They were good friends by the 10th grade, when he asked her to his fraternity's pledge party. "I needed a date and she was a
good sport and decided to step in," says the congressman, a four-term Democrat serving Maryland's Third District.
After that night, "We never went out with anyone else," Myrna says.
Myrna's big heart is one of the reasons Benjamin Cardin fell for her. "She really goes out of her way to give of herself," he says. "I think I recognized that at an early age."
It's easy for Myrna to remember why she fell in love with "Benji" all those years ago.
"He was smart, he was full of adventure, which he still is," Myrna says. "Why not hang around with a guy like that?"
And it didn't hurt that he drove just about the coolest car in town. When they went to the movies at the Crest on Reisterstown Road, he called for her in his mother's brand-new 1959 silver Chevy Impala convertible.
"Can you imagine riding around in that Impala with the top down?" says Myrna, who married the lawmaker on Nov. 24, 1964. "There's nothing to top that." They say timing is everything. It certainly was for Donald Dunson, who was driving along Forest Park Avenue in December 1976, just as his future wife, Odessa, had given up on the No. 15 bus.
Frustrated, she waved to Donald and asked if he could give her a ride to Security Square Mall so she could pick up something to wear for New Year's Eve. On his way home, but no fool to an opportunity, Donald agreed not only to drive her there, but also to wait while she shopped.
"I wasn't really scared," says Odessa, a small-framed woman in her 40s and now an owner of the Metropol Cafe and Art Gallery on Charles Street. "I think people were a little more trustworthy in the '70s with hitchhiking and all."
What else persuaded her to climb into the passenger seat of Donald's 1974 two-toned Chevy Monte Carlo? She was in a familiar neighborhood, she thought she had seen him before and, she emphasizes, "It was a very cold day."
They talked while they drove. "She liked my style and I liked her style," says Donald.
"The fact that he was going to take me out there, and that he was going to wait, I started to think that this must be a really nice person," Odessa says.
They exchanged phone numbers and started to date.
What was it about Odessa that made Donald go out of his way?
"She was so little. Petite," says the 65-year-old retired Northwood tailor, savoring each syllable. "I liked that." He married Odessa on May 30, 1980. Clothes make the man, but Jill DiNola wasn't quite sure what they said about her future husband, Marc, a Baltimore dentist. He was dressed as a skating kangaroo when they met on Halloween night 1990 at an Irish bar on Water Street.
"He had fur on from his head to his toes," says Jill, a psychotherapist. "All you could see was his face."
The DiNolas, who live in Ridgely's Delight near Oriole Park at Camden Yards, were University of Maryland graduate students at the time. He was 24. She was 22. They started talking about in-line skating, and later had a more serious discussion -- about social work and the welfare of children. It was "high-level stuff" that Jill found hilarious, considering she was talking to what looked like a giant stuffed animal. (She had not worn a costume.)
The next night, when they met at a downtown pub, Jill was relieved to take her first glimpse of Marc in street clothes. After all, she says, who knew what the costume could be hiding?
"He was cuter than I had thought," Jill says.
They started dating, and drove to New Jersey together for Thanksgiving a month later. "We stopped for dinner, and during the dinner, he looked over at me and told me that when he first met me, he thought he could marry me," Jill says. "I recall throwing my napkin at him. What could I say to this? It was too scary. In the parking lot, he picked me up and spun me around, and I was thinking, 'This is how it is supposed to be.' "
Oct. 31 continues to be an important date for the couple, who dressed as Frankenstein and his bride last year. They thought the costumes a fitting choice, since they were married three months earlier, on July 9, 1994.
"[Halloween] is one of my favorite holidays," says Marc. If the way to a man's heart is through his ego, Ruth Logsdon gave Mark Noone just the right gift.
After seeing Mark perform with the Slickee Boys, a D.C.-based rock band that was hot in the late '70s and the '80s, Ruth was inspired to paint a portrait of him from a stamp-size photo on the back of one of the group's records.
It wasn't that she was in love with him -- yet. At the time, "I would just draw everything I could get my hands on," says the former Maryland Institute, College of Art student. She actually painted all the band members. "He did strike me as the most interesting one," she says.