! Needless to say, our Valentine’s celebrations have been pretty mellow since then.


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Demetrius and Jessica Carlyle.


By Jessica Carlyle, Lawrence

My boyfriend and I had a wedding to go to on Valentine’s Day last year so we decided to celebrate our Valentine’s Day on Friday, Feb. 13. When I got home from work, he gave me a dress and matching coat to wear for the rest of the evening. He’d also scheduled a manicure and pedicure. After I got back from that, we left Lawrence to head up to Overland Park. When we got there, he suggested that we go play games at Chuck E. Cheese until our dinner reservation. So we played games and then went to redeem our tickets. While one guy was explaining to me all the prizes on the wall, another guy put the ring in the prize case.

I was looking at all the little trinkets not knowing what was about to happen. Then I saw the ring. It took me awhile to realize what was going on. I looked at the ring, then looked at him, then looked back at the ring. He then got down on one knee in Chuck E. Cheese and proposed!

We then went to dinner at my favorite restaurant, the Cheesecake Factory. I had called both my best friend and mom to tell them the good news but neither of them answered the phone. After dinner, he took me to our hotel room for the night. The room was completely decorated with flower petals and a homemade photo album. He then suggested we check out the living part of the hotel room that was through the door. I opened the door and there stood all of our family and friends. Not only did I get a surprise proposal, I got a surprise engagement party!


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Monica Roberts with her boyfriend Grayson.


By Monica Roberts, Lawrence

February 14, 2008 was a Valentine’s Day I'll never forget. My crush at the time asked me to be his Valentine and I was absolutely thrilled. His name was Grayson and he was basically the man of my dreams. I had no idea what the plans were, but I had high expectations. I made sure to spend quite awhile on my hair and makeup. Finally, the time came, and Grayson came to pick me up — with a blindfold. I was excited. After being blindfolded, I got in his car and we drove for about 15 minutes. Eventually he tells me to take off my blindfold, revealing… a McDonald’s drive-through. You’ve got to be kidding me! He kind of laughed and said he thought it would be funny to eat here. I swallowed away my high hopes and was able to soak up the humor of the situation. I was told anything off the dollar menu was fair game. I ordered a couple of items and Grayson pulled through to the next window — and realized that he had forgotten his wallet. Are you kidding me? We scrounged up enough change in the car for our meal. I couldn't help but laugh! Turns out that this was the start of a great relationship, as Grayson officially asked me to be his girlfriend later that day. We will be celebrating our two-year anniversary this Sunday.


By Isaac Sheppard, Lawrence

To most, Valentine’s Day is a time of romance where a quiet evening, box of chocolates and a dozen roses are on the top of the list. The day is filled with magical surprises, life changing proposals and the sweet sounds of Kenny G.

While others profess their love by candlelight, I will be yelling it at the top of my lungs over the roar of 1500-horsepower monster trucks. I will be surprising my special someone with front row tickets to fire-breathing, bus-crushing, 4-mile-per-gallon I love you's. Substitute the chocolates for hot dogs, the roses for 40 oz. monster koozies and the romantic dinner for a mullet-filled arena. Now we've got ourselves a good ’ol Kansas Valentine’s Day. Pick up a couple truck stop T-shirts on the way over and the day is complete — and you better believe them shirts won't have sleeves for too long! (So how about that grand prize its, lookin' like i'm gonna need it!)


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Allan and Louise Hanson.


By Louise Hanson, Lawrence

For many, Valentine’s Day is an unnecessary, even silly holiday. The marketing of chocolates, flowers, restaurants and greeting cards commercializes any sincere and heartfelt expression of love.

But my husband Allan and I never fail to celebrate it. For us, it brings back the portentous day 51 years ago — February 14, 1959 — when we met. Princeton’s Glee Club had trekked the 17 miles along New Jersey’s Route 27 to Douglass College to sing a concert version of Mozart’s Idomeneo — an opera on the theme of love.

I remember like yesterday the curly-headed blond Glee Club member who sat next to me at dinner. After the concert, we passed up the mixer event in favor of a walk through the campus. The two of us headed for the cloakroom (such an old-fashioned word!), which held a veritable sea of winter coats.

“I’ll find yours,” I said. The bold offer made little sense as I had never seen it. I proceeded to scan the dozens of wooly possibilities, lifted one from a hook — a reversible number, tweed on one side and trench coat material on the other — and gave it to him declaring, “This is it.” And it was.

