Finding Love at Elms College
Many people find their life partner during their college years. We've collected a few of the love stories that began at Elms College. Read the stories and enjoy the photos below, sent to us by your fellow alumni.
On the Friday before Thanksgiving, 1960, my friend, Polly Shea, called to ask if I would be a blind date that night for a friend of the young man she had asked to an Elms Dance. I said yes, and my mother and sister went to work hemming a dress and helping me get ready.
The doorbell rang, and there stood Bill Lucia. The date was OK, but when he asked me to go to a college mixer on the following Friday, I said I was busy. However, my friends, who were there when he asked, insisted that I go.
When I told Polly's mother how I got roped into going out with Bill again, she laughed and said, "Oh, you'll probably end up marrying him!"
Bill and I had a great time on our second date, and the rest is history. After dating for two years, we got engaged on Christmas Day, 1962. My engagement ring was hidden in the smallest of a series of nested, wrapped boxes.
We were engaged for a year and a half, marrying on June 27, 1963. We're still having fun together!
Two interesting postscripts:
- Bill set up Polly's sister, Barbara, on a blind date with the man she later married.
- A photograph in our Elms yearbook shows Bill and me at another Elms dance. Taped up as part of the décor, a sign on the wall next to our table reads, ". . . and those for whom the moment crystallizes into eternity . . ."
Ronald Paul (my brother), Susan (Zebb) Brady (class of 1970), Raymond Pastie (Paul's brother), Barbara (Paul) Pastie (class of 1970), Paul Pastie, Mary (Rigazio) Ghidoni (class of 1970), Edward Ghidoni, Maryann Ahearn (class of 1972).
Although our Elms romance story began in 1967, the coincidences date back to my Mom's wedding in 1947. At that time she had a young 16 year old friend named Dick who attended her wedding in Chicopee. (And my Dad always used to tell the story of how he skipped past the iron gates of the college with his Mom back in the late 1920's when he was only 4 years old.) Fast forward to my teen years when my Mom started a job at the A & P Market in the meat department and received her training from Phyllis.
Now begins my part of the story. When I started at the Elms in 1967, I met a student from Springfield, Mary Rigazio. It didn't take long for Mary and I to realize that her Uncle Dick had attended my Mom's wedding and her Aunt Phyllis had trained my Mom at the A & P. Mary and I became good friends during our Freshman year at the Elms. As we began our Sophomore year, the Ring Dance was coming up and I did not have a date. Mary mentioned that her cousin, Paul, from New Bedford, MA, had already graduated from college and was working for Field Service with General Electric. He had just returned from the West Coast and was living in Pittsfield. She set up a blind date for us so we could meet - going to see "The Sand Pebbles" at the brand new cinemas on Riverdale Road (which my Uncle Cleo helped to build!) and then off to Howard Johnson's for a bite to eat. I think we both knew that night that we were right for each other. The Ring Dance followed as did several months of dating before Paul had to return to the West Coast. When he came home for a vacation in the summer of 1968 we were engaged (he proposed at Look Park in Florence). Paul returned to California but I was determined to get my degree, so we conducted a long-distance romance for nearly two years - writing letters of all things! And then the occasional long-distance phone call (it was expensive in the old days!). We were married on June 27, 1970, a month after I graduated. Mary was my Maid of Honor. My bridesmaids were Sue Brady, a classmate and friend, and my Little Sister, Maryann Ahearn. The photo I included was taken in the Rotunda after our wedding at St. George's Church in Chicopee Falls. And the priest who officiated was my dear childhood parish priest and later chaplain at the Elms, Fr. (later Msgr.) Leo Leclerc.
So here we are nearly 43 years later - still married with two wonderful children and a grandson! Mary (Rigazio) Ghidoni is not only still a friend but is also my cousin. And, best of all, she and her husband, Ed, are godparents to our daughter, Michelle, who graduated from the Elms in 1991.
An Elms romance with (so far) a happy ending.
Our daughter, Michelle; Paul; our grandson, Daniel (he is Michelle's son); Barbara; our son, Daniel.
Lynn Soverow '83 and Frank Heisler meet at the Elms, and were married in Our Lady's Chapel on March 29, 1985.
