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September 23, 2013

RoseWood love stories

Reunion draws couples back to the town that brought them together

TERRE HAUTE — Love filled the air at Providence Center at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College on Sunday morning as couples got together for brunch to celebrate their love — and their schools.

But these are not just ordinary married couples. These are RoseWood couples.

The crosstown romances of recent decades between students attending Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College is no secret in Terre Haute.

Many Rose men and Woods women met at school dances, social events, blind dates and fraternity gatherings. Many also fell in love and got married.

And many years later, still married, the couples came home on Sunday.

About 15 RoseWood couples attended the “RoseWood Couples Brunch,” which was part of the weekend-long homecoming festivities for both Rose-Hulman and SMWC.

‘42 years in Training’

Forty years after they said “I do” at a little chapel in Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods Village, Stan and Trudy Mickey looked at each other lovingly as they recalled the first time they met.

“We met on a blind date … here at the Woods,” said Stan, who graduated from Rose-Hulman in 1973.

“My roommate asked me to go out with him that night so I came down the stairs and said ‘I’m your date for the night. If that isn’t going to work for you, just let me know, I’ll go back upstairs,’” said Trudy, (Woods class of 1974) of their first meeting.

“He said, ‘No, you’ll be fine,’” Trudy added.

Trudy was more than fine for Stan.

“He went home that night and told his mother he met the girl he’s going to marry,” Trudy said laughing, as the couple stood inside Providence Center Sunday.

Stan and Trudy, who connected immediately, “sat and talked for hours and hours and hours” afterward, Trudy said. They got married two years later.

“So, [for] 42 years he’s been in training,” Trudy said laughing.

“Yeah,” Stan, a Terre Haute native, responded jokingly.

But beneath the fun-loving exterior is true love.

“She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever known,” Stan said of his wife.

And many years of supporting each other.

“He’s always been my number one staunch supporter. … It’s been a blessing,” Trudy, who was born in St. Louis, said.

The union produced three children. The couple’s only daughter graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, and one of their sons graduated from Rose-Hulman.

A give-and-take relationship has been the secret to their long marriage.

“You have to respect each other. … You got to let each person grow on their own,” Stan said.

Stan and Trudy regularly make the eight-hour drive from their home in Cortland, Ohio, to visit Terre Haute.

“To us, it’s like coming home. … This is our base,” Trudy said.

25 years of marriage

Other RoseWood couples still live in Terre Haute.

Charles Fox proudly wore a lapel pin with the Rose symbol. He was a graduate of Rose Polytechnic Institute class of 1944.

His wife, Maryella Elbrink Mosele-Fox sat beside him — the onyx ring on her finger — on a loveseat just outside O’Shaughnessy Hall in the campus of Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College. She is a member of Woods class of 1981.

The couple occasionally exchanged glances as they talked about their unique relationship.

“She’s an intelligent girl,” Charles said of his wife.

“I thought he was the most intelligent man I’ve ever known. And he did spend a lot of time educating me … about travel, about the world,” said Maryella.

Unlike other RoseWood couples, Charles and Maryella met at work, not on campus. They also knew each other because of their families.

After meeting in 1975, their relationship “just evolved,” Charles said.

“It was a good friendship,” Maryella added.

The couple was bound by similar interests such as auctions and travel. Together, they have visited about 25 countries during their 25-year marriage.

Maryella and Charles said they know other RoseWood couples.

“One couple lives across the street from us,” Charles said.

“Tradition”

And RoseWood couples have become part of the fabric of Terre Haute.

“We’ve known for a long time that we’ve had a lot of marriages between Rose-Hulman and Saint-Mary-of-the- Woods,” said SMWC President Dottie King.

The brunch is a result of years of planning to “bring these couples together,” King said.

The alumni offices of Rose-Hulman and SMWC organized the event.

“Historically, our alums have this connection and have married Rose-Hulman men, and we just thought it [the brunch] would be a fun way to bring both institutions together and celebrate that connection,” said Chanel Reeder, SMWC director of alumnae affairs.

It celebrates a “tradition,” said Rose-Hulman President James C. Conwell.

It is about “the relationship between … what at one time was an all-guy school with an all-women school. It seems to be a common theme especially among our older alumni. … They met and somehow maintained a relationship,” he said.

It is one of the traditions that binds the two schools together.

“It’s really exciting for both institutions but also for the community of Terre Haute because both of these schools have such rich traditions, and then this becomes a tradition embedded between both of those. It becomes a nice point of intersection,” King said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.

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