Claudia Cooley

A Love Story

Our Love Story

I know, from personal experience, the power and beauty of a loving partnership. I recently celebrated my 50th Wedding Anniversary to the man of my dreams, and I pray that each of you reading this book have found or will find a partner who will support and love you the way he has loved me.

Dale, my husband, friend, cheerleader, and our family’s wonderful Navigator has quietly demonstrated all of the success strategies that I have included in this book over the last five decades that I have known him. He has been an amazing husband, father, friend, and given wonderful support to his community. He has endured tough times and good times with equal gratitude and continually stands strong for all of us. We all know we can depend on him.  

We met on a Friday night in mid-October 1959, when one of my old boyfriends told me he had a great guy that I should meet. Dale was home from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, attending the local community college for the semester, and happened to be at the Colton High School Football game that night (which later I found had been prearranged). Right before the game started, Stan introduced us.

I was smitten the minute I laid eyes on him. Wow! A college guy, wearing a London Fog trench coat. So grown up. A sharp dresser. And handsome too? I was dating a football player at the time, but something told me to accept Dale’s invitation. The first date was amazing and sweet; and when he brought me a gift for my 17th birthday, I said “goodbye” to the other guy and we became an item.  He took my breath away when I met him, and he still does every time he walks into a room.

By the following June, I was hoping for a ring for graduation, and when I went to Wisconsin to spend six weeks with my grandfather, I just knew that I didn’t want to spend any more time without Dale. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. When I returned in September, we started talking about marriage.  

On Christmas Eve, Dale hid a ring in a beautiful perfume decanter, got on his knee, and proposed. I couldn’t do anything but cry and say YES. A year later, we bought a little trailer and set up housekeeping in a sweet little mobile home park in our college town with our best friends living right next door. Gosh, what fun we had! We started so small with such big dreams.

The rest of the years have been full and exciting, with ups and downs and bumps on occasion – curves in the road that neither of us expected. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s definitely been worth it. 

September 13, 2019
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