Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On Valentine's Day 100 years ago... Marion County, Indiana, Agnes Cairn Blair married Otto J. Hofmann. The bride was 28 years old, a native of Scotland, and her 35-year-old groom had been born in Germany. For most of the rest of their lives, they lived on a farm in Kentucky.

Agnes and Otto are not my ancestors. I don't have any photos of them, and I don't know much about them. I do know they had four children together, and one of their two sons (born in Kentucky) grew up and married my mother (born in Missouri). Here's a photo of their son and my mother, taken in Texas in 1957, a few days after they met on the beach:

I think about people like Agnes and Otto and wonder about the chain of events that brought them from their native lands to the U.S. and then to a place where they eventually found each other. I wonder where I'd live today if it hadn't been for Otto and Agnes and their son, my stepfather.

If my mother hadn't married their son, I might still be in Missouri. Instead, we moved to Texas when I was a teenager. I met and married a Texas man (son of parents from Oklahoma) four years later. He and I had two beautiful daughters. That marriage didn't last, but it was in Texas that I met and married my second husband (born in Maryland), with whom we moved around the country until we landed in Louisiana.

So many people from so many places. So many miles traveled for chance meetings that sparked love and changed lives.

Otto and Agnes never knew their grandson, my brother (born in Texas to my mother and their son), and I don't know how much my brother knows about them. I think their story might be a nice one. Judging from their choice to wed on Valentine's Day, at least one of them must have had a romantic streak.

Happy Valentine's Day to the ones I love. Some of you are right here in Louisiana, nearby. Others are in Texas, California, Missouri, Minnesota, and points in between. One, a young Marine, is in Virginia. Wherever you live, you live in my heart.


  1. All the 'ifs' in our lives have always fascinated me...all the things that might have gone differently if one tiny piece of the puzzle had changed. What if your mother had not gone to the beach that day? Nice for you to think of that couple so long ago who married on Valentine's Day and set so many things in motion. Carmon

  2. That's a very interesting story of a marriage on Valentine's Day a few years back. And you've got me reflecting on all the places my men and I have come from and gone to.

    Happy Valentine's Day. Velvet. I hope it's been full of sweetness and happiness.

  3. It's always fascinating to wonder how people met and married, I have those questions about my mother's grandparents and my father's grandparents, that will probably never be answered.

    Happy Valentine's Day, velvet!

  4. I was born in the same house that I lived in until I left home. My day died in that same house. He put down roots and would not be moved.

    I longed for a nomad life when a child. We often don't get what we pray for. Usually later we can see we are blessed by the gifts we did not receive that we ached to have.

    I am proud of my father's strong, deep roots to his land. Now, I always think of that place as 'home' not the place I live.
    Weird, isn't it?

  5. Your Mother was beautiful Velvet, just like you!

  6. Velvet, The ifs and whens of life are so fascinating. I have a friend born in Hungary. Her husband of 25 years was born in Thailand.

    Another friend met her husband of more than 50 years sitting on a bench on Mackinac island, MI.

    My own mom met my father on her doorstep. She had rented a room to his foreman and he was stopping by to go to dinner.

    Life is so amazing when you really think about what it takes to bring two people together.

    Thanks for sharing this! Holly

  7. Thanks for your comments, everybody. I used to believe that each of us had only one "right person" out there and it was up to us to find him or her. Now that I'm aware of all these coincidental connections, I think maybe there are more than one person who'd be compatible with each of us. I've certainly found a few that seemed compatible for a time, at least (grin).

  8. Velvet, what a beautiful story for Valentine's Day. This is something I wonder about sometimes, too. I like the way you put it..."chance meetings that sparked love and changed lives"...that's a fact.

  9. certainly not Otto Hoffman the painter?

  10. Jackie, sometimes I think my "soulmate" was on one of those "ships that pass in the night." I guess that's the flip side of the chance-meeting phenomenon.

    Austin, nope, our Otto Hofmann was a farmer.


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