We’ve never been able to figure out how I did that. There must have been magic in the air. He donned the coat, I tied my white angora bonnet with the fur-tipped strings, and we set out into the frosty night. We walked the evening away. Eventually we walked the years and decades away. We still like opera — and each other — a lot.


By Jamie Price, Lawrence

My husband proposed to me on Valentine’s Day 16 years ago. We always celebrate by going out to dinner and a movie here in Lawrence. Of course the theater is always very busy this night, but we’re persistent in our pursuit to keep the tradition. Several years ago we were a bit late to the movie and in our haste we parked our car in a very tight space. Upon returning to our car we found a very beautiful hand-written note on the windshield that read, “If I had wanted to get this close to you, I would have given you a Valentine’s Day Card.” We laughed so hard that evening, and now, of course, we fondly remember this every Valentine’s Day and attempt to watch our car parking behavior as a result.


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Synthia Somerhalder with her Valentine, Koshka Cat.


By Synthia Somerhalder, Lawrence

My Valentine’s Days have always ended up being just another day, whether because I was dating an unromantic fellow, been single, or we just didn't feel like doing anything special.

The most special was V-Day 2008 when I brought the love of my life home with me; I adopted my Koshka Cat from the Lawrence Humane Society. We spent the evening cuddled up on my couch watching movies. It was one for the history books.


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Frank and Shelley Diehl.


By Shelley Diehl, Lawrence

Call me madcap, but Valentine’s Day brings back memories of autopsy photos and how I met my husband.

I was fresh out of law school and fortunate enough to have been hired as a new Assistant District Attorney in the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. It was all about business as I was studying for the Bar Exam, learning about the criminal justice system and trying hard to make a good impression.

In my second week on the job, Frank appeared at my cubicle and asked what I was doing. Frank was the “go-to” guy in the office, a sage veteran in the war against crime. Good grief, here he was in my office.

Frank began to tell me about the murder trial he was handling at the moment. The story was fascinating and I hung on his every word. It was a rainy night when K.L.M. broke into the home of his drug dealer, but D.D. heard the clatter even through the lightening and thunder. D.D. left the safety of his bed to investigate. Frank described the terrible row between the two men in what was, presumably, a burglary gone bad. In the end, D.D. dropped to the floor, grievously wounded. K.L.M. escaped into the night.

It was at this point in the story that Frank asked if I wanted to see autopsy pictures. I was totally in awe that such an experienced attorney would share so much with a newbie, and very much wanted to prove my mettle, I replied, “Sure.” Off he went.

Upon his return with photographs of D.D. on the "slab," Frank began to explain D.D.'s demise in more detail. During the struggle, K.L.M. had managed to pick up one of D.D.'s golf clubs and had proceeded to bash D.D. about the head with it over and over and over again. Frank placed a photo in front of me where obvious signs of trauma to D.D's skull could be seen. There were big black Frankenstein stitches on his left frontal lobe where the golf club landed. But, that wound wasn't the cause of death Frank went on. With his index finger on the obvious depression at the temple, Frank slowly and somberly announced, “We in the profession...we call this a divot.”

I immediately realized the joke was on me! I ordered Frank to get on his horse and get out of my office — well, maybe not in those words, but he got the idea. Once I settled down I realized that I had just told the “go-to” guy off. Smart.

Apparently, I passed the test and we were married in 1994. For sentimental reasons, I include a copy of D.D.’s photo in Frank’s Valentine’s cards.


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Alison and Ross Dessert.


By Alison Dessert, Eudora

Seven years ago, my then-boyfriend, Ross, and I were attempting a long-distance relationship. I was living in Omaha and he was in Lawrence. KU students from Nebraska venturing home for a visit know that the drive along I-29 becomes all too familiar all too quickly. On the eve of the great day of love, I was once again preparing for the three-hour trip down the lonely highway to see my valentine.

That evening before I left, he called and asked me to check my email. In my message from him, I found a riddle. After a closer look, I realized it was a clue. This clue was the first in a long line of clues that would lead me on a scavenger hunt all along I-29. I was smiling ear to ear, as I knew this trip would be unlike any other.

As I set out, my hunt involved stopping at a variety of places that I had passed by many times before but never needed to notice: a covered bridge, a mailbox at a rest stop, a coffeehouse in St. Joseph, a stop sign near the Weston exit...

