Love Letters winners: Together 29 years after an unlikely start
The Post Independent asked for your love stories, and you responded with passion, humor and creativity. We received three dozen entries from all over Garfield County, the Front Range and even beyond Colorado.
Your essays, poems and letters treated us to stories of romantic love, family ties, friendship and literal puppy love. Some of you wrote about reverence for the Earth, the ocean and all of nature.
Couple stories ranged from love at first sight to strong dislike upon meeting. You told us about young love, missed opportunities that ultimately worked out, and seasoned love tested by distance, serious illness and other challenges.
Our winner, “Sweet Tomato,” by Sunny Hackman of Lakewood, is a look at one of those challenges: a single mother of three and a never-married engineer blending all the stuff of life into a family.
The Hackmans, who visit Glenwood Springs “all the time” and hope to move here in part because their youngest daughter lives here, win a $450 prize package provided by our Love Letters contest sponsors: The Flower Mart (a dozen roses), Ironbridge Grill (dinner for two), Jewels and Gems (a pendant necklace) and Simply Massage (couples massage).
In the winning entry, Sunny wrote that she had been “ruled by the tyranny of the urgent” when she met Brad Hackman, the engineer with no parenting experience — Sunny adds that it did not come naturally to him — who had sworn off dating.
It was an unlikely match, but the Hackmans married and began their family journey 29 years ago. Sunny’s children, two teenagers and a 4-year-old, were not at all impressed by the new path their lives were taking. Sunny said no one would have bet on them staying together.
So how did they do it? The familiar bedrocks of love and faith in God were essential. But it took commitment and work, too. The couple joined a step-parenting support group and learned valuable lessons from people facing the same issues. One of those was “never let the kids divide us,” Sunny explained.
It worked. The children survived, and Sunny and Brad are still in love.
They hope to move here to be closer to youngest daughter Jesslyn Hildred, who lives here with her husband, Chris. They are expecting a baby in March.
Sunny said that will give her even more reason to spend time in Glenwood. She is an avid reader of the Post Independent, and her children joke that she knows more about what’s going on in Glenwood than many residents.
Other Love Letters finalists were:
• “Horses” by Raymond Van Der Veer of Rifle
• “From Germany With Love” by Ari Wolters of Carbondale
• “You Are So Hot” by Susy Ellison of Carbondale
Browse all of the Love Letters entries at http://tinyurl.com/PILoveLetters.
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Christina Cappelli described playwright Steven Dietz’s “The Nina Variations” as providing a couple with a reset button, the ability to repeat conversations and say something differently and see where things will end up this time.