JOE CANEEN and LAURY DIZENGREMEL
From Joe: I was long distance truck driving and one evening I was perusing Craig’s List when I noticed, for the first time, the “personals” section. I had never tried any type of on-line dating, but this was free. Well, one thing led to another and next thing I knew I was clicking on links that led me to other sites, each costing a bit of money and each plagued by scammers. It was nevertheless intriguing so I kept slogging away. Finally I stumbled onto Affinity Exchange which seemed more suited to what I was looking for. But around the same time I decided I was tired of the whole thing and stopped checking any of the sites for messages. Then, annoyed by all the emails from the various sites telling me of winks and things, I started systematically cancelling out every site I had joined.
When I got to Affinity Exchange, out of curiosity, I did read the mail that was there, intrigued by one message saying there was a smile from a girl, the last one there to check–and don’t ask me how this happened, but at the same moment my Yahoo Mail flashed, alerting me to a message from AE. It was from this same girl–Laury! I was that close to canceling out the account! How’s that for magic?
She was in England, enroute to Paris, and I was driving around the western United States. We chatted by email and then by phone. It seemed we had some amazing things in common—especially our goals in life!
I had already planned to stop driving in June and fire away on a personal business plan. I think it was April when the phone call happened, and before I even had a chance to invite her over (in June), she said, “Why don’t I come over for a visit?” “Errr … uh … I was going to invite you over in June, but you beat me to it! When did you have in mind?” “How about next week?” she said. (!!!)
Well, Laury can tell the rest of the story, but here’s an interesting twist she doesn’t even know about. You see, she’s in China right now working on several sculpture commissions, having left the U.S. via England a few days ago. Just last night, for the first time in a long time, I was going through the HUNDREDS of photos we took on our trip. (Did I mention I kidnapped her and took her on a 15,000 mile trip all over the U.S. in a tractor trailer truck?) I decided I was going to edit the best of them to a song. (What song do you want to use, Honey?) Then I woke up to an email from her suggesting we write success stories for the Affinity Exchange. OK, here is mine, seeing as how I started working on the video version already. (And don’t change that “seeing as how”. I know it ain’t proper English, but we’re in Montana now). Now for the rest of the story, here’s Laury—
From Laury: I had been on Affinity Exchange and other sites on and off for a while, and frankly I was getting completely discouraged. I’d met two guys via AE, and both times this had led to some heartache and ultimately a feeling of having wasted time, so I wasn’t exactly rarin’ to try again.
I’d been in my studio in China (where I couldn’t access the site) for several months in a row. When I arrived back in the UK, one of my daughters coaxed me to try again. I looked, and there, suddenly, was Joe’s profile! I remembered him from having met him a dozen or so times over a period of 25 years, casually, across the globe on shoots when he used to be a film director/cameraman. His profile mentioned goals which dovetailed with mine, but I saw he was looking for someone younger than me, so my first impulsive click to send a smile was actually just to say “hi” as a friend, not as a 2D reach. Then I also sent him a message to say this, but Joe answered as a 2D reach.
After clearing up the “younger” thing (he assured me that was just to widen the net and maybe have some kids, but he felt my 3 wonderful and grown-up ones would fit the bill just fine), we started to exchange more and more e-mails and then calls. I planned to go back to China a month later, so when we’d reached a high level of comm, I offered to come over for a visit in May. It was, in my mind, a “no pressure visit” for a few days, and I reserved the option to go visit my son in Los Angeles if it became obvious it wouldn’t be a go-ahead 2D wise!
But…. after taking me to visit a bunch of galleries and dazzling scenery, Joe practically kidnapped me for a long jaunt in his truck from mid-May to mid-July, and we had the opportunity to talk non-stop for several wonderful weeks while we drove long-hauls across small highways and byways all over the U.S. We ended up with a visit to his mother’s house in Ohio. That much comm was exactly what was needed to get the “R” and “A” to go sky-high. (What song Joe? How about “God Bless the Broken Road that Led me Straight to You?” by Rascal Flatts…)
I kidnapped him back a few weeks later and took him to England to meet my kids and friends, then to France to meet my father and sister and brother-in-law. This was mid-July to mid-September!
Joe started talking way back when I arrived in May as if it were a foregone conclusion we’d be married–long before he actually proposed! He’s a real romantic, but not in any formal or traditional way. He makes it up as he goes, in his own unique style!
We were married by the Chief of the Blackfoot tribe in Montana just a few months later in December. We’d been inseparable since we’d met in May, except for a short trip on my own for a public artwork of mine to be unveiled in Ireland. One of my daughters, my long-lost brother, a new friend of ours and a small wonderful Beagle were our only witnesses.
We’ve been meaning to write success stories since we decided to get married back in June last year, but have been too busy settling in to an area neither one us had lived in before! And oh, yes! My U.S. permanent residency cycle has been the smoothest and fastest ever, thanks to the low demographics of Montana!
Think of it–in under 15 months, we’ve met, romanced, married, moved all our stuff from continents away. We’ve bottle-fed a tiny feral kitten, “Bella Shushi Blue Green Na-Ah” (long story), adopted a large, amazing dog “Reba” (who flushed out a mountain lion camped out in our front yard without so much as a bark or raised hackles while we found ourselves staring it down 15 feet away), my immigration cycle has been completed, we have a wonderful home high on a hill with a beautiful view of the valley and pristine mountain wilderness beyond, plus a large art studio and continuing romance in the wilds of Montana. Just about worthy of an LRH-style high-action fiction novel !
Marcia, thank you so much for playing matchmaker as well as you do! — Love, Laury