During my first year at Elms (1987) I frequented the cafeteria (as did many). Upon one lunch venture, I happened to notice a young handsome guy cooking behind the counter. Many trips to the cafeteria ensued and unfortunately, I never knew when he would be there. When he was, I would go through the line with nothing on my tray, only to order a pizza or something later on. After a few months, when I saw him on break in the cafeteria annex, my big sister told me I should ask him to the Christmas dance. This took much convincing on her part! I got the nerve up and somehow and did. He did say "yes" (although my brain didn't register it) and that was the begining of a 1 1/2 yr relationship. He disappeared after that and now, 25 years later, we have reconnected, love each other even more than before and have plans to marry after getting reaquainted for the past year.
A Tale of Two Emotions (written by Bernard MacArthur '96)
In 1992, 6 years after I graduated from Commerce High School, I decided to go back to college to get a degree in Paralegal sciences. The only two places around Springfield that gave out such degrees were Baypath and Elms Colleges. Both colleges were 'female-only' institutions, with the difference that Elms allowed men to take classes as Continuing Education students. I can say that I was one of only 2 men on the campus when I started my schooling at Elms in 1993; when I graduated in 1996 there were a total of 5 men.
In the movie, "When Harry met Sally", there is a scene where Sally is describing Harry as "obnoxious" to her friend. Her friend says, "It's just like in the movies! The woman says, 'He is the most obnoxious man I've ever met' and they end up falling in love and marrying'". I can say that my tale of eventual marriage is very similar to the movie. My wife, Patrice Fagnant-Macarthur ('96) and I (also of '96) met for the first time in February of 1995. I was in the computer lab in Berchman's creating a Valentine's Day card for someone who lived on campus. Pattie, who was waiting to get on the same computer I was using to do some work for an Art class, kept thinking to herself "someone please get this obnoxious man off my computer, now!" Needless to say, she was not enthralled to meet me at this time.
Our next meeting did not go any better.In September I entered one of my History classes taught by Professor Frances Jensen. As I entered the room for Early American History, I surveyed the students there, noting that (once again) I was the only male in the classroom. My future bride also looked up and thought to herself, "OH NO, not him in this class! God is playing jokes on me!!" Pattie was doing a stint as Teacher's Assistant for her degree and thought to herself, right then and there, that maybe she needed to take another class.
When the bell rang, I left Early Am and went to my next class, the era of Jefferson-Jackson (also taught by Mrs. Jensen), wherein I discovered that Pattie and I once again were in the same class. At the point she discovered this; I think she wanted to transfer to another school! As the year progressed, I noticed that Pattie became more and more hostile to me every time I opened my mouth. Anything I said, she argued with - whether my statement was wrong or right. As the semester continued on, I began to like this woman who did nothing but harangue me; it was cute, somewhat like Lucy and Charlie Brown's relationship. In November, I asked her for her phone number. I called Pattie several days later - even though I misplaced her digits and completely forgot about it (she still never lets me forget this)!
On December 2nd of that year we had our first date; 3 months later on March 2nd she answered 'yes' to my proposal of marriage. We set a date of July 25, 1997 as our marriage date, with our ceremony location to be in the Elms College Chapel. We've been happily married now for 15 years (16 in July), and I know, without a doubt, that Pattie still thinks I'm obnoxious!
Note: As far as I know, we were the first two graduates of Elms College to marry. Mrs. Jensen and History Professor Tom Moriarty were two of the many guests at our wedding, which also included several members of the staff in the Continuing Education office, where my wife was working at the time.
Anthony Ruggiero '06 and Coral (Perry) Ruggiero '06 met on the Freshmen Experience trip to NYC in 2002. They began a friendship that soon turned into a relationship. In 2006, during their senior Spring Gala, Tony proposed in front of all their classmates and friends. Even then President, Dr. James Mullen, knew about Tony's plan and wished him luck. Their connection to Elms has continued as Media Mike was the photographer at their 2008 wedding where Sr. Ann Daly was a reader. Also in 2008, Coral began teaching at the Elms as a math adjunct. Coral assists in the Academic Resource Center and Alumni Fundraising, and teaches at STCC as a math adjunct. Tony is a career Lieutenant/Paramedic with UCONN Fire Department and still works per diem as an RN at Hartford Hospital in the Emergency Department. They are expecting their first child, a girl, in July 2013.
We met in the falll of 2004 at Elms, and were happily married in the winter of 2009. We now have a wonderful son Colin Bochman, born 11/10/2010, and are living in Enfield, CT.