2022 Love List:
Jeremy & Heidi & Jess, Monona, 20 years & 4 years
Colleen Frentzel & Kimberly Blanchette, Janesville, 16 Years
Grace Novie Stolen (She/Her, Ae/Aer) & Martin (Ze/Hir, They/Them), Washburn, 1 Year
Patsy & Vivian Lin, Madison, 2 years
Sylvester Brown & Giordi Molitor, Milwaukee, 2 years
Bear Cunningham & Danielle Jordan, Madison, 2 years
June 16, 1991 was a typical Father’s Day Sunday for most, but that evening’s events ended up changing Joseph and David’s lives forever.
At All Saints Cathedral on Juneau Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, there were auditions and job assignments for “Snow White and the Seven Drunks” (an original production for the upcoming LGBTQ Recovery Convention in early September). David had been encouraged (pushed) by his friends to “get involved in something” in his early recovery. Joseph planned to be as involved as he could—in everything. Though David preferred to just do a few things behind the scenes, he was hard to miss with his staggering good looks and a voice that would make Sam Elliott jealous. Although Joseph whooshed into the room, in the tornado he has always tended to be in the middle of, he stopped dead in his tracks. Each was thinking, “Who is that!?!?!!!” This play was going to be very interesting!
They spent most of that summer getting distracted by each other from afar but trying to focus on their roles with the show. Besides, as David told a close friend early on, “As cute as he might be, I couldn’t be around that much energy. It would probably kill me.”
By summer’s end, neither one could take it any longer. The day that David was determined to ask Joseph out, Joseph found the perfect moment and asked David out for coffee after rehearsal. They closed down The Coffee Trader on Downer Avenue after hours of talking and laughing and sharing—and literally falling in love. As different as the two of them were, they were truly a match. Just by his nature, David helped mellow Joseph’s insanity, and Joseph helped David get outside of himself.
As the years and decades have progressed, the stories are vast: First LGBTQ couple to “get married” at Milwaukee’s Cross Lutheran Church in September of 1993; Joseph joining David on his first trip back to rural Wisconsin for David’s 40th high school class reunion; several vacations to Montana that led to quitting their jobs and moving from Milwaukee to southwestern Wisconsin to open The Kickapoo Valley Ranch Guest Cabins and Cowboy David’s Bakery. They became out, proud, and aggressively Democratic “cowboys” in small town Wisconsin.
What began as a bashful hello so very many years ago has truly blossomed into a massively full life of an incredible happily ever after.