Love Stories from Arrival Stories

Every Thursday, Jeremy Rosenberg (@LosJeremy) asks, "How did you - or your family before you - wind up living in Los Angeles?" Today, in honor of Valentine's Day, Rosenberg presents instead an anthology of some of the many love stories that have played a role in the Arrival Stories column series.

Crossing continents, oceans and national borders isn't the only journey taken by the Los Angeles migrants and immigrants who populate the weekly Arrival Stories series.

Many of our participants tell of the journey their hearts take, too.

So on this Valentine's Day, enjoy this annual round-up of some of the courtships recently chronicled by this ongoing column series. Click through the links to read the complete stories.

Love stories don't get much more famous, much more geo-politically charged, or much more grand as Olga Connelly's.

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Olga met her future husband, Harold, during the 1956 Melbourne, Australia Olympics. Olga was competing for Czechoslovakia. Harold was competing for the United States. Against a Cold War backdrop of diplomatic intrigue, the pair had a courtship so renowned that it was celebrated by Louis Armstrong on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Armenian-born Richie Arakelian first saw his wife while he was watching a wedding video with his aunt. His future bride was a guest at this particular wedding. Soon enough, Richie and her had a ceremony of their own.

Ariana Delawari's grandparents met and married against all odds. "It was practically unheard of for an Afghan Muslim man to marry a Sicilian Catholic woman, but my grandfather was a charmer and my grandmother was a rebel," Delawari says.

Musician and filmmaker Lisa Marr wound up living in L.A. following an unexpected detour -- to the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. "Of all the bass players in all the towns, in all the world, I had to fall for one who lived in Los Angeles," the Vancouver native Marr says.

The Covington Family. Photo courtesy Michelle Covington

Amanda Mortlock, who grew up in Singapore, used to think about doing what Marr did. "I used to threaten a lot of people, 'I'm going to get you drunk and bring you to Vegas and then we'll be married!'" Mortlock says. "All my guy friends, I was like, 'Okay, watch out!' I always bring a white dress to Vegas."

Gabrielle Garcia's parents were born in Durango, Mexico, but didn't meet each other until they both lived in Lincoln Heights and attended the same school. One day, Garcia says, her mom wore a yellow dress, her dad was smitten, and the rest, Garcia says, is -- "bada bing bada boom" -- history.

">Juan Lopez's parents, Maria and Juan Jose, got married in Mexico and left for the United States on the same January 1984 day. Juan Jose had previously spent two years in the states working to raise money to marry Maria and bring her north.

English-born journalist Michael Miller and his New York-born wife Judy weren't quite on the same page when they arrived in Los Angeles, but during a walk in the Baldwin Hills, everything changed.

College student Claudia Carcamo's father is from El Salvador and her mother is from Mexico. The pair met in North Hollywood at... a Salvadoran restaurant owned and operated by Mexicans.

Aura Leticia Martinez is from Guatemala. Her husband Mario's family are Honduran. The pair met in Hollywood when mutual friends introduced them.

Playwright and acting teacher Stacey Martino and actor Rene Rivera are married and have two children. (See their family portrait.) When Arrival Stories caught up with the couple, he was starring in a work that she wrote.

Stacey Martino and Rene Rivera and kids. Photo  by A La Mode Photo, Heather Hart. Photo courtesy Stacey Martino

Michelle Covington's Arrival Story is here and Virgil Covington's Arrival Story is here. The married couple each had family in Louisiana. They met in Leimert Park. Now they have a beautiful daughter.

Roxanne Steinberg and Oguri met in 1987 in Hakushu, Japan, in Yamanashi prefecture, on a farm called Body Weather Farm. Steinberg's grandparents also came together in a remarkable manner -- after dating briefly in New York, the soon-to-be-couple met again in L.A. when he was offering to sell...yes... rattlesnakes to a film studio where she worked.

Dublab co-founder Alejandro Cohen, from Argentina, met his wife in Chinatown, at Hop Louie.

Conceptual artist and writer Marjan Vayghan travels regularly back and forth between Tehran and Los Angeles. But the first summer she spent in L.A., back in 2001, is when she met and fell in love with her partner of ten years, Jesse.

And avant garde icon Rachel Rosenthal's life is fit for an epic or an opera. No matter how many incredible people the octogenarian has met over the years, Rosenthal says that her true soul mate was her late, beloved cat, DiBiDi.

Have an Arrival Story to share? Love story or not? Contact Jeremy Rosenberg via email: arrivalstory [at] gmail [dot] com or contact or follow him on Twitter @LosJeremy

Photo: A woman being tested by a nurse on a "Kissograph" -- a telegraph for long distance smooching. Photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Public Library.

About the Author

Jeremy Rosenberg is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, and consultant whose work has appeared in various books, magazines, newspapers, and online.
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