Valentine’s Day: So Much Love Sparked at Emerson College!
The first known photo of Kyle Miller ’11 and Allyson Condrath ’11 was taken two weeks after they met during their freshmen year. Condrath was meeting his parents for the first time. Who knew they’d get married 10 years later?
By David Ertischek ’01
In honor of Valentine’s Day we’re sharing stories of Emerson couples who met at Emerson, met before Emerson, met after Emerson, love-at-first-sighters, couples who met online, couples who met pre-online dating, and everyone in between.
We asked our Alumni Engagement team, checked in with the Emerson Mafia, and asked random folks holding hands outside of the Walker Building (no, we didn’t actually do this). What’s incredible is how many Emersonians fell in love with each other — who knew Emerson was such a hotbed for romance?
Couple: Kyle Miller ’11 and Allyson Condrath ’11
When did you get married? July 2, 2017
How did you meet? (Answers by Allyson) We met the first day of freshman year at the mandatory floor meeting. Because both of us procrastinated to fill out our housing forms, we ended up being assigned to the Marriott Courtyard on Tremont.
We sat across from each other and were definitely flirting silently the whole time! After the meeting, I commented on his Beatles shirt (my favorite band) and thought I was being cute saying he looked like Evan from Superbad (the movie had come out that summer) … By the third day of orientation, and after a four-hour-long evening chat, Kyle said, “I dig you.” No joke, his words! Through long distance at Kasteel, a trip to the LA program together, and living in Back Bay with four dudes from Emerson, we eventually moved to NYC together after graduation and 12 years later, we are married and still very much in love.
What was your first date? Our first date was actually the Emerson Alum Comics Come Home Show at the Cutler Majestic. Kyle is a huge fan of Bill Burr [’93] and wanted to show me his work. We of course had NYP [New York Pizza] afterwards…we were poor college kids! Ironically, the two of us would go on to form a sketch comedy team (Dinner for One), create a production company, and work side-by-side as writers, producers, and creators for our own TV comedy series, Life Sucks. So, thank you Bill Burr!
What song, if any, exemplifies your love? Well, the Beatles have continuously come up in our relationship. Our first dance at our wedding was to “Something,” and was sung by one of our best friends from Emerson (also a Marriott Courtyard survivor!), Noel Carey. The Beatles were the background music of our freshman year and continue to play in our house on vinyl most weekends. A lot of important songs in our life are from the year we fell in love (2007) and were really the soundtrack to our freshman year at Emerson, like Kanye’s “Graduation,” John Mayer’s “Continuum,” Jack Johnson’s “Sleep Through the Static.”
Couple: Patrick Comeau ’13 and Jeffrey Rizzi ’12
How did you meet? (Answers by Patrick) Jeff and I both lived in the Little Building! He lived three floors above me, and I knew who he was because he was on the quidditch team. We eventually met because I worked in the Little Building’s C-Store (R.I.P.), and the rest is history!
What/where was your first date? As a freshman/sophomore at Emerson, we had barely any money, so dates usually consisted of late-night Dining Hall dinners or walks to the Esplanade. Our first real date, though, was right around the time that the Paramount Theater was being integrated fully into Emerson. Jeff and I got amazing last-minute tickets to go see The Lion King there, and it was incredible. I remember feeling so fancy sitting in the orchestra section with him, all dressed up, and I remember how blown away I was with the show.
What song, if any, exemplifies your love? The Schitt’s Creek theme song
When did you know that your partner was the one? Jeff and I did about a year and a half of long distance while I was still in school. He participated in the LA program, and eventually moved here after graduation. I still had a year of school to finish, and during that time, we encountered so many hardships. We went through so much and came out on the other side, living happily together in LA. That told me everything I needed to know.
Couple: Jan Greenhawt ’69 and Jeff Greenhawt ’68
How did you meet? (Answers by Jan) Emerson back in the late ’60s was small and everybody knew everybody. Both Jeff and I were invited to President [Richard] Chapin’s holiday party and we sat and talked. I told him I wanted to broaden my horizons and work crew for the TV show he was producing for his senior project (my major was speech pathology and audiology). I did, and the rest is history.
Where was your first date? Cafe Amalfi, followed by a movie, Elvira Madigan.
What song, if any, exemplifies your love? The Four Seasons’ “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”
When did you know that your partner was the one? Immediately.
Couple: Paola Manfra ’15 and Jesse Manfra ’15
When did you get married? November 11, 2018
How did you two meet? (Answers by Paola) Jesse and I met during our transfer student orientation at Emerson in the fall of 2012. During orientation week, we both ended up at this karaoke event for off-campus students.
