Jari and Heather

Jari and Heather photo taken in 2001 by Rob Gibson
This photo was taken about three months after we met – for the second time. We have to be clear about this, because our first two meetings were separated by more than 10 months.Jari was born in Karhula, Finland, but has lived almost all of his life in Baltimore, MD, while Heather was born in Nebraska and moved to Illinois, Montana, and finally California, all before the age of 5. After spending 7 years in Massachusetts following college graduation, Heather moved to Northern Virginia on June 1, 2000, and on June 24 she and Jari met for the first time at a Civil War reenactment at Ft. Ward, Alexandria, VA.Heather was just a spectator at that event, since her belongings were still in storage. But she was thrilled to find several people doing Civil War music at that event, and talked to many of them, including members of Gilmore’s Light Ensemble, with whom she now plays flute on occasion. Jari was there with his bugle demonstration and she talked to him too. But after that event, Heather and Jari wouldn’t meet again until the following spring.On May 5, 2001, Heather went to Fairfax, VA for a living history day at Blenheim Mansion, and who should be there but the bugler she had met the previous summer! We talked, we played duets, we even danced together…
The friendly folks in Co. D, 3rd US (Jari’s home unit which Heather joined later that summer) were watching most avidly! Heather thought Jari was interested, but she was shy, so she didn’t encourage him. However, he was determined not to let her get away again, and although he didn’t get her phone number, he did find out where she worked, and that Tuesday Heather was surprised to receive a card in the morning’s mail with an invitation to dinner.Our first date, on Memorial Day 2001, was 12 hours long, which I suppose should have told us all we needed to know right there! We attended a Civil War memorial service in Baltimore, toured Ft. McHenry and had dinner in Little Italy, and then spent the rest of the evening talking. That set the pattern for our subsequent dates, and in fact for the rest of our relationship. We still love talking with each other, and although we’re very different people from very different backgrounds, we’ve found so many shared interests in common that we’ve felt at home with each other from the start.It didn’t take long for us to figure out that we had each found someone very special to us. And on September 29, 2002, just 7 months after we became engaged, and approximately 17 months from that second meeting, we were married at Catonsville United Methodist Church, with family and friends from Baltimore, across the country, and around the world in attendance.