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Mandy is from Tennessee. One day, she went out to visit her sister in LA. “I met Curt there – end of story.” They’ve been married almost seven years. They now live in Rhode Island, and work together at Fidelity Investments. They visit The 201, next to the Westminster Stories window, pretty regularly – two months ago, Mandy’s band played a special gig there for Curt’s birthday.

Andrea and Josh are here to celebrate their anniversary. They live together in Boston, where they are both graduate students. They chose to come celebrate in Providence because “we’ve never been here before.” They’re staying at the Biltmore, and are heading for breakfast at Tazza. “Do you know where it is? Right over there? Great!”

In February 2004, Tazza hosted a celebration of International Quirkyalone Day – which takes place on Valentine’s Day. According to the Quirkyalone website, it’s “a call to arms to celebrate the possibiliies open to single people today. It’s not anti-Valentine’s Day. It just happens to fall on the same day.” To learn more, visit www.quirkyalone.net

Ten years ago, a man approached Tony the Dancing Cop with something for him to look after, and an idea. A few hours later, the man crossed the intersection of Dorrance and Westminster Street, with his girlfriend. Tony stopped the traffic… then the man got down on one knee. Tony handed him the engagement ring, and the man proposed right there in the middle of the street. “When she said yes, all the cars beeped their horns in celebration. It was a really lovely thing.”

Tiffany and Jessie were the first Rhode Islanders to get married in Massachusetts after the law changed. “It worked out perfectly – our marriage certificate was issued four years to the day after our civil union in Vermont, and it’s the anniversary of the day we met.” They’ve been together for 14 years, after meeting on the first day of college. “It’s still working out.”

For fifty years, until the late 1980s, engaged couples would get their portraits taken by Stephen Gabermann, whose final studio was in the Alice Building, opposite Craftland. Originally from Austria, he moved to the US in the 1920s, when he was still a child, and went on to serve in the navy at Guantanamo Bay during WWII. His pictures, which always carried his distinctive signature, were retouched by hand. Like he used to say, “People like to be flattered.”

Sharon and Charlie are window shopping on Westminster Street, “looking at things we can’t afford.” They’re been together for 30 years. He’s holding a book he just picked up at Symposium Books across the street, while she has a copy of Providence Monthly. “We’ve always loved Providence,” says Sharon. Charlie agrees. “You never know who you’re going to bump into.”

Where Design Within Reach is today, just opposite Two Brothers, used to be a store called Richley’s Cards and Gifts. On Valentine’s Day, it sold a variety of special items, including candles and cards. The store opened in 1962, and stayed the entire pedestrianization throughout of Westminster Street, closing a few years after the street was opened up again to traffic. The name itself was a hybrid of the names of the owner’s two children: Richard and Shelley.

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