Happily Ever After

From puppy love to the real deal, countless relationships have blossomed at USM and its predecessor schools. These sweethearts share their love stories and take us on a romantic stroll down memory lane.

Marcia (Carman) MUS’49 & Warren MUS’48 Bowlus

Marcia (Carman) MUS’49 & Warren MUS’48 Bowlus

If it weren’t for a piece of candy, my life would have taken a left turn and I would not have met my life’s partner, Warren Bowlus. When I was in 5th grade, a piece of round, wafer candy became caught crosswise in my throat. My mother called our doctor, who in those days made house calls. In the ensuing conversation, we learned that our doctor, Dr. Johnson, was on the board of directors of Milwaukee University School, where my older sister, Elizabeth Carman MUS’45, was a student. We learned that the lower school’s 6th grade was looking for one more student, so it was decided that I should attend MUS in the fall. Though I didn’t know it at the time, it had a huge impact on my life.

The next year, the junior-high girls decided to have a Sadie Hawkins-themed hay ride party in early February where the girls could ask the boys. Of course there was only one guy I wanted to ask, and he was Warren! Warren likes to tell everyone that I asked him out on our first date—telling them, “Imagine a February hayride in Wisconsin! You know how cold it was?” Regardless, neither of us looked back and soon thereafter we were going steady.

We took long walks along Lake Michigan, south to downtown Milwaukee or north to Whitefish Bay. We didn’t care how long they were because we were together. We often went to the movies, many of which were double-headers with headliner Big Band stage acts between them, for 15 to 25 cents.

We both went on to college—I went to Milwaukee’s Layton School of Art on a scholarship and Warren attended UW-La Crosse for physical education, but the distance did not hinder our growing affection. We were married in December 1950, and that was the beginning of the next wonderful chapter in our life together, including the births of our two children who are both now retired—imagine that!

We have been enjoying our retirement for 31 years, and have traveled to many countries. We enjoy cruising and, on one of our 73 cruises, I was asked, “What’s the secret to a long marriage?” My answer is this: Be friends first, then get married, then have children, then go cruising like we do!

Every year we celebrate two anniversaries—our first date in 1943, and our wedding anniversary; we look forward to celebrating our 69th wedding anniversary this winter! We know long relationships like ours don’t always happen but we are so grateful that a piece of candy turned my life right instead of left, and set the wheels moving in the right direction.

– Marcia Bowlus MUS’49

Tim “Bubba” ’06 & Martha (Sprague) ’06 Heitman

Tim “Bubba” ’06 & Martha (Sprague) ’06 Heitman

Bubba and I met when I joined his class at USM in 2nd grade, but it would take graduation to officially put us together. In fact, Bubba (a USM lifer) and I were paired to walk down the aisle together for USM’s Commencement. While we waited in line, Bubba “put on the moves,” and I immediately fell for him. We started dating that summer and decided to give a long-distance relationship a shot. After staying together throughout college and a move to Washington, D.C., we walked down the aisle again in 2014 and were married surrounded by many USM alumni. We recently moved back to the Midwest and now reside in Chicago with our dog, Winston.
– Martha Heitman ’06

Kathy (Muth) ’65 & Gregg ’65 Kuehn

Tim “Bubba” ’06 & Martha (Sprague) ’06 Heitman

If Milwaukee University School and Milwaukee Country Day School hadn’t merged, we never would have met. Kathy and I were introduced at the house of a mutual friend in the fall of 1964, our senior year and the first year of the schools’ merger. We remained friends but didn’t date, and we both graduated in 1965. Although Kathy went off to college in the Midwest and I went east to Tufts, we still kept in touch.

Our first official date was New Year’s Eve, 1965. We dated through the next summer, and soon thereafter Kathy transferred to the University of Denver. Thanks to student standby airfares (only $100 round-trip), we were able to visit each other several times during our sophomore year. The relationship got more serious as the year went by, and we spent spring break of 1967 in the Bahamas with my family.

From then on, neither of us dated anyone else even though we had a long-distance romance. We worked it out and managed to see each other every six to eight weeks during the school year. I gave Kathy my fraternity pin in the beginning of our senior year, and we became engaged during spring break of 1969, on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas.

We both graduated in May 1969 and moved back to Milwaukee, and were married that August. During our second year of marriage we moved to Grafton, Wisconsin, and bought the house where we still live today! Eventually we had two sons who both graduated from USM—Charlie ’96 and Andy ’99.

– Gregg Kuehn ’65

Read more USM love stories here, and share your own!

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