In her story from Mysterious Ways, Kathryn Camgemi shares how a mysterious five-word message, spoken aloud by she knew not whom, convinced her to leave her au pair position in Greece and return home to Boston, so that she might find someone named Brian.
Kathryn ended up finding a new job in Boston and falling in love with and marrying one of her co-workers. A young man named Brian.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, here are more stories of couples who were brought together through the unlikeliest of circumstances.
As a little boy in Miami, I was obsessed with Superman. My parents often had to stop me from running outside in my Man of Steel Underoos to do battle with Lex Luthor. When I was four, I went to live with my aunt in Lakeland, 220 miles north. Of course I wore my favorite faded T-shirt with the S emblem for the Lakeland preschool Halloween parade. Years later, I found an old photo from that parade. A blonde girl in a genie costume caught my eye. She bore a striking resemblance to my girlfriend, Jessica. We’d met at Florida State and had become pretty serious. I showed her the photo. 'That’s me,' she said. 'I wanted to be Princess Leia but my grandmama thought that was too risqué!' Now, after 10 years of marriage, with three young boys, we still like to dress up for Halloween—the whole family gets to play superheroes.
—Jason Roth, Jacksonville, Florida
My husband, Mitchell, loved the blurry home videos I’d brought over from my parents’ house. We hadn’t met until we were in college, so he got a kick out of watching me toddle around at birthday parties, Christmases and family vacations. “You were such a funny little kid!” he said, laughing.
We were about to call it a night when Mitchell shouted, “Wait a minute...run that back again!” The video was of me, around 15 months old, on vacation in Yosemite. A blond boy a little older walked into the frame, wanting to play. Mitchell paused the video. “Do you see what I see?”
We hopped in the car and drove to Mitchell’s dad’s. He was surprised by our impromptu visit, but even more so by the video Mitchell put on.
“Where’d you get my home videos?” he asked. “That’s our trip to Yosemite.”
“Dad, this isn’t your video,” Mitchell said. “It’s Serina’s.”
A video of the first time we’d really met...23 years earlier.
—Serina Reed, Torrance, California
How do you know he’s the one? I was already imagining walking down the aisle with Bryan though I’d only known him for nine months. One day, browsing through old photo albums, we marveled at all our missed connections. We’d grown up in the same town, belonged to the same parish; one of my friends lived two doors from him. We’d finally met when we were both teachers’ aides in a religious-studies class.
I turned to some pictures of me in a white dress at my First Communion. Bryan looked at the boy beside me. “That’s me!” he said. Turned out we’d already walked down the aisle together. Not long after, we had another picture taken—same church, same priest—on our wedding day.
—Evan Rezin, Appleton, Wisconsin
In 1981, my family moved to Waldwick, New Jersey, just in time for the town Easter egg hunt. My parents took me to pose with the Easter Bunny. “Too bad that boy is in the way,” my dad said later, referring to a kid who’d snuck into the frame. They kept the shot anyway, and it ended up among the photos displayed at my wedding reception. I’d met my husband, Rob, through a friend—or so I thought. Mom was cleaning up when she noticed that the boy in the shot looked familiar. Then she saw the name on his jacket. My new mother-in-law confirmed her suspicions. Mom gave us a call. “Guess what?” she said. “I found a picture of your first date.” Me, Rob, and my mother-in-law—the Easter Bunny!
—Nicole Woessner, Waldwick, New Jersey
Nancy LeSage Hellmuth was cleaning out her closet one afternoon when she found an old, yellowed clipping from the Sunday, May 2, 1982, edition of The New York Times. Her engagement announcement. Nancy was about to put it aside when she noticed the woman in the announcement beside hers—Fleur Marks. Fleur Marks?
She examined the photograph. Yes, it was. Fleur was the mother of the boy Nancy’s daughter was currently dating! She sent Fleur a copy of the clipping and the two marveled at the lovely coincidence. Not long after, Nancy and Fleur appeared in the Times together again: announcing the marriage of their children, Grayson Hellmuth and Cleveland Rueckert.
A few days before their wedding, Alex Voutsinas and Donna Balzano of Boynton Beach, Florida, were looking through old photos to display at the reception. Donna found a Polaroid of her first visit to Walt Disney World, when she was five years old. Alex noticed a man in the background who looked awfully familiar—his own father, pushing a stroller. Who was in the stroller? Alex! It was the couple’s first photo together, snapped 15 years before they even met.
Debbie had moved to Applewood, a mobile-home community in upstate New York to care for her mom. She’d been divorced for 25 years and had all but sworn off online dating. She had a crush on one of her neighbors, but couldn’t work up the nerve to talk to him. Then she got a message on a dating website: “Dear DoubleDeb, I read your profile and you sound like a real interesting lady. I’d like to learn more about you. Sincerely, BigMac555.”
His bio was engaging and he seemed intelligent and down-to-earth. Debbie wrote back. They liked the same things, their conversation flowed freely over e-mail. Then they exchanged telephone numbers. In their first talk, BigMac555 revealed he lived in Applewood too…as it turned out, right across the street.
“I walked to my front door and opened it. Walking toward me was my dream man, the neighbor I’d thought was out of my league,” Debbie says. BigMac555, also known as Charlie McClallen, has a different perspective. “There was the beautiful woman I hadn’t had the guts to approach,” he says.
Rosemary never thought she’d marry again after her marriage of more than 20 years ended in divorce. “I vowed to never fall in love with anybody unless God slapped me upside the head and told me: ‘He’s the one,’ she says. Then she met a man in a square dancing class. “I’ve finally found one I’m going to keep,” she told her mother. But when she said the man’s name, Robert Trifiletti, her mom's reaction was a mix of shock and confusion.
Rosemary’s fears were put to rest when her mother revealed why she’d been so caught off guard. Rosemary’s mother knew Robert; when he was a teen, he’d worked as a projectionist at the theater where she’d worked. His photograph (posing with Rosemary’s mother on a motorcycle) had hung on the wall of the family home for thirty years...right next to a photo of Rosemary.
Love is blind, the saying goes. But guide dogs aren’t. The United Kingdom’s Metro reports that two sightless strangers, Claire Johnson and Mark Gaffey, were attending a guide-dog training course when their young Labrador retrievers, Venice and Rodd, took a shine to each other. The dogs became inseparable, nuzzling and playing during breaks.
Neither Claire nor John had the heart to hinder puppy love. Once the course ended, they agreed to meet for daily walks in the park. For Venice and Rodd’s sake, of course. Those walks turned into lunch dates. Finally there was no denying it: Claire and John had fallen for each other too.
“I have no doubt that our guide dogs brought us together,” Claire told Metro. “Much like our dogs, we really are best friends and soul mates.” When the couple got married, Venice and Rodd walked down the aisle too, as ring bearers.
A British couple, Aimee Maiden and Nick Wheeler, were looking through old albums when they discovered a photograph of young Nick and his family creating a boat out of sand on the beach. In the background, to the left, was a little girl, building a sandcastle. Five-year-old Aimee.
“Nick and his family didn't even live in Cornwall at the time,” Aimee told the UK’s Daily Telegraph. "He and his family were down on holiday.” Nick and Aimee took their wedding pictures on the same beach, 20 years later.
Explore the collection of slideshows and discover inspirational quotes, beautiful photos, and powerful stories of hope.