‘How I Met Your Mother’: The Real Life Stories

We grow on tales of fairytale romance; of princes rescuing princesses from dragons to win their heart, and curses being broken with the power of true love. They’re some of the most popular and enduring stories of all time.

Yet, despite our long term affinity with love stories, we’re often unaware of the real magic that’s right there in front of us. A study conducted by non-profit organisation Augr discovered that just two in every 10 people know how their grandparents met, with a third admitting they don’t know how their parents met either.

It’s a real shame that so few of us are aware of these stories, as they can often be just as captivating (and perhaps more entertaining) than the fictional works we’re so used to hearing. Just take the following as examples!

True Romance

Feifei Wang - Quora:

My grandparents’ love story was really romantic, good enough for a movie.

My grandma was the eldest daughter of a prominent local merchant in Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning province, northeast of China. 

My grandfather was a young surgeon, and worked at a hospital directed by my grandma’s brother. My grandma never told me exactly how they first met; [they] ran into each other in the hospital. My grandpa was a handsome guy with a gentle personality; I can totally imagine my grandma falling for him.

My great-grandfather wasn’t happy about the affair, mostly because he already set up a marriage for my grandma. So my courageous grandma, reading too many “liberal” novels, bit her teeth and ran away with my grandpa! 

And my grandparents travelled west, away from the battlefield for hundreds of miles, and eventually settled down in Yinchuan, a northwest city, my grandpa then went to war (WWII) as an army surgeon.

Every time I thought about this, I would imagine my grandma packing her stuff and sneaking out of the house, riding the train with my grandpa in to a cold winter night… ah…. How romantic!

'EpiphyllumOxypetalum' - Reddit:

Well the story that my grandfather told me is that he was in a tree, picking coconuts, when he saw my grandmother talking to some friends. Thinking she was pretty he wanted to get her attention, so he lobbed a coconut at her. Hitting on her in a very literal way.

How they were able to make a relationship and a successful marriage that produced 14 kids, after a first meeting like that, is beyond my understanding.

Kathy Hurst Davis - Quora:

Grandmother said that Granddaddy was dating her cousin. Now Grandma did not like this cousin. Grandma said that the cousin was bragging about her boyfriend (Granddaddy was a very nice looking man). It made Grandma mad. 

She popped off and said that she could snatch him any time if she wanted to. Her cousin dared her to try. Grandmother marched over to Grandaddy and just took over. She was a very outgoing person and my granddad was a very shy and passive person. She said, “We are going out.” Shortly after that, she said, “We’re getting married.”

And they did.

'Mrspiffyhimself' - Reddit

My dad went to high school with my mom’s cousins. She later in her 20s came to the US from Mexico to work in the fields with her cousins. They met through my cousins but since my dad couldn’t speak Spanish… and my mom couldn’t speak English… my mom’s cousin translated for them for about a year and half.

Eventually my mom returned home and they sent letters back and forth (with the help of my mom’s cousins) and eventually my parents got married in Mexico, even though my Dad understood Spanish but didn’t speak it at all. 

Now though, they both speak both languages, with my dad especially learning Spanish to the point that you never would have guessed that he didn’t know the language when they first met.

Stephen W - Quora

My grandparents never met until the day of their marriage. They remained married for the next 64 years before my grandmother passed away and my grandfather four years thereafter.

… Unlike in most arranged marriages, which are arranged by parents, this marriage was actually set up by their mutual family friends who helped them to exchange photos.

When I asked my grandfather what his first impression was when he first saw my grandmother, he said that she was even prettier than she appeared in her photos.

When I asked my grandmother the same question, she replied, “He was very short”.

It’s hard to imagine the amount of change they experienced in their lifetimes: 30 years in China, 30 years in Taiwan, and 30 years in Los Angeles; but it’s also equally hard to conceive that such a strong, long-lasting partnership would be formed despite never having met each other prior to the day of their commitment.

'Ms_Snarki' - Reddit

My dad’s parents… My grandmother was working for the US consulate out of Cairo and had to go to Baghdad as part of her work. The consulate in Baghdad set her up with a local driver while she was there who spoke English because he’d done a year of college in the states. That driver was my grandfather.

Instead of merely taking her where she absolutely needed to go, he decided to show her the town, take her to all the best spots and parties etc. They had a two week long whirlwind romance, after which she left and my understanding is they had no intention of ever seeing each other again.

But a few months later he gets a letter from her saying she’s pregnant. She wasn’t asking him for anything, her parents were going to help her take care of the child, but he wasn’t having any of that and he still had a US visa so he came to the states, got a job in customs, and they got married.

'AdamsAtwoodOrwell' - Reddit

My parents met at a bar. My dad asked out my mother’s friend. My mother felt badly when my father was rejected by her friend. The friend thought my father was too young to be at the bar. My mother offered to go out with my father after he showed them his ID proving he was of age.

They were married nine months later.

Anonymous - Reddit:

Both of them were from Russia. Grandfather was a Czarist, an educated man, and the mayor of his town. Trouble was, when the Communists started gaining power, Czarists like him saw the writing on the wall and started skipping town.

Rumour has it there was a bounty on his head, and that he got out of Russia by the skin of his teeth. He settled in Canada in the early part of the 20th century. He’d established a career and reputation of sorts as a wheeler-dealer, and by the late 1920s, he’d made quite a bit of money. But he remained a bachelor, and he was pushing 40.

Anyway, he’d heard about this one guy in another part of Canada who’d been importing young women from Russia, paying for their passage into Canada and then allowing them to work off their debt. Might sound like slave-trading, but these women had normal jobs and good living conditions: a vast improvement over their lives in Russia.

My grandmother was one of these servants. She was working in a cafe/general store along with a few other girls. I think she was 17 or 18. (She never knew her actual birthday, another weird part of the family puzzle, but whatever.)

Anyway, my grandfather decided it was time to find a wife, so he arranged to meet one of these women — NOT my grandmother, mind you. Let’s call her Ludmilla. He travelled for something like 3 days and showed up at the cafe. Teenage Ludmilla takes one look at him — 40 years old, potbellied, three-piece suit and gold watch — and understandably freaks out.

So my grandmother tries to make him feel comfortable. Offers him a beverage, asks him about his trip, yada yada. Ludmilla eventually comes out and they go off to do whatever rural Russian immigrants did on a first date in the ’20s.

Apparently, it didn’t go well. They come back and my grandfather announces that he’d like to take Pearl — my grandmother — out instead. The rest is history. They spent three days together… they got married and moved to the logging camp, where my dad was born.

Later, they purchased and ran a small hotel, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places, along with a plaque that bears their (and my) name.

How Did Your Parents Meet?

The love that brought you into this world deserves to be remembered! And the stories should be saved, so that they might inspire the next generation; or at the very least entertain them.

We’re all seeking to know more about ourselves – how we got here; why we’re here – and the tales of two people meeting by fate, falling in love and creating a family help us understand that a little bit more.

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