Editor’s note: For the past five posts, I’ve been writing about C. Clyde Squires’ five stages of love, in honor of my great grandparents, Amand and Estelle Fey. On last Monday I covered Mother Love. Wednesday, I wrote about Puppy Love, Friday was Accepted Love, Monday I featured Binding Love and Wednesday I honored Undying Love.
Today, I have a bonus love story and I think I’ll call this stage…
It is no surprise that our friends Pat and Patty celebrated their silver anniversary on Valentine’s Day this year.
The two are talented celebrators and the exact kind of couple we all strive to be — funny and fun-loving, patient and generous, crafty with both glitter and nails, kind to each other and the world around them.
They met in an STD clinic in 1988, though not in the way you might be thinking right now. Back then, Pat worked as the clinic manager and Patty, a sign language interpreter, showed up one day to translate for her friend.
“That’s the actual true story, but Patty won’t let me tell it,” Pat said. “Patty prefers a workplace romance story to the less romantic STD truth of it all.”
Both stories are true. After that initial meeting in a somewhat awkward setting (AT WHICH NEITHER WAS A CLIENT!), they reconnected seven years later at Milwaukee Area Technical College, where Pat worked as an instructor and Patty as a recently hired sign language interpreter.
“Our first date was on Valentine’s Day,” Pat said. “I kissed her as I left her apartment and she slammed the door in my face out of nerves.”
Now, Patty considers Pat the “best person she has ever met” and jokes (but is also kind of serious) about Pat’s uncanny ability to satisfy junk food cravings.
“I love that she brings me Cheetos at the exact moment I need them,” Patty said. “This quality is hard to find in a partner and I’m sure it’s the reason most of my previous relationships didn’t work out.”
And, even though it ended in a slammed door, that first date led Pat to one of the kindest people she knows.
“My favorite thing about Patty is how thoughtful and caring she is about every human being,” Pat said. “It drives me nuts too. She makes me go around the block to go back and help someone who is homeless – usually making us late for wherever we are going, and I don’t like to be late. If a child is even two feet away from their parents in public, Patty panics that they might be lost, and we have to stakeout the situation until she’s satisfied that the child has a guardian. She once almost got me killed pulling over to stop a road rage incident between two strangers.”
(Patty would like it noted here that Pat drives her nuts when she gives her the “eyebrow” and that’s way worse, so we should call it even. Pat would like it noted that one should not be held responsible for involuntary movements of the face.)
While this Cheeto-loving, eyebrow-raising, thoughtful, politely prompt duo will always celebrate Valentine’s Day as one of their anniversaries, they enjoy a few other important ones too.
On June 6, 2014, they became the fourth gay couple in Milwaukee County to get married legally.
“It was a perfectly normal day, until it wasn’t,” Pat said. “Our phones started blowing up with the news that gay marriage was legal in the state and we literally ran out the door and to the courthouse before the state AG or governor could request and be granted a ‘stay’ on the ruling (as had happened in other states.) It was the most remarkable day – not the way anyone plans to get married, but it was just so joyous and we were met with such overwhelming support. Astounding for two little gay girls who thought it could or would never happen.”
In addition to this historic day, they also celebrate the day they were domestic partnered (five years before they were legally married) and the day they were “receptioned” with all of their family, friends and pets in attendance.
And, speaking of pets, Pat and Patty have a joyful menagerie. In their 25 years together, they have had nine dogs and two cats. Currently, their household includes three dogs — Rein, Olive and Dylan and two cats Marcus and Sophie.They recently lost four — one puppy to pneumonia and three elderly dogs.
“Our animals are our kids,” Pat said.
I’m pretty thrilled to wrap up my Stages of Love series with a charming couple who encompass all five of the stages C. Clyde Squires depicted in his Victorian postcards, and I wish Pat and Patty a whole lifetime of anniversaries, celebrations, glitter and Cheetos.
I’ve known Pat since we were little girls so I may be a little biased, but I really think you’ll agree as you scroll through the following pictures, that she and her wife Patty make a beautiful couple and eloquently represent true love.