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Love Notes

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Love Notes

Bill Love at 60

If I hadn’t met Bill, there’d be no “Love Notes.” Instead, this column might have been named “Brown Bag Blues,” “Brown Cow Moos” or maybe even something goofier than that. I always joke about why I married my husband of 36 years; it was just so I’d have a good author’s name.

The name has served me well, even though it was not hardly the reason I chose to spend the rest of my life with him. I’ve written this column for eight years now and could have mentioned the “Love” connection, but Bill was not turning 60 any of those times before.

This month, by the time you read the April River Journal, he will have reached that milestone in life. Milestones provide a good reason to reflect, so I’ve decided to focus on my wonderful husband this month. I’m hoping he will consider my observations as an added “Happy Sixtieth” gift.

Bill was born April 2, 1950, shortly after his twin sister Margaret in Alexandria, Louisiana, to William E. and Helen Tingle Love. According to Bill, Margaret immediately recognized her seniority and functioned as boss.

They spent their childhood in Oakdale about 40 miles south of his birthplace. Tragedy struck the family during their early years, including the death of their mother from cancer when the twins were 7. A few years later, “Edgar,” as he was called, married Ora Scott, a high-school math teacher turned librarian.

Ora and her teaching sisters, Fanny and Irma, then teamed up to provide a sense of stability to the family. Bill and Margaret tell of childhood times spent at the television studio in Alexandria where their dad served as its engineer. Because of Edgar Love’s connection with the station, they even appeared on a live television show for children on the NBC affiliate.

Another of Bill’s favorite memories (although it may not have been a favorite at the time) occurred during his senior year at Oakdale High School. His mother banished him from the library, for the rest of the school year. He’s never really shared the details of what he did to incur her wrath but seems pleased to have been a rebel at least once in his life. After all, an Eagle Scout must maintain a pretty high behavior standard. Bill certainly does that.

He’s also a storyteller, and through his many stories, I learned early in our relationship of his love for music. He played tuba in band. Somewhere along the way, he learned the harmonica, and, oh, so well!

After high-school graduation, he and Margaret attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles, where they both graduated. She taught for a while, then moved to California where she worked in the arts for several years before taking her present position with the California State Parks.

Meanwhile, Bill took a while to get through the college where he served as president of the McNeese State marching band under a director named “Love,” of all things. Kelly Love was fondly known as “Brother Love,” and his McNeese State band took on the moniker “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” Band went well for Bill, but majoring in music did not.

One of Bill’s classic tales, which I’ve oft repeated, deals with a violin session with one of his music instructors. Apparently, Bill did not play the violin quite as well as he did the tuba or the harmonica. The instructor stopped him in mid-tune and suggested he consider something else beside music. Bill says that may have been the kindest advice he ever received.

Trees got the better part of that deal. Bill changed his major to forestry. We met the summer before his McNeese graduation. He was attending the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Farragut. I was writing feature stories about the Jamboree, and I always thank my boss, Gary Pietsch, for the assignment. I can so vividly remember all the quizzing that occurred on our many walks through the forests of North Idaho that summer.

“What kind of tree is that?” he’d ask, not so much testing me but genuinely wanting to know. He was an Eastern-trained forester where hard woods far outnumber our Western conifers. Little did I know at the time that my answers would serve him well. He moved here in December that year and, a month later, began his career as a seasonal forester for the U.S. Forest Service, working winters for a few years as a chairlift operator at Schweitzer. 

Bill later moved on to the Idaho Department of Lands where he still works today. During those years, we bought a home and reared two wonderful children. We’ve always enjoyed a marriage where each spouse maintains a sense of independence while pursuing individual interests but always respecting, supporting and applauding the successes of each other.

Throughout the past 37 years, I’ve felt fortunate to know this man of integrity, patience, understanding, wisdom, loyalty and kindness. His interests and devotion run deep, whether it be his faith, tying his flies for summer casting along rivers and streams, hiking tall mountains, local history and, of course, these days, geocaching.

I always said that whatever activities Bill takes on, they receive his full attention. I’ve seen him serve the community on the Festival at Sandpoint Board, the city tree committee, Boy Scout Troop 111 and through a variety of forestry and land-related concerns, including the Idaho State Forestry Contest. I believe this community has benefited tremendously from the unselfish, giving nature of this transplanted Louisianan who was once named its Citizen of the Year. 

I’ll never forget the comment made by my dear friend Ray Holt during my teaching retirement breakfast back in 2002.

“She married the nicest man in Sandpoint,” Ray told the audience. I nodded and continue to nod.

 In my mind, Bill is the nicest man in Sandpoint, and I’m so honored to be his wife. Happy sixtieth to you, Bill. You have led a magnificent, productive life. May you continue to do so for many decades to come.

After all, I want to keep writing my “Love Notes!”

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Author info

Marianne Love Marianne Love is a freelance writer and former English teacher who enjoys telling the stories of her community. She has authored several books, the latest of which is "Lessons With Love."

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