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Who: Claire Lesage, 56, freelance editor/writer. Doug Stewart, 60, lock operator on the Rideau Canal.
Relationship status: Married since 1995
Location: Kingston, Ont.
The voice on the end of the line…
Doug: About 35 years ago I was working the midnight to 6 a.m. shift at a local radio station. Back then, I was playing records. It was free format, and I was able to play anything I wanted.
Claire: I worked at a restaurant and I would get home around 2 a.m. and listen to this guy on the radio. I was very fond of Bob Dylan, so I would phone in to request him. And then we would talk all the way through the song, so I would never even get to hear what I had requested.
Doug: We’d have these long conversations and we got to be quite friendly. I was tempted to suggest getting together, but there is an unwritten rule for late night DJs: If you’re getting phone calls from a girl at 3 a.m., don’t go meet her, no matter how great she sounds. I had some co-workers had broken the rule and it didn’t work out very well.
The smooch that sealed the deal
Claire: About three years later, I was out for brunch with a friend and then Doug came in and it was his friend, too. The friend introduced us and I said, “Doug Stewart. Your name is really familiar.” And he said, “Claire, it’s nice to finally meet you.”
Doug: Somehow I recognized her voice.
Claire: From there we developed a friendship, Doug moved away for a bit. We wrote letters.
Doug: Then I came back to Kingston and I was out at a bar with my friends when Claire walked in. I invited her to come sit with us. My friend left and we continued drinking.
Claire: Talking! We continued talking.
Doug: And then the spirits overtook me and I asked if I could kiss her. That kiss turned into something. I think we almost knocked the table over.
Claire: It was a bit overwhelming, and not what I was looking for at the time. I was attending university, I had a two-year-old kid. I didn’t want to fall in love so drastically.
Love on the rails
Claire: We got married October 21, 1995. It was really the happiest day of my life. For our honeymoon we took the train to Montreal.
Doug: It was during the referendum, so we like to say that we saved Canada, walking around talking to everyone before the vote.
Claire: Trains are our thing. For Doug’s birthday this year ,we took the train from Vancouver to Toronto, which was four nights. Canada is such a remarkable, beautiful country. We both brought out books to read, but we ended up just looking out the window.