Once upon a time, there were two people whose paths crossed in a feat of good fortune. They left the past behind, becoming one. They became their best selves. Families blended, and the future was a beautiful red carpet, rolled out for the two who finally found true love. Here are four local love stories to inspire you this Valentine's Day.
Jacque and Joe Digieso
Our meeting was a typical college experience. He was a senior and by May, we were engaged. We planned to move to Australia and raise cattle. Then the Vietnam War interrupted our plans. Joe worked for Meadow Gold Dairies and was assigned to Cam Rahn Bay dairy plant to provide milk, ice cream and cottage cheese for the soldiers in Vietnam. He was also drafted at that time but received an occupational deferment. Our wedding plans were put on hold. On December 12, 1968, I received a patch call over ham radio. There were no cell phones then and we corresponded with that funny airmail stationery that folded into an envelope and took weeks to arrive! Joe was on the line saying, “Do you still want to get married? Over.” I giddily replied, “Yes, of course! Over.” He said, “Plan to fly to Bangkok as soon as you can. I’ll meet you there. Over.”
My parents booked a flight for January 3, 1969, and quickly ordered announcements (my Southern mother followed protocol). She even planned an engagement/bon voyage party. Twenty years later we were remarried on January 1 at St. David’s here in Roswell. We celebrated our 50th in Sydney, Australia on New Year's Eve and then enjoyed a cruise around Australia and New Zealand. We love to travel and that was a special trip. We have two grown sons and five grandchildren.
Vernalisa Rougeux and Jake Totri
We actually met randomly at a farmers market. Our kids attended the preschool where I taught performing arts the previous year. I had never met him before so we were shocked to figure out that connection. He invited me to a wine tasting with his family the evening after we met, and since I didn't have my kids that weekend and no plans, I went. I love that we have a picture of that day.
We started getting together regularly for playdates for our kids, going on hikes, visiting playgrounds and rock climbing gyms, and just letting them play. We were enjoying spending time together as much as the kids did... and ended up falling for one another. Fast forward two and a half years, and we are now engaged to be married and living as a beautifully blended family in Roswell, where it all began. We will spend Valentine’s Day with our three kids making heart-shaped pizza, as usual.
Amy and Steve Stroud
We met when I interviewed for a job in Roswell in early 2016. Steve, in his role as executive director of Roswell Inc., was part of the interview committee. During the interview process we discovered that he had just joined the board of North Fulton Community Charities, an organization that my uncle Ed La House helped establish and who still served on the board. He attended high school with my cousin William La House. Apparently my cousin helped Steve pass math. This was all very funny since I had grown up and spent my first 43 years in Connecticut! Small world to say the least. We married in October of 2018.
We love our blended family, but we've also worked really hard at it too. I consider myself blessed to have Steve’s girls in my life and I think they've gained a huge and wonderful group of aunts, uncles, an amazing grandmother, and lots of cousins on my side. We love having everyone together. I cook and Steve and the girls clean-up. The rule is that we eat at the dining room table, which is wonderful because we always end up sitting around talking for hours - the very best part of the day! That rule was my non-negotiable when we moved in together.
Eileen and Billy Reeves, Jr.
For their fourth wedding anniversary two years ago, Eileen and Billy Reeves, Jr. got matching tattoos with their initials, “B&E.” They are retired, enjoy international travel (Cabo San Lucas this month), and take great pleasure in surprising one another with special gifts.
Eileen shares their story.
On July 29 2010, Billy had a consultation scheduled at Thomas Eye Group where I was surgical coordinator. Although I would normally discuss routine things when scheduling patients, when Billy walked into my office, the connection was immediate and realized I could have talked to him for hours. After an invitation to dinner through FaceBook, we went on our first date exactly one week later and have been inseparable ever since. We got engaged in Buckhead outside Umi and tied the knot in Doonbeg, Ireland on July 29, 2018. We are living life at its best, and we call it “The Adventures of B&E.”
There is a common thread of each anniversary that we love – we always find out what the traditional gifts are for each year and come up with creative ideas to incorporate them into our presents. A favorite was for our first anniversary. Billy had business cards created with our information on them including a logo that has become our “brand.” Look us cruising up and down Canton Street in our Veuve Cliquot-inspired orange Moke, and we are always enjoying cocktails on our bench on Canton Street across from Zest.