LOVE - LOST & FOUND
By Shannon Linden
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
~Alfred Lord Tennyson
…That may be true, but there exists a rare few for whom fate fashions a different ending to Tennyson’s familiar poem.
Both couples we are featuring for our Valentine’s Day love story were youthful friends who fell for one another as teenagers, parted ways for years to come, then found one another again—discovering their past romance was very much alive in the present.
Caroline Kinloch and John Shklov
John Shklov was born in Newfoundland in 1942. His father, a military physician, moved the family there after training at the Vernon army camp. “Newfoundland was a jumping off place for soldiers headed for Europe and World War II,” John explains. “When my father left for the war, my mother took the train right back across Canada to her parents’ home in the Okanagan.”
Lucky for Caroline Kinloch. Two years John’s senior, she was born in Vernon. Her father, Battalion Commander, Colonel Kinloch, served with Dr. Shlov and their families became fast friends.
“Even our mothers were BFF’s in the day before Facebook,” John says.
John and Caroline grew up together swimming off Greyrocks, hiking with their dogs, and playing Monopoly for hours. “So much so that neither one of us can stand to play it now!” Caroline says, laughing.
When John’s family made the decision to relocate to Oahu, Hawaii, a 13-year-old Caroline was devastated.
They kept in touch the old-fashioned way, penning letters that spoke of their time together. When Caroline graduated from high school, her parents presented her with a dream gift: a plane ticket to Hawaii, where she was elated to spend time with John and his family.
It was 1959 and Caroline had to return to Canada but not before taking pictures at the Honolulu airport, capturing another departure, but perhaps foreshadowing an eventual return to the man she loved.
“For some reason I kept those pictures all these years,” she muses. Along with her diary and souvenirs collected while touring the tropical paradise, like her affection for John, she stashed the memorabilia away and carried on with her life.
In fact, she and John each went on to get married – twice. “I was married for almost a decade the first time and for more than two the second time,” John says. “Despite both partners best intentions in both marriages, circumstances intervened. Life happens. I have both happy and sad memories in both instances.”
John’s jobs were diverse over the years, including work at the State of Hawaii in the Historic Sites Division and the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. A move to Kuai in the early 80’s found him teaching in the prison system and at a group facility for court referred minors. His passion, however, was art, which he also taught at a community college—a talent he now hones in his retirement.
Leading parallel lives, Caroline also worked in community outreach with the prison system, through a drug and alcohol treatment center.
Fast forward a handful of decades and both John and Caroline found themselves single. Who knew technology would catapult them into the 21st-century dating game?
“I found John on Facebook,” Caroline explains. “We started communicating and in 2010 I attended a conference on Oahu and John suggested I make the trip to Kauai to visit him. We’ve been together ever since.”
The couple confirmed their commitment atop a Kauai mountain overlooking the ocean, on November 1, 2011. In the Hawaiian tradition, a spiritual practitioner, or Kahu, officiated the wedding. With water, Ti leaves, and special offerings to the Spirits and Ancestors, John and Caroline were officially brought back together.
With seven adult children, fourteen grandchildren (including triplets), and several great grandchildren between them, life is rounded out with the big, blended brood.
“John’s son gave me away, reading a letter from my own son,” Caroline recalls. “The letter was humorous, with my son saying, ‘no deposit; no return’. Not to diminish from the romantic nature of the occasion, but it had us all laughing.”
And indeed, laughter is an element that keeps this lovely couple together, along with a deep appreciation of one another’s qualities.
“Caroline has a good and kind heart and a sense of what is right and wrong,” John says. “She has deeply held convictions of justice and compassion for others that she has nurtured and preserved over the years.”
“When I think of John, honesty comes to mind,” Caroline comments.
The two share a passion for creativity, with John continuing his artwork and Caroline claiming an eye for making the old new. “I love taking things such as worn out furniture and turning it into something worth looking at,” she says.
Whether enjoying walks on the beach with their Black Lab and German Shepherd, growing their own food, maintaining their yard, or getting romantic over a candlelit dinner, the two relish time together.
“We’ve always been friends,” John says. “We just picked up where we left off.”
Kim Logan and Johannes Berger
They didn’t have to wait as long as Caroline and John, but Vernon couple, Kim and Johannes Berger, share a similar love story.
For Johannes, it was love at first sight. “I was the new kid in town,” he recalls. “My family moved to Canada from Germany in 2004. Everyone knew me but it was Kim who caught my eye.”
Spotting his future bride standing by a campfire at a Halloween party, Johannes gushes, “She wowed me! I’d never felt that way.”
Kim was equally drawn to the exotic new guy. “He was that cool person who wasn’t from around here. When I actually got to know him, his personality just got me. He’s so calm and easy going and happy.”
The two became fast friends and in fact were inseparable during high school but never confessed their romantic affection for one another. “I asked her out once,” Johannes says, “But she just laughed at me.”
Even good friends lose touch and when Kim graduated in 2005, she was busy managing the Armstrong McDonald’s by day and waitressing at Denny’s by night, working to save enough money for Aestheticians’ College. A year later Johannes left high school, moving to Vernon to complete an apprenticeship with Ford Automotive, before relocating again, to Enderby.
For five years the two did not see one another. Kim got married and had two daughters, Dakota now seven, and Sierra, four. Sadly it wasn’t a good marriage, but in the midst of ending it, a day off at the Armstrong fair proved to be fate.
“I wasn’t even going to go that year,” Johannes recalls. Also recovering from a bad relationship, a friend talked him into a day of fun. When he ran into Kim, he claims he couldn’t sleep that night. “All the feelings from high school came rushing back.”
Once again, Facebook might be the face of love. Shortly after seeing him at the fair, Kim messaged Johannes, and the two began to communicate.
Despite the affection that brewed beneath the surface, Kim wasn’t ready to let love back in. Following her divorce, she was determined to protect herself—and her young girls.
“I knew I had feelings for Johannes but I also knew I needed to be on my own and take care of my girls. They were my top priority.”
The two kept it plutonic, just chatting and hiking and renewing their friendship. It took a year and a half, but finally Kim introduced her children to Johannes. “They took to him right way. It was amazing, actually!”
“I told myself I wasn’t ready for a family,” Johannes says, “but that wasn’t true. I knew where my heart was. I just tried to convince myself otherwise.”
In a romantic foreshadowing of the union to come, Johannes agreed to be the groom for a bridal shoot that Kim was involved in.
“The first shots I took were with Kim’s friend,” he explains. “We took photos all over Vernon. Later I was taking pictures with Kim, the second bride in the photo shoot. It actually really confused people,” he says, laughing. As it would turn out, Kim was the only girl for him.
He conjured up a magical proposal about a year after they officially began dating, but sometimes the best-laid plans get sidelined—or in this case, docked.
With a bouquet of roses on the wharf where he and Kim kissed for the first time, candles strewn about, the stage was set but for one problem: a fifteen-minute hike through the brush in the black of night to get there.
“I didn’t know Kim was afraid of the dark!” Johannes says, chuckling. “Let’s just say it didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted, but she said ‘yes!’”
The couple enjoys fishing, walking, and hiking together. “Anything that gets us outdoors,” Johannes says. “We’re the kind of people who just like to play with our kids, maybe watch a movie, and be in one another’s company.”
Citing a sense of humor and shared interests as bonds that brought them back—and keep them—together, they married on July 14, 2013, welcoming baby boy, Elias, a year later.
“When I asked her dad for Kim’s hand,” Johannes recalls, “The only thing he said before giving me a hug was, ‘It’s about time.’”
“I married my best friend.” Johannes smiles. “I think that is just the most awesome thing in the world.”