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Stories of Enduring Love: Larry and Sally Wilke

Editors note: Connections is a series of stories that appear periodically that tell about how people met, fell in love, and lived happily ever after.

NORTH RIVER I have attempted the mysterious craft of love from a vast array of misguided angles alternately convinced any beloved-in-training must be able to recite Yeats Brown Penny, know the meaning of fin de si裬e, or have brawn enough to gut a kitchen. This plus employing the dictum opposites attract to justify dating a veritable smorgasbord of bad boys earned me upwards of twenty lovelorn years.

Far wiser than me, North River couple Larry and Sally Wilke had the foresight to recognize the importance of similar hobbies and values. Theyre reward has been 54 happy years pursuing their shared vision for living and loving the outdoors.

Both college sophomores in January 1951, they met in Syracuse when Larry, Sallys smitten ski instructor, tied her boots and got her hot chocolate. He liked her pretty smile and that she was a skier, like him. Their love story would unfold leisurely more cross-country glide than downhill schuss.

Making up for their unromantic first date to a frat party, Larry sent her this sweet Valentine (pictured). Super-sizing his courtship, he gave Sally rides home from her ski lodge job and even lent her his 1936 Chevy Coupe (price: $35!). Soon she saw him as more than a tremendous athlete and good guy. On campus, as he walked her to class they talked about their favorite hobbies skiing, swimming and hiking. The budding couple also discovered childhood summer vacations in common camping at Saranac Lakes Fish Creek Pond, although their families never met!

At his brothers wedding, Larry pulled out the stops woo-wise by pinning Sally while fellow Alpha Tao Omega fraternity brothers sang the sweetheart song. But in spring of senior year, Sally interviewed for a job at IBM in New York City. Worried shed move away, Larry planned a special weekend for them in Schenectady and popped the question.

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