Love is Blooming-tons

Walking down one of Bloomington’s most popular downtown streets, Kirkwood Ave, local couple walks hand-in-hand. Affectionate couples can be found all over the Indiana University campus. “College is a great place to meet your future spouse. You are learning so much and expanding your horizons,” Kris Bausback said.

For almost 200 years, Indiana University has supplied students with an education, opportunities, and success to better equip them for their individual futures, but one thing IU has that isn’t necessarily advertised is the chance to find the love of a lifetime.

The number of people that find their future spouse at IU without even looking for one, is an endless and continuously increasing number. Even though numerous couples meet while attending or visiting the Bloomington area, the thing that makes each couple unique, is their story.

Henry and Kris Bausback are no exception. In the fall of 1991, Kris was working on her master’s degree in her first year of graduate school, while Henry was in his third year of optometry school.

The couple didn’t have any classes together, but, they did hang out with the same friend group, and lived in the same dorm, Eigenmann Hall.

“It wasn’t like love at first sight, but developed slowly as we were part of a group of friends that met together usually every night for dinner,” Henry said.

A small friendship kindled into a romance, and the pair shared many memories together while they spent time on IU’s campus.

“Driving in his tangerine, orange mustang on really cold mornings and trying to see through the little bitty part of the windshield we had scraped ice off [of],” said Kris.

Since the days they spent on IU’s campus, they couple married in 1995, and have had two children, Ryan and Ellen Bausback.

“Life has changed a lot since then…we’ve been married for 22 years. We finished growing up together and became responsible adults, but also have lots of fun and adventures together,” Kris said.

For another couple, it could be called an act of destiny, meeting on IU’s campus in 1975.

Dawn Vajagich, a freshman at IU, was going to a party, a normal college pastime, with her roommate, Joanna. Little did Dawn know, she was about to meet the man she would one day call husband.

While at the party her roommate gave away the phone number they shared to a man named Peter Lanman, who at the time was a freshman at Wabash College, an all boys school in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

When Peter called the phone, Dawn picked up, not her roommate Joanna. After 4 years of long distance dating, the couple married, and had three daughters, Alice, Sarah-Anne, and Elisabeth.

By chance, Dawn picked up the phone, answering the phone call that lead her to the rest of her life, only to find out later on that destiny was really at play, due to growing up only miles apart from one another.

“I think the fact that they grew up in towns right next to each other and [they] never met. They grew up so close to each other, it wasn’t by accident, so I always think that’s so interesting the way people can be so physically close, but you don’t know them,” the couple’s second daughter, Sarah-Anne, said.

Not only do people find love on IU’s campus, but in the downtown area, on Kirkwood Avenue.

Nick’s English Hut, one of the first restaurant and bars to open in the area, was the bar that both Ralph and Nancy Iatarola stumbled into with a group of friends on an average night. Ralph had come down to Bloomington to visit his brother for the week, while Nancy was a graduate student at IU working on her doctoral studies.

Ralph spotted Nancy and her friends before Nancy saw Ralph. Ralph introduced himself to the group of ladies, and asked Nancy if she would like to dance.

They danced, shared a drink, and talked about their favorite subject together, which just so happened to be chemistry. Of course, the single problem, Ralph wasn’t local to the Bloomington area, but knew he wanted to do anything and everything he could to stay with Nancy.

After dating for 13 years, Ralph and Nancy married, and had two children, Ralph Samuel and Natalie Iatarola.

Some couples are just simply meant to be, like Rob and Kelli Quigg. Kelli first met Rob while she was still in high school, while in Buffalo, New York, for a student council convention. Almost three years later, their paths crossed again at IU.

In her sophomore year, Kelli changed her major which is when she first saw Rob, again, since first meeting him in New York. The two continued to see each other at parties and Greek life events. By January of their sophomore year, in 1990, they were an official couple.

Kelli and Rob did follow the urban legend that the girl had to be kissed at midnight in the Well House on campus and six months after Kelli graduated, Rob proposed to her there. Of course, Kelli said, “Yes!”.

After almost 30 years of marriage, Kelli and Rob have four children, Suzi, Maggi, Katie, and Jack Quigg.

“It’s definitely a place I appreciate more that I’m gone,” Kelli said about IU’s campus and impact on her life.

Love will find you when you aren’t even looking for it. Love may come slowly to you throughout time, or in a student’s case a semester, or it may hit you like a truck, or in a student’s case a bus.