Princeton Times

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February 15, 2013

Love Stories 2013: Not quite 'Casablanca,' but more real, longer lasting

PRINCETON — Editor’s note: In a time when the world celebrates love, the Princeton Times is excited to announce the winners of our 2013 Love Stories competition. Elizabeth “Beth” and Michael “Goose” Sizemore are the recipients of the grand prize, which includes a dozen roses from Roller Floral, a heart-shaped cake from Sweet Nothings, dinner for two from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen and two tickets to The Summit Players’ Vaudeville Las Vegas. In addition to the Sizemores’ story, we’re proud to publish two additional submissions that also touched our hearts; we hope they warm yours, too. Happy Valentine’s Day weekend.

In 1987, I was a 22-year-old living on my own in Athens.  I had a job and was a full-time student.

A friend of mine who was in a fraternity kept telling me I needed to meet this friend of his, a fellow frat brother.  I kept telling my friend Randy that I was not interested, especially after he told me this guys name was “Goose.” I imagined some mangy looking, beer guzzling, jerk from Animal House.

After about a year of this, my friend finally took the bull by the horns and just showed up on my door step with his “Goose” in tow.  He was sort of mangy looking, but very tall and boyishly handsome.  The three of us rode into Princeton to get some food.

By the time we returned to my trailer, I was smitten. He was funny, kind, creative, sensitive, spontaneous, adventurous and more than a little WILD. I tried to “run into” him every chance I got, but the semester was over and my friend and Goose were going to Florida to live for the summer. I went to New Mexico that summer to visit my Dad and I fell in love with the southwest the minute I stepped off the plane in Albuquerque.

When they returned in August, Goose and I ran into each other the first day of classes and agreed to meet at the dance in the ballroom that night. We became nearly inseparable for the next nine months. But I had vowed that when I graduated, I was going back to NM.  True to my word, after graduating in May 1989, I packed up my U-Haul and headed West.  Goose, always the free spirit, decided to join me and we headed out!

We had no jobs and not much money when we arrived in Carlsbad NM. That summer we experienced being poor for the first time. I worked as a radio DJ, waitress and store clerk while Goose hung out and airbrushed t-shirts in a local park! We didn’t have a working car, so we rode bikes everywhere we went! I was waiting to get a “real” job working for the State of New Mexico. In late August, Goose decided to leave and come back to WV to finish college. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to follow him “home,” but I had promised myself I was going to stay at least one year.

In October, 1989 I moved up to Santa Fe and started working. It was wonderful, exciting, scary and lonely.  Long distance is tough, we had loads of fights over the phone and even more tears. In November, Goose called and said he wanted to come back to NM. He finished the semester, moved back in with his folks and started saving money. In April 1990, he rolled back into SF with a Ford F-150 heaped full of junk and covered with a blue tarp. I’m sure folks thought the Beverly Hillbillies were moving in!

We had many wonderful adventures together and learned a lot about ourselves and each other. In June, 1991, we were married! We never thought about coming back to WV during those years. But in April 1994, everything changed. Once we were parents, all we could think about was getting home to where our “people” were. So in January 1995, we again packed up our belongings in a U-Haul and this time we headed east.

There were more than a few doubters, people who thought we would never survive, but Michael and I have now been married for almost 22 years. We are more in love now than we thought was possible. The good times, the adventures, parenthood, the small joys, they have made us appreciate how lucky we are. The hard times, the loss, the worries, they have forged a mighty bond between us. It’s not “Casablanca,” but it’s honest, real and lasting!

— Beth Sizemore

Athens

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