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Madeleine (left) and Harvey Plonsker are the winning couple of this year’s How We Met Contest. Photo Submitted
Megan Bernard, Editor
12:08 am CST February 14, 2019

Longtime Glencoe resident Madeleine Plonsker entered her love story to The Glencoe Anchor’s How We Met Contest and instantly captured our hearts.

Madeleine and her husband Harvey met in 1947 but didn’t really end up speaking until high school at New Trier; however, it was happily ever after when he asked to her to senior prom. Sparing the details (printed below), they’ve been married for 57 years now and have lived on Lincoln Drive in Glencoe for 48 of those. 

Our contest sponsor, the Chicago Botanic Garden, gifted the Plonskers two tickets to the Orchid Show: In the Tropics at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. The show runs from through March 24. 

Without further ado, here’s the winning contest entry:

“I was 7 and he was 8. In the fall of 1947 as I entered second grade at Hubbard Woods School, a new boy came to my school. He was chubby, had curly hair and wore glasses. I was thin, had long wavy hair and 20/20 vision. No interest. In 1948, we all took up an instrument to play at school. He chose clarinet, I chose piano. We both began to play in the Skokie Junior High School orchestra. We never spoke though we both knew who the other was. Still no interest.

“Then, in the summer of 1956, he appeared with his family at Ravinia in a tuxedo for a Leonard Bernstein concert. Suddenly, this nerdy clarinet boy had become the handsomest young man in the world. I tried to attract his attention all that summer, to no avail. I knew if I could only talk with him he would fall in love with me immediately ... and one day marry me.

“Finally, when school began that September, I found myself sitting next to him in study hall at New Trier. I was now a junior and could study along with the senior-class students. Both our last names began with the letter P. The Gods had smiled, or so I thought. We finally talked for the first time. I was so excited. But, all he did was ask me if I knew any girls that he might date. I wanted to die. I was so mad that I gave him the names of the ugliest girls I knew. 

“Finally, in the spring of 1957, just before he graduated, he asked me, out of the blue, if I would go to the senior prom with him. I had another ‘sorta’ boyfriend but, on a lark, I said “yes.” On August 28, 2019, we will have been married for 58 years. The alphabet changed our lives!”

Second place: Lightening strikes twice 

"1992. New Trier East. Mrs. Carlson’s chemistry class. It was like lightening struck the moment I saw Melissa. We were at opposite ends go the social spectrum, and let’s just say Melissa didn’t share the same fondness towards me that I felt towards her. Most of that school year was spent walking past her locker, writing 'MM' (for Melissa and Matt) on my copy of "The Great Gatsby," and trying to think of reasons to call her at night.

"She was always willing to answer my questions about chemistry homework on the phone (when I called her asking for 'help' with the homework that I had already completed), but she wasn’t exactly going to be going on a date with me. I loved being around her, and I loved talking to her. Mrs. Carlson — who probably knew I had a giant crush on Melissa — assigned us to be lab partners together. We became good friends during that school year, and sometimes our phone calls would extend beyond chemistry homework and into discussions about real life.

"NT graduation was a little sad for me. I was going to Ann Arbor, and she was off to Madison. I spent the groggy day after graduation listening to Cracker’s 'Kerosene Hat' album, thinking I would never see Melissa again.

"2000. Lake Shore Drive jogging path near Fullerton.

"I was headed north, and Melissa was running south. We passed each other, and it felt like lightening struck again. She gave me a blank stare, but after we passed I turned around and saw she had stopped to tie her shoe. I re-introduced myself. We started talking, and haven’t stopped since.

"16 years of and three children later, I still sometimes find myself thinking of reasons to call her." — Matt and Melissa Friedman, of Glencoe