Yes, Valentine’s Day is upon us. However you celebrate it, I hope it is with remembering someone very special in your life. We not only recognize our romantic counterparts but also those people in our lives who we love very much–our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, godchildren, and so on. It’s pretty expensive buying a card for everyone, but a phone call or email–even a text–would certainly work to convey your feelings.

This month’s feature story is a love story, which I try and do in February every year. There are many in our community who fit the bill, but this couple is really special. Married 54 years, they met at age 17 wrapping Christmas gifts over the holidays for a store long gone from our community–Robert Hall Clothes in Santa Ana. At the time, Bette Robb was a senior at Bolsa Grande High School in Huntington Beach and Wylie Aitken was a freshman at Santa Ana College. It didn’t take long before the spark they both felt at first meeting developed into something more and in several years, they were married. Bette soon gave up her substitute teaching career to raise their family of three, and Wylie, a graduate of Marquette University Law School, was on his way to becoming one of the top plaintiff lawyers in the country.

This is a success story in itself, but the real success story is their love for each other. No matter what happened, they worked through it. And, we benefited as a community because Bette and Wylie are one of the most generous philanthropists in Orange County. Coming from very modest means, they are more than happy to be able to help others – and smile while they’re doing it.

Our Chapman University story centers on the more than 800 alumni who have married. It seemed appropriate to highlight five married couples who met at the university since Valentine’s Day is approaching.

Along with the Valentine’s theme, chocolate always comes to mind–at least for me. I am known as a “chocoholic” to my friends! You will enjoy our “Incredibly Sweet Indulgences” story on page 42, which features three absolutely awesome bakers and their handiwork. Two of the three desserts highlighted are chocolate, so I rest my case!

We also feature a travel story on a cross-country train journey through Canada. The sights are absolutely breathtaking, and who knew a train could be so cozy? You might consider it for you and your loved one.

In closing, however you celebrate Valentine’s Day, enjoy it–whether you’re on the receiving or giving end – or both!

Until next time,

Donna Bunce, Editor