Love Between the Tombstones 🪦

Verionica & Scott's Meet-Cute

Love can bloom in the unlikeliest of places, even in the middle of a cemetery.

That’s what this week’s Love Letter couple found out in the early 1990s. Veronica and Scott were just college students working summer jobs at a local cemetery when they found each other. And despite the peculiarity of their surroundings, a relationship quickly bloomed.

What began as a friendship based on healthy arguments over tabloid newspapers has grown into a marriage that just hit its 24th year. Indeed, the pair credit their friendship for helping them know that they would make a great couple. These days, Veronica and Scott far prefer to enjoy movies and TV shows together than to sweat in a cemetery, though they still enjoy a healthy argument now and then.

Let’s dive in.

Veronica & Scott at the cemetery

How did you meet?

Veronica: It was 1994, and we met at our summer job where we both worked at a cemetery. He cut grass and It was his second summer there. It was my first summer. I did gardening. I was called a “special care girl,” which sounds kind of pornographic, but it was just that some people paid extra for their plot to have their gardening needs met. I got that job because my old boyfriend at the time was the owner’s son. And Scott had a girlfriend. So that first summer we just worked together.

Scott: So this is my side of the story. It was a great job, you’re basically working in a large park, even though it’s a cemetery. It’s a nice, quiet place to work. There’s a lot of wildlife.

My second summer, I remember I had heard new people were starting. So I came in during our first break of the day, which was around 9 o’clock in the morning.

I remember walking in and seeing Veronica sitting in the corner and in my head I had this very strange feeling of I'm going to marry this girl. I don't know why, I never had that feeling before. Something hit me hard. I don't know what it was

A cemetery doesn’t exactly sound like a romantic place to meet. How do you feel the location played into your dynamic?

Scott: Well, it wasn’t immediate!

Veronica: The thing about working at the cemetery that we worked at was you had a core half dozen guys, very rough around the edges, who worked year-round. They were the full-timers. And then in the summer their peace and quiet got wrecked because all these students would come to do the groundskeeping work over the summer.

I think most of becoming, you know, friendly with each other was during our breaks we'd all come back to this little shack where they had a table. Everything was dirty, we were dirty all the time. And there were a bunch of tabloid newspapers around. And we would read the newspaper and just talk. And back then you were in clouds of smoke because all the full-timers smoked. And even people who didn't regularly smoke suddenly took up smoking. So you’d just be trying to breathe and eat your snack or whatever.

And it was during that second summer, when we no longer had our girlfriend or boyfriend, that a lot of times we would share a newspaper because there were only a few for a group of 20 people. This was a newspaper whose editorial position I strongly disagreed with. So we would argue about the editorials or we would read the letters to the editor and we would just discuss or argue about it. I think that was sort of the beginning of becoming a little bit friendlier, even with the difference of opinion.

How long have you been together?

Veronica: Since 1996. We actually just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary last Monday.

Scott: We got engaged in 1997 and we got married in 1999.

The day of their wedding

Do you think there’s any secret to maintaining such a long relationship?

Veronica: We have a real respect for each other. There are things that I've seen in friends’ relationships that I don't think either of us would have tolerated in a partner. And I think it's fair to say we’ve both had experiences with annoying past partners that for me made me know how to recognize that he would be a great partner when we started dating.

Scott: I think starting out as friends helped make a good foundation. You get to know the person more. Friends can see how each other are without any real consequences. I think people let loose a little more with friends as opposed to a partner.

I think we were quite aware of who we really were, as well as we saw each other at our worst in the sense of working in a cemetery. We were absolutely filthy and disgusting as opposed to being all dressed up and clean.

Veronica: I did not shower before going to work when I worked in the summers. I would shower when I got home. I wore a baseball cap and grubby clothes that you would just not care about getting dirty. We were just always dirty and smelly and just gross. Although I will say my first impression of him that first day – and keep in mind I had a boyfriend who worked with us – was that he was the cutest one there.

What are your favorite things to do together?

Veronica: I love watching a great show together, or a movie that we both like.

Scott: We've always sort of hung out together even before we were married. We love just hanging out and watching a movie or TV show. Before we met each other, we both worked at video stores.

Veronica: And we actually still like talking about current events. And arguing. In fact, our very, very, very first fight ever, he had picked me up at school and was driving me home. I think we had been dating barely three months. And it was about politics. And I started to cry. And he was like “Are you serious? You’re crying about politics?”

How would you say arguing and having a strong point of view plays a role in your relationship?

Veronica: It’s a big part of our entire family dynamic.

Scott: Yes, it definitely is.

Veronica: We’re very busy right now so we don't really eat as much together as the families we used to. But when our children were younger and we made a point of having at least one meal together, we were always discussing current events.

Our kids at a very young age could name politicians that represented them at all levels of government. They were well aware of what was happening in world social issues and political issues.

I would rather be with someone who has an opinion that's based on something even if I don't agree with it than to be with someone who just says “Oh, it doesn't impact me. I don't care.” That would drive me bananas.

Most recently…

Love is a delicate bloom that can grow even in the shadow of tombstones, proving that the heart can find light in the darkest corners of life.

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Interviewed and transcribed by Nicolas Vega. This interview has been edited for length and clarity