I really didn’t want to go because it was absolutely not my thing to go meet a bunch of new people and run the risk of being put on a stage to sing karaoke. I didn’t have any friends yet, and didn’t know anyone other than my roommates, and I didn’t want to make small talk with strangers. That week I was commuting on the commuter rail to my dad’s friend’s place in North Attleboro. I already wanted to leave earlier in the day to avoid the long commute later in the night, but there was something in my gut just telling me to suck it up and go. I like to joke that it was the fact that they had advertised free food, but for some inexplicable reason I just decided to go for it.
When I went downstairs [in] the Little Building to the Cabaret, I was so anxious that I quite literally turned around and went halfway up the stairs with every intention of leaving. Again, for some inexplicable reason I stopped halfway up the stairs, rolled my eyes, and decided to suck it up. Because I had debated until the very last minute about going or not, there was literally only one seat open in the entire room. I got my food and sat at that open seat — right next to Jesse.
What/where was your first date? Jesse took me on a picnic at the Prudential Center for our first date. I was so enamored with Boston because I had spent so many years trying to move there. I had never really been able to see a bird’s eye view of it outside of being in a plane. He packed a picnic for me and took me to the skywalk observatory so that I could overlook Boston. I chose my favorite view and we sat by the window and ate the picnic he had packed. It was my first time really taking in the city I loved with the boy I would end up falling in love with.
What song, if any, exemplifies your love? The song we always call our song is “All My Days” by Alexi Murdoch. Alexi Murdoch does the entire soundtrack for the movie Away We Go. We had both seen it before meeting each other, but we were surprised to find out we both liked it. Our first kiss happened the night we watched it together.
How did you know that your partner was the one? (Paola’s answer) Falling in love sometimes isn’t just one big a-ha moment. For me, it was made up of a bunch of little vignettes that made me feel like I could spend the rest of my life with him.
I remember once he called his mom when he was with me, just to tell her he loved her and was saying hi. He took me to get his favorite pizza in the neighborhood where his great-grandparents would buy bread. He would bring me caramel macchiatos to work just to have a reason to stop in to see me. He was crazy spontaneous and planned a midnight trip to New York City so that we could watch the sunrise from the Brooklyn Bridge and eat breakfast at the Seinfeld diner. He made me do things that I would normally second guess. Sometimes things that scared me. He made me start enjoying life more — to take risks, and to just for a moment stop thinking so much and take a leap of faith. He challenged me in lots of ways. Not only my logical, safe thinking but my argumentative side, too. He would make me take risks on things I’d normally not risk and when I’d argue or get flustered and upset, he’d challenge those feelings, too. I never met a boy who challenged me before.
I think the biggest thing of all was when he told me he was learning Spanish for the day he met my family. All of these things led to one day where I looked at him and it hit me all at once. I looked at him and I realized I never wanted to spend a day without him. It wasn’t anywhere special or magical. I think we were just sitting at a park doing nothing in particular. It was a normal day. But I knew that any day with him was a day I wanted to have.
(Jesse’s answer) I knew I wanted to spend every day with this girl pretty early on. So often we would just sit and talk and joke around and we would have the most fun. It never took an expensive trip or some amazing date. Our best moments have been those quiet moments. We could be alone on an island, but still have everything we need. Right there. Just the two of us.
Couple: Ashley Yee ’11 and Eric Wells ’11
When did you get married? June 9, 2018
How did you two meet? Cher Knight’s Public Art class! We had a group project and met at the Iwasaki Library.
What and where was your first date? Dinner and a movie.
What song, if any, exemplifies your love? “Such Great Heights” by Iron & Wine was our first dance at our wedding.
How did you know that your partner was the one? I don’t believe there’s a single moment, but the accumulation of a lot of little moments over time that add up to trust and joy, which signals your partner is the one!
Couple: Eric Frishman ’03 and Brian Samuels ’06
When did you get married? (Answers by Brian) It’ll be 10 years in June.
How did you two meet? We used to tell people that we met through mutual friends. While we did know some
of the same people, I actually connected with Eric through Facebook. I came across his picture and thought he was cute and sent him a message. A few weeks went by before he responded. We talked on the phone and made plans to go out for dinner.
What and where was your first date? We started with a sushi dinner in Chinatown and then walked to Fritz (now the Trophy Room) for gin and tonics.
What song, if any, exemplifies your love? We don’t have “a song.” However, when we were planning our wedding, we were thinking of songs we wanted the band to learn and the one we both agreed on was “Love Train” by The O’Jays. It sort of came out of nowhere… we both really like the song.