My romantic beau had driven the drive himself and placed little poems and a rose at each spot along the way with a clue as to where to go next. As I beamed down the highway, I could not have imagined what was waiting for me at the finish line. At Sacred Heart Church in Leavenworth, not only was my flesh and blood valentine waiting for me, but also a ring and proposal for marriage.

Seven years later, when my husband and I drive I-29 North to visit my family, the memories of our engagement are still fresh in our minds. I only have to look at that ordinary Phillips 66 to feel extraordinarily loved.


By Rachna A. Govind, Lawrence

Well, last year I had just started to get to know this really awesome guy. I asked him if he would like to come over to make dinner and watch a movie for Valentine’s Day because we knew the restaurants were going to be crazy busy and personally, I just wanted to get intimate with him. So, dinner was great and it was time to choose a movie. He suggested that since I had never seen the movie “Team America: World Police,” that we should watch it. I hesitantly agreed and we started watching the movie. The movie is playing along and I'm getting bored so I decide to put the moves on him. Things start getting hot and heavy and neither of us realize that the movie has suddenly stopped. Time goes by and all of sudden the movie kicks back up and all of a sudden and we hear a very loud Kim Jong-II say “Herrrroooooo.”

Having never seen the movie, my first thought was that someone was in my apartment. So of course, I jump up and hit my freaking head against my Valentine and scream at the top of my lungs. He looks at me and says “what the hell are you screaming about.” I said I heard someone say "Herrrooo" and they must be in my apartment. I finally realized that it was the freaking movie and was utterly embarrassed! Needless to say, that spoiled the mood and he eventually left. Good thing I’m a great cook — we ended up dating anyway and are together today.


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Rachael Juhls with her fiance John Meyers.


By Rachael Juhls, Lawrence

I have an amazing guy in my life. At the time we were just dating (now we are engaged.) He knows how I love romantic things, and while he isn’t really into Valentine’s Day, we always do something because he knows it is important to me. Valentine’s Day a couple years ago we were both broke college students and I wasn't expecting much. We did dress up and go out to a nice dinner at my favorite restaurant, which was good enough for me, but there was more. When we got back to his place he led me on a treasure hunt around his apartment with little rhyming notes that eventually led to roses in the oven, champagne in the fridge, and chocolates in the shower. It was fun and totally made my night and got him out of wrapping any presents (something he hates to do). I never expect or want anything for this holiday, except to spend time with him, but he always goes out of his way to make it a special day for me and for that I truly appreciate him even more.


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Kelly and Michael Rowland.


By Kelly Rowland, Lawrence

When my husband and I were dating in college, we agreed not to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day due to being broke students. We always celebrated, but it was often a spaghetti dinner at home a la Lady and the Tramp instead of filet with lobster tails at a crowded restaurant. For Valentine’s Day 2007 (the year we got married), I woke up with a note next to me, telling me to go into my office. When I got there, I found my iPod with a note saying to turn it on while opening a card. When I turned on the iPod, he'd set it to play Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight," which we (okay, mostly I) had chosen to be the song we would dance to at our wedding. He’d given me two cards, one that was silly and slightly inappropriate, the other warm and romantic.

The fact that he not only remembered that song, but put such thought into the way he wanted me to listen to it, was really a special moment for me. It made our first dance at our wedding that October even more memorable. I’m fortunate that my husband knows how to spoil me without spending a lot of money (especially since we're STILL living on a student budget. Valentine’s Day, to me, isn’t about a showy display of affection or what some might call a “Hallmark holiday” (apologies to my husband's uncle, who works at Hallmark). It’s a gentle reminder of all the little things we do for each other throughout the year to make the other smile.


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Megan Durbin's Valentine Matt (left) with his friend Micah in Colorado.


By Megan Durbin, Lawrence

My boyfriend Matt had not seen his best friend Micah in over a year. While I had never met Micah, I felt like I knew him because Matt always talked about him. I could tell he really missed him. Last year for Valentine’s Day I was looking around online for a good present for him, I noticed his favorite band in the whole world, Lydia, was playing in Colorado — where Micah lives. But it was the weekend of Valentine’s Day. So I had to decide whether I would rather send him to see his best friend and favorite band, or spend Valentine’s Day with me.

I decided to buy Matt and Micah concert tickets. I got Micah’s number from Matt's phone and made sure my plan would be fine with him. I then bought a gas card to go along with the tickets. While we were eating dinner at the Brick Oven in Topeka, I gave him his gift in three envelopes. One had a picture of him and Micah that I printed off of the Internet that said “You’re going to see Micah!” The other envelopes had a ‘time off’ request from his work and a copy of the tickets to see Lydia.

