It’s traditional to commemorate 30 years of marriage with pearls, but instead Larry Steiner decided to lean on complete strangers to help bring his wife, Holly Bruce-Steiner, an anniversary she won’t soon forget.
Earlier this week, Larry took to the streets of Coquitlam posting signs asking “you, a complete stranger” to text his wife on Friday with the words: “Larry Loves You.”
“Altogether, my wife Holly has put up with me for 40 years! (How she has done that is still a mystery!)” the sign read.
Larry, who described himself as old school, asked people to help spread the word about his special surprise by taking a photo of his poster and sharing it online.
He expected a few strangers to help him out, maybe 40 people, but the power of social media took hold and the next day, Holly had received more than 3,000 text messages.
“They’re still coming through saying, ‘Happy belated, Larry loves you a day more now,’ and just the most creative texts,” she told Black Press Media.
Of course, Holly was a bit confused at first when she began receiving the mystery texts.
“I didn’t have a clue. I woke up on our anniversary and a text came through from Montreal and I thought ‘That’s weird,’” she said. “And then a dozen more came through – two dozen – and I asked Larry what was going on!
“He said to go look out at my car and I went out to my car and he had put a flyer on it, so that’s when it all made sense to me and then it just sort of broke loose after that.”
From across Canada to as far as India, Holly’s phone was buzzing nearly every second through the day. And when people couldn’t get through – presumably because of so many incoming messages – they appeared to have dug up the website of her business, Lighten Up! Jewels, and emailed her.
“I had phone calls from Tokyo and Kyoto,” she said. “People were sending messages from Mexico and Dubai, all over the United States, Alaska and the Yukon.”
Holly had a surprise of her own
Holly and Larry first met in 1979, while Holly was a waitress at a restaurant in the Lower Mainland, and she was instantly smitten.
“I thought, ‘Oh that’s a cute guy,’ and then I saw him a year later and I had just gotten promoted to hostess of the dining room so I threw a party for the staff and turns out he was friends with some of the regulars I’d invited, and it was just love at first sight,” she explained.
|The Steiners at the Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver in August 2015. (Holly Bruce-Steiner/Contributed)|
They later eloped in Marina del Rey, California in Aug. 2, 1989.
Since then, Holly said Larry always tries to make moments special for her – but it appears romantic gestures are a strong commonality between the pair.
For her gift to him, Holly planned a special night at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody. But due to the forecast, she was worried the weather would hamper her surprise on their actual anniversary, so she organized it for the Thursday prior instead.
“I dry cleaned his outfit and put it out for him and said I’d meet him at such-and-such a time,” she said. “When he came strolling up I was wearing my original wedding dress I’d gotten married in and a bouquet of flowers – and I even was wearing the leather shoes he had re-dyed for me.”
While the pair have what many would call a “shout it from the rooftops” one-of-a-kind love, Holly said her and Larry have still faced the same kinds of trials and tribulations so many other couples face through decades together.
|Holly and Larry Steiner in Coquitlam in December 2017. (Holly Bruce-Steiner/Contributed)|
When asked what one piece of advice she’d give on matters of the heart, her answer was simple: accept the differences, appreciate one another and be honest.
“Everyone shows their love in different ways, and I can’t expect my partner to meet all my needs. It’s about putting your oxygen mask on first and then helping someone else, and I don’t mean that in a selfish way but a self-full way,” she said.
“And of course being grateful for what the other person brings to the relationship. I guess that would be unconditional love.”