How did you know your partner was the one? Eric: From the start it felt so right, and anyone who can tolerate me is the perfect fit.
Brian: The moment I first saw Eric, I knew that he was someone I wanted to be with. I think by the third date, which was a trip to New York, we both knew it was something special.
Couples: Carol Ardito Amato ’64 and Dr. Philip P. Amato ’60; Maria Amato Coates ’91 and Michael Coates ’91 (Maria is the daughter of Carol and Philip)
When did you get married? August 1966 and August 3, 1996
How did you two meet? (Carol’s answer) Back in those days, because of Emerson’s small size, the students and faculty were very close. My favorite professor [was] Dr. Coleman Bender, who felt I was invaluable in his classes since I would shake my leg when I got bored, which would remind him to stop going on and on. On that basis of mutual respect, one day he informed me that he wanted me to meet a past Emerson student who was then at Michigan State studying for his doctorate. We were perfect for one another, he said. When Phil went to Emerson to interview for a faculty position, Dr. Bender went into a classroom and returned with me! He introduced us and said he would expect us for dinner that night. There was no denying whatever he said!
(Maria’s answer) We first met in our freshman year at a party that one of Mike’s friends was throwing on Beacon Hill. …We already knew a bit about each other. Our parents both worked at Emerson — my dad was a professor and his mom was a nurse and the director of Health Services for the college. We only dated about two months that year. For the remainder of our years at Emerson, we had mutual friends, but dated other people.
After college, I moved to New York City for a few years, eventually returning to Boston for graduate school. During my first month at school, I was looking for an alumnus to cover a college fair at Medford High School. At the time, I was on the Emerson Alumni Board and was helping Admissions find graduates to sit at the booth at high school college fairs. I remembered Mike was from Medford and I left a message on his answering machine to see if he could help out. He called back a few days later and told me he couldn’t do the college fair, but wondered if we could meet for a drink sometime. And so from that moment on we were together! He tells the story of listening to the message on his machine with his brother and telling him that if I were anything like I was in college, he was going to marry me.
What and where was your first date? (Philip’s answer) At Dr. Bender’s house! We had a great time and the rest is history!
(Maria’s answer) Our first official date was on Valentine’s Day in 1988. I remember it so clearly. We stopped by Charlesgate to wish his sister, Mary, who also went to Emerson, a happy 21st birthday. Then we went to grab a bite to eat at a sub/pizza place around the corner from the dorm. Mike had planned the date and decided to choose the movie. We always laugh at the movie choice for a first date at age 18 — She’s Having a Baby with Kevin Bacon was apparently the only movie available!
What song, if any, exemplifies your love? (Philip’s answer) Probably any Frank Sinatra love song!
(Maria’s answer) This is a hard one! Our wedding song was “It Had to Be You” by Frank Sinatra. I just loved dancing to that song the day of my wedding!
How did you know that your partner was the one? (Philip’s answer) After 53 years of marriage, we’re both still trying to figure that out!
(Maria’s answer) See Mike’s comment about when he listened to the answering machine. We had so much in common from our past and just picked off from where we left off in college. We were just so much more grown-up and ready for a relationship!
Couple: Scott Weinstock ’84 and Holly (Harnish) Weinstock ’84
When did you get married? June 25, 1988
How did you meet? In 1980, our freshman year, the school calendar was split into three semesters: Terms 1, 1A and 2. Term 1A was six weeks with two classes, four times a week, for six weeks. We both took Black Religion, which filled three requirements. But it was at 8:00 am and on the other end of campus. So there weren’t a lot of wide-awake enthusiastic students. Holly walked in and Scott was immediately smitten. One day he worked up the nerve to slip her a note and they’ve been together ever since.
What and where was your first date? Our first “date,” was meeting at the weekly Theta Tavern. Our daughter, also an Emerson [student] (Class of ’19), can’t believe that there was a time you could go to City Hall and get a temporary liquor license, which allowed you to sell alcohol for a night. She also questioned the legality of serving alcohol in a campus building with just a cursory check of student IDs. We miss the ’80s. Our first “real” date was to Symphony Hall for the Boston Pops and Pizzeria Uno on Boylston Street.
What song, if any, exemplifies your love? Our song has always been “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington Jr., with vocals by Bill Withers.
How did you know that your partner was the one? We’ve always been able to talk about anything, even though we were, and in some ways still are, complete opposites. She’s a preacher’s daughter from Pennsylvania and I’m a Jewish kid from New Jersey. I love baseball and Springsteen. She loves ’60s sitcoms and Hallmark movies. But it’s always just worked. When we started this journey, we didn’t have anything and together have built a life.
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