These love stories were published on tampabay.com over the years. We think you’ll like them.
ALICE AND JOE
They were famous once. Alice starred in Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice. Joe was a lousy skater, but a great stage manager. He also managed Sonja Henie, but no one compared with Alice.
They’d never really shared their tale before, but Alice had recently started writing it down. Maybe people needed to hear this improbable love story, people who had been married two, three, four times, or people coming off the high of their wedding and sinking into the prickly truth of commitment.
If we could do it, she thought . . .
HE LOVED LEE
"All those years, " Charlie says softly. "All those years I kept her secret."
He is nobody you know, just an old man who is all alone except for his cockatiels. But he has a story to tell, and he just wants somebody to listen. He can see the end now and he wants the world to know the truth. Thirty years of lying is enough, Charlie says.
You have to understand: There are lots of different kinds of love.
HELEN’S WEDDING CHAPEL
Weddings are blessed events, but widowhood has its moments. This becomes evident as Helen E. Davis presents herself. She wears a rakishly tilted, wide-brim midnight blue hat, a matching blouse, black miniskirt and stockings, and baby blue heels. She looks fine, very fine.
She is widowed 12 years. The closest she comes to revealing her time upon this Earth is a mention of her 50th class reunion coming up at Gibbs High School. She lives in a pink bungalow on First Avenue S with a sign out front shaped like wedding bells.
The sign reads: "Helen’s Wedding Chapel."
For more than three decades, he has written her a love letter for Valentine’s Day. In his mind, he has never gotten one right.
He’s a logical man, and he has tried, in other years, to explain in these letters what can’t be explained. He has described love using science and mathematics, compared her to music, wind and water.
But this defies logic. He is just a man. These are just words.
JUDY, it begins.
LOVE AT AGE 11
Normally, Austin hates going to the Hallmark store, waiting for his mom and older sisters to sift through Vera Bradley bags while surrounded by all the candles that are supposed to smell like rain.
Normally, Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal to the sixth-grader who loves Star Wars and Batman and Minecraft.
"But now that I’m in a relationship it seems more important," he says Tuesday afternoon.
"I want to impress Sarah."
SIDE BY SIDE
"I don’t think there’s a lot of images of gay couples growing old together. … It’s a little uneasy. We’re not used to the spotlight. But if young kids can see a gay couple growing old together, and that relationships are possible, I think that’s worth it. If kids can’t identify with what they see in the media, they feel isolated."
MAYOR OF LOVE
As I remember it, the sea of men parted as she walked through, their mouths agape. To this day, I cannot decide if the appropriate music would have been angels singing or Oh Yeah by Yello.
Greco had long joked that he would find me a wife, so with a nudge of his elbow, he said to me, "There you go. There is your future wife. Go get her."
So I did.
10:35 a.m., March 27, 2005
It’s Easter Sunday. I miss you real bad. ... We’ve been married 60 years this coming August 12th. You was only 15 when I fell in love with you up in Newburgh, New York. Remember that? We used to go to the Academy Theater. I’d pay your way in. I used to bug you to let me take you in there. I got to be a pest and you finally said, ‘Okay, I’ll let you take me in if you’ll leave me alone.’ I can still picture that beautiful suede shirt you used to wear. You looked so pretty. Your long hair. Your buck teeth.