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Wedded Wahoos

Wedded Wahoos The stars aligned for all of these Cavaliers, but not without some embarrassing moments along the way.

by Diane J. McDougall

 Virginia My husband proposed at Reagan National as I returned from spring break my first year of law school. I got off the plane and really had to use the bathroom

For this Valentine’s edition of Virginia Magazine, we engaged in a little romantic research and unearthed more than 10,000 Cavalier Couples—marriages of two Wahoos. We invited them to tell us some stories, and more than 2,000 responded.

Even if you’re not part of a Cavalier Couple, we believe you’ll get a kick out of reading these short stories—ranging from the serendipity of first glances and the clumsiness of dating, to creative proposals and wedding mishaps. You may be surprised that some of these pairs ever made it to the altar!

Go ahead, laugh along with your fellow ’Hoos at their (often incredibly uncomfortable) remembrances. And have a happy Valentine’s Day!

How we met

I met my future wife while on a date with her sorority sister at her sorority formal. Oh, and I was tied naked to a tree outside of her sorority house by my fraternity brothers—while she was on the phone with her parents.
—Heath Umbach (Col ’94), married 21 years to Deborah (Crotteau) Umbach (Engr ’94), Sudbury, Massachusetts

We were the first two students arrested at the 1970 Vietnam protest and were held in a Mayflower moving van until charged and released pending trial.
—Ginny Shapiro (Educ ’70), married 47 years to Bill Shapiro (Law ’71), McLean, Virginia

I met my wife when her car was on fire outside my apartment on JPA. I like to say, “I did not light her fire, I put it out.”
—Joseph Witt (Com ’82), married 35 years to Kathy Witt (Educ ’83), Newport News, Virginia

It was a freezing January 1966, my first year at Mary Washington (no women at UVA then, we were the “women’s division” in Fredericksburg). The phone rang in our Bucknell dorm hall (one pay phone for a whole dorm floor). Four dates are needed for four guys coming up from Charlottesville that night. Anyone interested? OK, I went along with three other girlfriends, and that’s how I met my husband. Funny thing, he wasn’t even my date that night.
—Georgia Wirth Autorino (Nurs ’69), married 50 years to Arthur Autorino (Engr ’69), Eastham, Massachusetts

I needed a ride home for Christmas break our first year, so I went to the ride board at Newcomb and pulled a tag off the board of someone heading my way. I climbed into the front seat and sat next to this guy named Larry. For him it was love at first sight. For me, we were “just friends” for at least two years. Long story short, we got married at the chapel 11 years later.
—Joan (Lesoravage) Conway (Com ’86), married 25 years to Larry Conway (Col ’86), Warren, New Jersey

Data from December 2018 Cavalier Couples survey

Memorable dating moments

He was walking me home one night shortly after we met and suddenly ran up a grassy hill and disappeared for a few minutes, saying he’d be right back. When he returned he had a handful of daffodils he had picked for me. I thought he was so romantic! Years later, after we were married, I found out he really had to go to the bathroom and saved face by bringing back the flowers.
—Sharon (Miller) Brown (Educ ’82), married 32 years to Thomas Brown (Col ’82), Millwood, Virginia

At Clark Hall, our third anniversary of dating, we went to quietly study across those old long tables. It was approaching finals. We kept looking up to check in on each other, and then nod; we each saw no one else in the bustling but silent room. Somehow we created too much flirtatious tension for some unknown fellow Wahoo. He briskly dropped a hand-scrawled note on my textbook and walked on. It directed me to “Go kiss her, you idiot!”
—Mark Megaw (Col ’82), married 34 years to Karyl-Leigh Megaw (Col ’82), Earlysville, Virginia

When I met my betrothed, I was dating someone else long distance. On one of our first dates in Charlottesville, we went out for Chinese and I received a fortune that said, “Stop searching forever. Happiness is right next to you.” I felt like it was divine intervention. I still carry that fortune around in my wallet.
—Merideth Kelso (Col ’96, Educ ’96), married 22 years to Glenn Kelso (Col ’93), Chesapeake, Virginia

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