This post was written by Kimberly Christensen, a longtime Wallyhood reader, who asked us if she could submit a true love story that began right here in Wallingford. We’re suckers for love (especially love with Wallingford origins!) and hope you enjoy this story as much as we did. Happy Valentine’s Day from Wallyhood to Vida, Greg, and everyone with a sweet story of their own.
I knew Wallingford was a place where people try to shop local, but it never occurred to me that you could find a locally-grown husband here. That is, until I met Vida, a Wallingford native who met and married a man conceived three blocks north of the house in which she was conceived. Talk about keeping it local!
Their connection dates back to preschool, when Vida and Greg attended daycare at the Wallingford Child Care Center, where Greg’s mother worked as a volunteer. Greg’s mom must have sensed something special about Vida, because for years she would tease Greg that he was going to grow up and marry Vida. In fact, she encouraged her son to tidy his room and take out the garbage so that he could someday impress Vida with his domestic prowess. Greg, all knees, elbows and impishness at that age, was not impressed.
Both Greg and Vida attended Latona Elementary School (now John Stanford International School) from kindergarten through 5th grade. Back in those days, the school had two tracks: One was a traditional-format elementary school and the other, an alternative, creative arts track. Vida and Greg landed together in the alternative program, which meant that they were classmates for all 6 years of elementary school. While no puppy love developed between the two, Vida remembers a keen sense of camaraderie between all of the kids who spent every day of six school years together.
The two enjoyed a traditional Wallingford childhood: learning to ride their bikes at the Wallingford Playfield, taking dance lessons at the Pacific Northwest Ballet housed in the Good Shepherd Center, swimming at Green Lake, and sledding at Gasworks Park.
However, towards the end of 5th grade Vida’s family pulled up stakes and moved north to Edmonds, which could have been the end of this story. Luckily, a prescient second grade teacher had taken her students to tour the University of Washington, and at the ripe old age of 7, Vida had decided that the UW was the college for her. It was, in fact, the only college to which she applied, and happily, was accepted.
It turns out Greg was accepted to UW as well. Vida’s mom recognized him during freshman orientation. A few weeks later, Vida found herself in a comparative film class with her former grade school buddy, who was still dating his high school girlfriend, and cutting class early after goofing off in the back of the classroom. Vida, focused on doing well in school, sat in the front of the class and met other interesting young men to date.
Again, their story could have ended with graduation. They never dated in college. After graduating, Greg buckled down to begin a career while Vida continued on to earn a second degree. She moved back into her childhood home in Wallingford, which her parents had maintained as a rental. Thoughts of Greg kept surfacing in Vida’s mind. She remembered running into Greg’s mom at the Wallingford QFC, where she had worked as a grocery bagger during college. The two chatted as Vida helped load the groceries into the car, and Greg’s mother commented how happy Greg had been to reconnect with Vida during that first course freshman year. The fact that he had mentioned it to his mother surprised and flattered Vida.
That conversation kept tickling Vida’s brain, until technology made it easy for her to take the risk of contacting Greg. Late one night, Vida logged onto MySpace and contacted Greg under the pretense of reconnecting with old friends. She waited two agonizing weeks before he messaged her back. “How come we never hung out in college?” he asked. He invited her to hang out with him and some other friends. But Vida already had hopes beyond “hanging out” and turned him down until he asked her on a date.
That first date? It was in Wallingford, of course. They went to Rain for sushi, followed by lots of talking, catching up, and laying the groundwork for a future together. A few months later, Greg took care of Vida while she was ill, and that proved to be a turning point for Vida. Greg moved into the home where she had grown up to be with her, just 3 blocks south of the house where he was raised, and where his parents still live.
Today Greg and Vida are celebrating their second Valentine’s Day as husband and wife. Their wedding was on the Skansonia, moored in Wallingford, of course. And they conceived their own little girl in the same house in which Vida was created. Vida hopes that Wallingford will bring as much joy to her daughter’s life as it has to her own. And she’ll be looking hard at her daughter’s kindergarten classmates, wondering if one of them will turn out to be “just-right” for little Ella.