While they were there at the concert, I called the bar got the bartender to open a tab for them. They ended up spending quite a bit of money on my card, but I didn’t care, because I could tell how happy Matt was to see his friend again. Micah even sent me a thank you card a week later! I do not know many 20-something guys who would do that.


By Alex O'Neill, Lawrence

Last Valentine’s Day was the best I've ever had.

Early last year I began dating an awesome girl and as Valentine’s Day approached I knew I had to do something spectacular. Even though we had only been dating a few weeks, she already meant a lot to me. Since I was on a budget, I had to be creative.

On Valentine’s Day morning, I sent a mysterious package to her work with instructions not to open it until 4 p.m. When she did open it she found a menu from a local Italian restaurant and a blindfold. Also included were instructions to text me her order and to wear the blindfold when she arrived at my apartment that evening. When she arrived, I led her to a seat at a small table in my living room. I got down on a knee, holding a rose, and told her to remove the blindfold.

The first thing she saw was my living room with a table placed dead center, the windows covered in dark sheets and the entire room lit by dozens of candles. Then she looked down at me and I asked her to be my girlfriend. We enjoyed wine, and a truly romantic candle-lit dinner. After dinner she found the trail of candy leading to a more cozy place where we snuggled and watched “An Affair to Remember.”

That wonderful evening goes to show that just a little creativity can turn a great night into a special memory worth holding on to.


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Rae Hudspeth.


By Rae Hudspeth, Lawrence

My most interesting Valentine’s Day story was actually a night of singledom, along with an entire group of other singles. I was invited to join the Anti-Vday Pub Crawl for singles only, and it’s right up there in my list of Best Times in Lawrence.


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Jennifer and Eric Howerton in Paris.


By Jennifer Howerton, Grandview, Mo.

This is the story of how my husband and I spent our first Valentine’s Day together sleeping on the street outside a bus station, hungry, freezing, homeless and broke — in the rain.

In early spring of 2003, I was a fresh KU graduate and had just moved back to Kansas City. While in line at my local movie rental store, I ran into an old friend who I'd run around with during my time in Lawrence. We exchanged the usual pleasantries, and by the time the conversation ended, we'd decided that he'd come over that evening to watch the movie I was renting. The old friendship grew into more, and after a few months we were spending a lot of time together. There was, as one could expect with any decent love story, a big problem: I'd already made plans to move to Europe for a year in the fall. That summer was a whirlwind of fun and excitement as our feelings for each other grew, but I was resolute in my determination to continue on as planned. Isn't it just common luck that love would find me at such an inconvenient time?

Fall came, and I left. Our parting was, as one can imagine, difficult. The next few months were equally difficult, as my brain just kept nagging at me about him. Despite my best efforts to forget about everything and enjoy myself, I kept coming around to the surprising idea that this guy might be the one. After much soul searching, I came to the conclusion that this relationship was worth cultivating and that I needed to return to the U.S. to follow it out wherever it lead.

One evening I called him to tell him that I was coming home. Before I could get the words out of my mouth, he informed me that he'd quit his job and was coming to Europe to join me! I was electrified, and couldn't wait to see him. We decided to spend 2004 backpacking together, and true to his word, a few weeks later he met me in Dublin.

The beginning of our journey took us from Ireland to England. On February 13th, 2004, we left Dublin on a bus for what we thought was an overnight bus/ferry trip to Liverpool, and then a morning bus to London. As it turns out, we were deposited at the Liverpool bus station at 1 a.m. on February 14th. Tired, frustrated, and unsure of how to travel with one another, we set about the task of finding lodging. Unfortunately for us, there was a massive football game in town the next day. We walked around the city (through quite a few unpleasant parts, mind you) for two hours, unable to find anywhere to sleep. To make matters even worse, we had a pocket full of Euros, so we couldn't even purchase food or a warm drink.

We returned to the bus station around 3 a.m., and resigned ourselves to sleeping outside until the station opened at 7 a.m. What a romantic first Valentine’s Day together! We were dirty, irritable and feeling hopeless. I’d had a terrible temper tantrum which would have driven away any sane man, and he’d become pretty darn frustrated with me when I was making myself a bit too noticeable in some seedier areas of the city. It was cold and the concrete was hardly comforting as we sat against a wall to try to get some sleep. Acknowledging the slight humor in our situation, he turned to me and said, “Well, at least it’s not raining.” Would you like to guess what happened next? You've got it — the skies opened up and the hours-long downpour began.

