• For love and beauty and delight, there is no death nor change Percy Bysshe Shelley

    When it comes to romance, for many of us disappointment and disillusionment may be our primary feeling. We all have a few failed relationships on our love Resume.

    So what is better than finding some inspiration in deep, breath-taking real love? No, I am not suggesting you watch the latest tear-jerker movie for inveterate singles. Reality is always better than fiction!

  • Mary and P.B. Shelley: when a desperate romantic love gives life to beautiful things

    Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, born on 30th August 1797, daughter of a brilliant writer and a fearless thinker, lost her mother as she came into this world. She was left with a not-so-desperate father and a not-so-kind stepmother, who never accepted her unconventional attitude. Like her deceased mother, Mary had a rebellious idea of marriage, refusing to become a mere property of a man.

    Percy Bysshe Shelly, born on 4th August 1792, belonged to an aristocratic family, and as a young boy, was horribly bullied at school and spent his years in Oxford immersed in never-ending readings. In his adult life, due to his radical views, he was isolated from his wealthy aristocratic family, which ostracised his idea of donating large amounts of their capital to structures helping the disadvantaged.

    Mary, the rebellious daughter of a famous philosopher, and Percy, a charming and admired poet, met during her stay in Scotland, right before he started being mentored by her father, whose beliefs Shelley respected profoundly. Mary and Percy started meeting secretly at Mary Wollstonecraft's grave, reading and sharing ideas, and ended up falling in love.

    William Godwin, known for his thoughts regarding free love, loved everything about Percy - his bohemian lifestyle, his radical thinking, his work - and he was debating with the young poet with esteem. Until he didn’t run away with his 16 year old daughter… 

    After all Percy was a married man, with a child from the previous marriage, and had no money… Not exactly the best choice a father would have picked for his beloved offspring!

    On 28 July 1814, the couple eloped and secretly left for France, taking Mary's stepsister, Claire, with them. Percy's wife was obviously left behind, pregnant with their second child and so desperate that she never got overcome the pain.

    During their journey back to England, Mary got pregnant and when she asked for help to her father all she received was an arid rejection. The trio was thenceforth absolutely penniless and things started getting more complicated… Claire and Shelley were most likely lovers and he was slightly encouraging Mary to have an affair with Thomas Hogg, Shelley’s friend. They ended up just flirting…

  • In 1815 Mary gave birth to a premature baby girl, who unfortunately didn’t live long, leaving the woman depressed and hunted by her visions. One year later, in better financial conditions, Mary gave birth to a boy. In 1816 the couple, the baby and Claire spend the summer with the poet Lord Byron, whose recent affair with Claire had left her pregnant, in Lake Geneva.

    In 1816 the couple and Claire moved to Bath where they receive terrible news: first Mary’s step-sister Fanny and then Percy’s wife had committed suicide. In order to obtain custody of his children, the couple married, but never succeeded.

    In 1818 the couple moved to Italy, where their lost two of their children. Mary was devasted and found comfort only in writing and the birth of their fourth child. In 1822 she nearly died after a miscarriage, saved by Percy who sat her in a bath of ice to staunch the bleeding.

    On 1 July 1822, Percy Shelley and Edward Williams decided to sail south down the coast to Livorno, but never return, leaving Mary a widow at the young age of 25.

    What should make you rejoice about all these tragedies, you might ask…

  • Despite Percy’s infidelity and Mary’s severe depression, the couple was constantly struggling for money - being a writer full of talent and passion wasn’t paying bills - they had to face the most painful agony -  the deaths of four of their five children. 

    So what is so special about this brief and disastrous love?... 

    Mary and P.B. Shelley never let each other down, they always supported each other. Even when they didn’t have enough food to eat, even when Percy’s infidelity was clear, even when Mary’s depression was striking back. During their short and tragic marriage the couple read and commented on each other’s work extensively, and after Percy’s death Mary kept editing his work. They never prevented the other to pursue her/his devotion to literature. The poet was writing incessantly about his love for the young novelist, despite all the pain the caused to other people and to each other. And the most beautiful fruit of their love is her most known novel: Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus. A story of outcasts, like they were, like their love was.

  • John and Evie Kasper: Love never gets old

    In 1932 John and Evie Kasper met in 6th grade and more than 85 years later they laugh and play with the same joy and spirit as they did back then.

    John first approach was classic for a 6th grader: throwing erasers and spit balls to her beloved Evie, which of course just thought he was “the naughtiest boy in class”. Evie honestly didn’t quite like the “special attention” he was showing her.

    Their first date took place at their high school basketball game. John walked Evie home, but didn’t kiss her, cause “he didn’t have the guts” which made her comfortable cause “you never kiss on a first date, never!” They took it slow and easy and in 1937 their first kiss was the fortunate result of the game “spin the bottle”. They started dating in high school and John proposed on the river side pumping station in Milwaukee, where he handed her an envelope with a card and a ring taped in it… They married in 1942, during World War II.

    They have been married for over 75 years and John is still giving Evie paper plate cards, always with a picture and message from his heart. He refers to Evie as “honey baby” and they both joke about their physical chemistry, suggesting the only reason they got married was so they could have sex! Their most important rule is “no matter how bad the fight always kiss goodnight”. They hold hands, have small intimate rituals and fully acknowledge “the worst years were necessary, had to be done”.

    Here are the practical and simple advices the couple shared on how to make a relationship work:

    1. Be nice to each other
    2. Remember to be good friends
    3. Never go to bad carrying a grudge against the other one
    4. Talk out all your concerns
    5. Make each other laugh

    And of course… Always kiss goodnight!

    Their grand-daughter published a YouTube video to celebrate their 70th anniversary of marriage to inspire other couples with their story of a life spent well together. As recognition of the impact the sweet story went viral in few hours, touching and inspiring millions around the world.

    In the video For their 75th wedding anniversary Evie says “I wanna make clear that marriage is not a bed of roses, marriage is rocky, you have rocky parts and you gotta solve problems, together”. 


    We all need some good advice and positive rewiring!