Louise and Ian Webb didn't believe in love at first sight -- until it happened to them.
In 1960, they both attended a Unitarian group social in Evanston, Ill., the home of Northwestern University, just north of Chicago.
Louise was a 26-year-old fourth-grade teacher who had previously taught in Hawaii and France but was back in her hometown of Evanston to study for a master's degree in education. She was sitting with a man she had just met. Unbeknown to her, Ian, 24, had spotted her across the crowded room. Ever resourceful, Ian figured out a way to approach her and strike up a conversation.
Suddenly appearing at her table, he politely said, "How do you do? My name is Ian Webb. Can I get you dessert?"
He certainly had her with "dessert." Louise thought to herself: "Where did this handsome blond man come from?"
During a brief conversation, she learned he originally came from Santa Barbara but was at Northwestern, also studying for a master's degree. Not one for Chicago winters, he said he planned to return to California to study for a doctorate.
"Everything clicked," she says. "His looks, personality and background."
That night she went home and told her mother, "I met the man I'm going to marry."
Ian was similarly smitten: "He went home and prayed we would get married someday," Louise says.
Their courtship began in earnest and culminated with their marriage in 1962. Both worked as teachers when they first lived in Santa Barbara and then after they settled in Saratoga in 1968. Ian taught electronics technology at West Valley College, while Louise worked as a substitute elementary schoolteacher and raised their daughter, Patty. Louise later wrote freelance stories and columns for their hometown newspaper, the Saratoga News.
For their 50th anniversary, the ever-clever Ian plotted a major surprise, fooling Louise into thinking they were first going to South America and then to Hawaii. Their true destination? Tahiti, the Polynesian archipelago Louise had long dreamed of visiting.
Alas, a check-in agent at San Jose International gave away the surprise when he held up a luggage tag for both to see, which indicated their luggage should be transferred at LAX to Air Tahiti Nui.
Still, Louise was thrilled, and it was the vacation of a lifetime. They renewed their vows in Tahiti, on the deck of a ship. Tahitian music softly played in the background as a man read a poem that reminded the pair of the beauty of love at first sight:
I have carved your name on a leaf
But the wind blew it away
I have carved your name on the beach
But the sea erased it
So I have carved your name in my heart
Where it will stay forever
Love arises from a glance
And blossoms in a kiss.
-- Martha Ross, Staff
If you want to share the story of how you and your partner or best friend met, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "how we met."