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Love in the Times of the Internet


Toni and Curtis
In July of 1995, I was at home and browsing the web which was fairly new back then. (You paid by the minute, I think!) I wandered around and ended up in a Christian chat room with lots of people. I just stayed there, watching people post. Someone posted the question, "Does anyone have anything interesting to talk about?" and I asked what this person thought was interesting. That was the beginning.

First meeting Sept. 1995

I think we talked for two hours that night, and we agreed to be back the next night. Because I'm just "glass half empty" kind of person anyway, I was completely skeptical, but I thought it was fun. The next night we chatted for another 3 hours, and time flew by. (Of course, my kids already were put to bed and were fast asleep, so my time was my own. I had heard stories about kids who ran rampant through the house while parents chatted. No way would I let that happen).

I found out I was chatting with a Marine stationed at the Pentagon. He was a romantic like me; he rode bulls and surfed when he got the chance. First thing I thought was, "Sure he does." Sounded a little too good to be true. But after about a week or so of chatting online, we decided it would be cheaper to talk to each other on the phone, and I gave him my number. I didn't expect to hear from him, but I did. I got home from work and there was a message on my machine. Hearing his voice for the first time, I just melted. I hoped he was being honest, but of course, I had to question everything.

From then on, we talked on the phone a couple of hours every night, even though it meant he didn't get to sleep until 1 or 2 a.m. (He was on the East Coast, and I was in the San Francisco area.) But he said he had to hear my voice every day, and I felt the same way. We talked about everything, from kids to family, to past histories, to religion, to politics. Everything. (I told him right off the bat that I had two children.) We had so much in common, and so many things we found to talk about. We became very close, and eventually he asked me to fly out to see him.

On a weekend when my kids were with their dad, I got on a plane and flew 5 hours to meet a man whose picture I hadn't even seen. But I was drawn to him, and I went. I was the last person off the plane, and walked I with the girl I sat next to on the plane. She had agreed to look for him because I was too nervous to look myself.

Then, there he was, and I knew he was the one. We had fallen in love before the trip, and I knew I loved who he was, but once I saw him I really knew. He felt the same. We hugged, and I think we held hands pretty much the entire weekend. Of course, it was too short a trip, and I cried during most of the flight home. I got home on a Sunday night, and he asked me to marry him the following Tuesday. He said he had wanted to ask me when I was there, but was afraid I'd say no and he wouldn't know what do then.

I said yes, and we tried to plan. But we lived on different coasts, had completely different schedules, were limited by my single-parent budget and his single Marine salary, so there were many obstacles.

Curtis came out to see us at Christmas. I wouldn't marry him without his meeting and hanging out with the kids first. If they didn't click, there would be no wedding. We were married December 18, 1995, by a justice of the peace.

My friends and family really liked him, and while they all were concerned that we'd met online, I think they were all happy in the end. He had to go back to Washington D.C. after Christmas, but he came in February to get us. We moved to Springfield, Missouri, where we lived for two years, and then we transferred to San Diego. We've been here for the past four years and will be for at least another three years.

My husband is a firefighter in the United States Marine Corps, and I'm a writer. We now have three children, my two, Hanna (11) and Patrick (8), and our Noble (4), born in February 1998. We are very happy, and married life just continues to get better. We work well together, we have a great relationship, and our friends are always commenting on how much in love we are, even to the point where we make them nauseous, apparently. Life is great with him, and it's wonderful to know we can plan our future together, think of what we're going to do after he retires or we win the lottery, or just stay the way we are.

I can't say I recommend this way of meeting people to everyone, but it sure is interesting. We've met some really wonderful people through the internet but we have met some loonies, too. I think the guidelines are the same as meeting people in person, just add a little more caution. We couldn't have made a better choice. Thanks for giving us the chance to share our story with you!

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