You can imagine our state the next day — we were soaked to the skin, deliriously tired, kind of smelly, probably not very attractive, and definitely in rotten moods. Somehow, though, we turned it all around and had the adventure of our lives, which set off the relationship of our lives. It turns out he was the one, and today we’re very happily married with a baby on the way. Some day, we’ll have a wonderful story to tell our children as we laugh at ourselves that cold night!


By Vicki Schrant, Lawrence

It was my freshmen year at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. My boyfriend, Daniel, of one year was attending KU in Lawrence. It was the middle of the week and we were both busy with tests and projects. I was disappointed we wouldn't get to see each other on Valentine’s Day. I got up the morning of Valentine’s Day, expecting nothing and went about my morning routine. I headed to the on-campus gym and wasn't working out more than 5 minutes when Daniel walked through the door. He told me he had a surprise for me. We walked over to the campus lounge where Daniel had set up breakfast for two and had a dozen roses. He had even stopped by Muncher’s bakery to get my favorite pastries.

Daniel had gotten up incredibly early to drive an hour to see me, spend half an hour eating breakfast and drive another hour back in order to make it to class by 10 a.m. It was the perfect surprise and I had a smile on my face the rest of the day. In May we will have been married two years and we are the proud parents of our two-month old son, Levi.


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The Leekers.


By Michelle Leeker, Wellsville

My husband Bill and I try to celebrate every Valentine's Evening together as a family. One year, our son Trevor that was terminally ill with Krabbe Disease took a turn for the worse so we celebrated Valentine's early. On Valentine’s Day 2001 we had to take him off all his machines. Three days later, he passed away. We have never celebrated Valentine’s Day again. Last year, after eight years, we decided to try to go out to eat as a family and try to enjoy Valentine’s Day again, but our oldest son Zac ended up with the flu. We felt like that was a sign, so we stayed home together. This year, our daughter Hope is 8 years old and has never celebrated a Valentine’s Day, so we decided that it was time to see if we can start a new tradition.


By Mike Anderson, Lawrence

I surprised my girlfriend with tickets to see B.B. King perform in KC. I wanted to make it a special night since it was our first Valentine’s Day together. Over cocktails before the concert, I told her that I’d booked dinner reservations at two nice restaurants for their latest times. I wasn’t sure how long the concert would last and I wanted her to pick the restaurant. As we found our seats before the concert, a man directly in front of us convulsed and slumped over in his chair. Chairs began flying all around and a woman started screaming uncontrollably. The man was having a heart attack and he died right in front of us. Then the concert ran long and I realized there was no way we’d make either dinner reservation. Feeling strange and defeated, we wondered over to the P&L; and ending up eating grill food around midnight. Let’s just say we're looking forward to a calmer night in Lawrence for Valentine’s Day this year!


By Tammy Van Dyne, McLouth

My husband and I have been married for 5 years. The Valentine’s Day before we got married, he (who is not a romantic) took me to Bambinos on Mass for dinner. Afterward, we went to the bowling alley where he gave me a single stem red rose and we bowled. I know it isn't very romantic but knowing he isn't that romantic at all, this was wonderful for me. Afterwards, we went and stayed in a hotel with a hot tub and just enjoyed the night. It was a great Valentine’s Day treat.


By Hillary Badger, Lawrence

A year ago this Valentine’s Day, he worked at a flower shop. I had no idea what to expect and we had only talked about doing something low key. First, instead of being cliché and sending me flowers, he sent me a life size card filled with love quotes. And not you’re every-day, every-year, over-used love quotes. You could tell he had spent a lot of time filling that huge card. We didn't end up hanging out until about 10 p.m. that evening, and I still just thought we were going to watch a movie or something. When I showed up, he had my favorite dinner prepared for me and we sat on the floor. After starting dinner, he looked at me and asked me if I had any idea what we were doing that night. Then he pulled out all of the supplies for us to make a scrapbook. He’s an awesome artists (at least I think so) and he drew while I picked out special memories and recapped how we met. After a couple hours of scrapbook, our own book which I still have, we watched “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (our favorite movie together). The night was perfect, it was not overdone, cheesy, or cliché. I still look back and wonder how he was that creative and came up with a Valentine’s idea that I had never even heard about. I kept everything, the card, the scrapbook, and of course the movie. Honey, thanks for making that one of the best Valentine’s Day I've ever had!


