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In Search Of...A Valentine Love Story

By Jennifer Livingston, jlivingston@wkbt.com
Published On: Feb 10 2012 08:54:49 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 10 2012 08:52:54 AM CST

WEST SALEM, Wis. -- Love is in the air and the signs are all around is. And in honor of Valentine's Day, we wanted to find the perfect Valentine's story. And you won't believe what we came up with!

"So I'm sitting in the newsroom brainstorming ideas with my colleagues when our assignment editor Adam Hatfield says," "Why not drive to Romance, Wisconsin?"

"Good idea. Romance in Romance. But then we remembered we've done that story before. But then Adam he suggests something even better." "Why not look in the phone book for someone with the last name Valentine?" 

I open up the book and see 'Terri and Becky,' 'Amy and Mike,' 'Bill and Rosemary.' Bill and Rosemary Valentine? Bingo!

"My name is Will Valentine."

Will Valentine grew up getting a lot of attention for his name. "In school I'd always have to give a report, 'what was the origin of Valentine's Day?'"

But this Valentine was without a Valentine until he attended a dance at the Catholic Cathedral in La Crosse and spotted the lovely Rosemary Mclevich. "He didn't ask me to dance. He ran out when the dance was over and said 'hey, what's your name? And so he was to chicken to ask me to dance. And the next summer he worked at the Erickson pool across the street. And when he walked by, my mother would whistle at him and pretend it was me. And I would hit the deck!"

"She did drive by in her little Honda scooter about 500 times when I was working. Maybe..."

Soon their flirtation turned into something more. "We went together our senior year. Junior AND senior year. That's right."

And then after their high school graduation, Will Valentine put a whole new spin on the question 'will you be my Valentine?' when he proposed. Although the details of this big moment are a little fuzzy. "I put...no. What did I do? I don't remember!"

Young love that honestly, no one thought would last. Especially when they announced the wedding date. "We had to! It was Valentine's day! What else. And that's what I told my mother. I know we're too young. But if we don't do it this winter, then we have to wait for years before it falls on a Saturday again."

Yes in 1970, Rosemary Mclevich wed Valentine - on Valentine's. "It was a beautiful day."

"One thing about the wedding that was outstanding was that we kept apart until the ceremony and when I saw her come down the aisle, that was really quite memorable. And that was 42 years ago."

But what makes this love story even better is that it is still ongoing.  In fact, since Will couldn't remember how he asked Rosemary the first time, two years ago on their 40th anniversary...he gave it another try. "I did ask her to re marry me in Egypt. I said, 'Eskimos have a hundred words for snow and Egyptians have a thousand words for sand, but I don't have enough words to tell you how much I love you.'

While couples young and old exchange sweet nothings on Valentine's, these Valentines have twice the reason to celebrate. "It's our day. And it's great to see other people celebrate it too."

We could have gone looking for romance in Romance. Who knew romance was waiting for us in the white pages under 'Valentine.'  

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