Our Story – Continued

Kevin and I continue to talk and learn about each other over the next several months. I find myself arriving at the Studios at the same time on Fridays, in hopes of another visit with Kevin. He is easy to talk to and I get lost in his eyes and the sound of his voice. Kevin admitted later he thought I was cute and knew what time I would generally arrive at the Studios.

August 26th, on this day we are both brave. We have what I call a “Must Love Dogs” moment. Kevin and I discuss our past relationships but do not mention any current. At this moment we realize we have had many of the same experiences and have decided maybe life alone is our future. We establish our top priority is our family, which is amazing. Each taking turns on the soap box stating our views on life, love and society.

Kevin tells me he is single but not really looking. I confirm I am single and not looking. Kevin then says, “Wait! You aren’t dating anyone?”. I respond, “No, I’m not dating anyone.” Kevin, “Then we should go to dinner.” I respond, “Yes, we should.” He then tells me to call or text him with a good time to meet. He finally asked, I was going to give him two more weeks then ask him out myself. I am so excited, I enter the door to the hall leading to my studio and start skipping. Then I realize I don’t have his number, but we are friends on Facebook. I hear my name, it’s Kevin, calling me to give me his business card. I sheepishly open the door, wondering if he saw me skipping down the hall. He looked through three pockets before he found his card. He smiled and handed the card to me. (I still carry that business card with me).

I arrive at home and tell my children the news. My daughters say wait for a day then call or text. My sons say call or text him now. I followed my sons’ advice. Kevin and I texted off and on the rest of the evening. Saturday would be our first date. We decide to visit at his home, on the front porch and we discuss everything under the sun. Five hours of talking and laughing, sharing our life experiences. We have our first kiss and later admit to each other we saw fireworks and stars.

He walks me to my car as I leave and asks what I am doing the next day. I respond, “If you are asking, I am spending time with you. ” Kevin smiles and says,”See you tomorrow.” Our first dinner out together, Kevin announced,”I can’t wait for you to meet my folks and my family, they are going to love you!” Two weeks later we said I love you for the first time. By the end of September I met his family and we all loved each other. His mom pulled me off to the side and said, “I am glad my son found you, a woman that loves him and I can see he loves you back.” I asked how she knew and she told me a Mama knows.

I am thankful we were both brave and said yes to another chance with love. We believe in love at first sight and are glad we were patient and found the one. Kevin and I hope you are enjoying learning about us and our beginning. We want to share with you our beginning and what led us to becoming Happy Mileurs.

Our Story – The Beginning

We met at the Studios on Sheridan in Peoria, Illinois in April 2017. Our meeting was divine, we shared our story with one another. A raw look into each other’s souls so to speak. Kevin a retired Prison Guard and me a representative at an insurance company. Both of us passionate about the arts. We spoke about not really fitting in but the comfort we found in the arts and how we felt we fit in well in this world. He held my hand and looked in my eyes, my heart stopped and I knew.

Kevin went to First Fridays at the Studios with a friend and enjoyed visiting with the artists on open studio nights. He decided three years ago to take a part time job in the building and is the photographer for the First Friday event. After working in prisons, he wanted to remember to see the beauty in the world after seeing so much sadness. He adventures along river road and captures beautiful photographs of wildlife and nature. Kevin says, “God creates the pictures, I just take them.” A humble and goodhearted man. Kevin is an excellent photographer and has the ability to capture a person’s essence and natural state in photography. His nature and wildlife photographs capture eagles in flight and the stillness of nature. Kevin’s photography speaks to your soul.

I went to First Fridays with my daughters and met local artists. We enjoyed viewing the art and hearing the artists’ stories of how and why they create. One First Friday my oldest daughter and I met Gene Mialkowski. I shared my passion for art with him and we became fast friends. He gave me the courage to reach out to Preston Jackson, a Master Artist, who later taught me the art of sculpting. In March of 2017, I was visiting my Auntie in Iowa and collecting materials for our weekend of creating. I remember telling her if only I could share a studio with an artist it would be affordable. We finished shopping and as we arrived at the car my phone rang, it was Gene-o. He called to invite me to share a studio with him at Studios on Sheridan for the exact amount I had stated would work. My Auntie responded, “God really is in Hobby Lobby.”

Gene-o and I moved into our studio on April 1, 2017 and held our first open studio on First Friday, April 7th. The date April 7th is near and dear to me and significant. My Mom passed away in 2011, her birthday is April 7th. She could not be present physically for my first open studio but being able to have such an event on her birthday is a tribute to her. I met Kevin while Gene-o and I moved into our studio. As Gene-o and I prepared for our work to be in the public eye, Kevin was checking to see if we had everything ready before opening our studio doors for our initial First Friday.

Our meeting was divine. Two people, different backgrounds, a passion for art and nature, now together. We are thankful his friend invited him to First Fridays and my friend invited me to share a studio.