By Lorri Coleman, Lawrence

My children made me breakfast in bed. All four of them could hardly get along but this Valentine’s Day was different. I didn't hear any yelling or tattling. They opened the door and told me they loved me and brought me breakfast in bed. Can’t get much better than that. Nothing could have been better — not diamonds, candy, nothing. To have my four wonderful children showing each other love and letting me know they loved me was the greatest gift I could of wanted! Thank you Danielle, Kevin, Kionna and Zackiyah for that wonderful Valentine’s Day! All my love, Mommy.


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Alice Norris' front porch.


By Alice Norris, Lawrence

In the almost 50 years we have been married my husband David has given me a variety of gifts. Some sweet smelling, some sweet tasting, dinners out and trips to movies and such, but this is the one that will always be my favorite. I came home from work that Valentine’s Day. Parked my little VW in front of the house, grabbing my purse and keys I climbed out of the car and glanced toward the house. There, on our big front porch stood a board 8 foot tall with a BIG red heart painted on it along with the words “How Do I Love Thee”. I still smile when I think of it. We had no money that year for candy or flowers so being the creative thinker he was David used that piece of plywood and some old paint to give me the Biggest Valentine I have ever seen.


By Sarah Spears, Lawrence

So at my undergrad back in Utah, our chemistry professor, Dr. Uhlig, liked playing matchmaker for his students for some strange, creepy reason. He'd give extra credit for little things like going on dates and bringing back the ticket stub, attending student socials, etc. He was also a bit of a sexist. Prior to Valentine’s Day he announced to the class that for the male students he'd give extra credit if they took a girl out on a date. Most of the girls then exclaimed, "What about us?" to which he responded, "You have to bring a male stripper to class to perform," thinking this an insurmountable task for the very conservative population of Utah. Most of the girls thought this impossible. My friend Wendy and I, always in desperate need for extra credit, took him on.

We didn't know any male strippers, exhibitionists, or really any guys that would be willing to take their clothes off in front of 50 chemistry students on Valentine’s Day. But we didn't give up. Finally we convinced our friend Cody that we'd buy him dinner if he did it, and he, being your typical starving college student, reluctantly agreed. We bought him boxers covered in hearts, told him he had to strip down to those, and told him to come up with something.

People knew we were up to something: word gets around on a small Utah campus like wildfire and that morning not only the class was chattering, but people were gathering in the hallway outside of the classroom to sneak a peek of Cody shaking it in his boxers. Dr. Uhlig, too, sensed something was up, so before he even started lecturing he told whoever was responsible for the crowd to come down to the front. Wendy and I got up, and immediately Dr. Uhlig said, "Ah, I knew it would be you two. Alright, where is he? Let's get this over with." We were nervous that Cody would have bailed out from stage fright, but he emerged from the crowd in the hall, dressed as a....cowboy. Dr. Uhlig set two chairs up in the front, Wendy and I sat down, and it began.

Cody brought a boombox and started playing Kid Rock's "I Wanna Be a Cowboy" and proceeded to work the crowd into a frenzy, ripping his shirt off and, tearing off those convenient tear-away pants. I began to wonder if he had done this before. He danced and shook his cute little butt in those silly heart-covered boxers and a cowboy hat, and I could not believe this was actually happening. Once he finished, Wendy and I got up but Dr. Uhlig stopped us immediately. "Oh no, no extra credit unless you kiss him," he tells us, which horrified me because I was in a very happy relationship and didn't want to ruin it. But two girls desperate for extra credit will do anything. Mine was a peck on the lips, but I think Wendy might have taken a bit more advantage of the situation.

So that was the end of our Valentine’s Day extra credit caper. I rushed over to my boyfriend's apartment right afterwards in tears and apologized for kissing another boy. Jeff, who knew all about the original plan, just laughed, gave me a hug and told me he loved me. It wasn't until dinner in the cafeteria, when Cody also apologized to Jeff for giving me a lap dance, that Jeff almost choked on his food. "What? A lap dance? You said it was just dancing!" But it all worked out in the end; Jeff proposed to me two months later and we've been married for six years since. Oh, and as for getting engaged, I got 20 points extra credit in Dr. Uhlig's chemistry class.



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