Romance has been long-lived for couples


February 14, 2000|By Sally Voris | Sally Voris,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Couples in our community celebrate Valentine's Day in as many ways as designers make pajamas. Some use glamour, some schmaltz to create romantic memories.

Ellicott City resident Bev Wilhide recalls working in the flower shop she and her husband Lee ran on Cooks Lane in Ellicott City more than 10 years ago. It was the day after Valentine's Day -- florists are busy on the day itself.

A limousine pulled up in front of the shop.

"A guy came into the shop and explained [the limousine] was for me," Bev said.

Lee had arranged for her to be driven to a salon for a facial and massage.

She got her nails and hair done and that evening, her husband took her to one of their favorite restaurants, Kings Contrivance.

"Men are programmed to think roses, roses, roses," said Ellicott City resident Ken Mays, whose wife Sandy likes carnations.

He gives her 14 red carnations for Valentine's Day, since it falls on the 14th day of February.

"We both really like to dance -- it's something that connects us and makes us happy," Mays said. They plan to go dancing for the next three weekends.

"It's the second marriage for both of us," Mays explained. "We met on the beach at Bethany. We'd both sworn off relationships."

But when he saw her, all bets were off.

"We went out to dinner and that was it!" Mays said. "It was a magical kind of thing."

The Mays have been married for 14 years.

Janet Kusterer met her husband, Tom, at a college mixer. Tom was a student at Loyola College in Baltimore. Janet was studying at the College of Notre Dame next door.

"He swore he wouldn't marry a Notre Dame girl and I swore I wouldn't marry a Loyola boy," Janet said.

"It was too cliche," she said.

Twenty-seven years and two children later, they are tiling and painting their kitchen as a Valentine's Day present to each other.

Elkridge resident Sam Merson proposed to Esther, his wife of 44 years, on Valentine's Day 1954.

He remembers that he took her on a date. He doesn't remember where, but he knows he drove her home and gave her a diamond ring as they sat parked in his 1954 Belair Chevy in front of her parents' house.

They have four children and 12 grandchildren and are "still happily married," Merson said.

Edna Carey, chief custodian at Deep Run Elementary School, grew up on Meadowridge Road in Elkridge.

She married her husband, Lewis, 25 years ago and raised a daughter, Towanda Myers, now 35.

"Valentine's Day means a lot to both of us," Carey said. "My husband loves my fried chicken and my potato salad."

She cooks him that meal every Valentine's Day.

They have dinner at home and exchange cards. Lewis Carey is a man who expresses himself with his cards, his wife says. And she has kept every one.

Twelve years ago, Elkridge resident Denise Maier baked a pizza pan-sized chocolate chip cookie and drove to Washington, D.C., to give it to her husband, Dave.

"We wanted to surprise him at work and make him feel even more loved," she said.

Her two oldest children, Paul and Sarah, now 17 and 15, respectively, were 5 and 3 then.

Her second daughter, Kerry Ellen, 11, went to her first dance last month at Ascension Catholic Church in Halethorpe.

"It was pretty cool, actually," Kerry Ellen said.

She danced her first slow dance with a boy named Tom.

Sang Oh, assistant to County Executive James N. Robey, met his Valentine five years ago.

On Thursday, the 33-year-old waxed poetic.

"Roses are yellow until you find love, then they become red," he said.

"That reminds me to call the florist or in four days I'll be dead."


Centennial High School will present "Pippin" at 7: 30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Feb. 25 and 26 and at 2: 30 p.m. Sunday. The musical tells the story of Prince Pippin, son of Charlemagne, the Frankish king who lived from 768 to 814.

Director Mo Dutterer has included community members in the school's production.

Students Ben Engle, Laura Lichtenberger and Chris Harris play leading roles.

Student dancers include Rachel Foran, Wendi Whitmire, Kate Watkins and Heather Johnson.

Tickets are $7 and are on sale today at the school. Information: 410-313-2856.


The Melville Chapel United Methodist Church will dedicate its lift and stair-climber at the 11 a.m. service Sunday.

The church is at 5660 Furnace Ave. in Elkridge.

Sam Merson, who is chairman of the board of trustees, will honor those who contributed to the new facilities.

Then the congregation will enjoy a potluck lunch.

Information: Merson, 410-796-2811.

Memorial scholarship

The Howard County Youth Program is accepting applications for its seventh HCYP-Christopher Kelley Memorial Scholarship. Kelley, who participated in the sports program, was killed in a car accident.

The scholarship awards $1,000 to a senior entering college who has been involved in an HCYP sports program.

Information: Patti Mackey, 410-489-5656.

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