Messenger - Vol. 2, No. 3, Page 24
Summer 1993
Fishing for a proposal

     Michael O'Brien, Delaware '91, took five months to meet Sarah Roberts'
challenge to propose in an unusual fashion. "I didn't know if he could live
up to my challenge, but I definitely wanted to be surprised," says Roberts,
also Delaware '91.
     When O'Brien placed his proposal of marriage in a display ad in the
Waterman's Gazette, which Roberts edits, he was hoping she would fall for
it hook, line and sinker.
     O'Brien knew he had to place the ad without her knowledge. With the
help of a friend, he designed an ad announcing a new fishing club called
"Hubbies." Gazette office manager Betty Duty, who was also in on the
surprise, kept the cleverly worded ad until the last minute so that Roberts
would not have the chance to proof read it closely.
     Here is where the plans became, as O'Brien puts it, "very cloak and
dagger." Clad in an overcoat in a Wendy's restaurant parking lot in
Annapolis, Md., O'Brien met the courier who was taking the Gazette, a
monthly newspaper read by 6,000 commercial fishermen, to the printer.
O'Brien switched the bogus "Hubbies" fishing club ad with another
containing the marriage proposal.
     "Wendy's is so close to Sarah's office, I was afraid she might decide
to go there for a burger," says O'Brien.
     Roberts was out of town for most of the day when the paper was
delivered to the Gazette office. She came home to find several urgent
messages on the answering machine asking her to come to the office about a
problem with that issue. When Roberts read the ad, she collapsed to her
knees and cried. She says, "Never in my wildest dreams would I have
expected that was what I would find when I came to the office." The ad
read: "Sarah, I love you! Will you marry me? Michael." With an October
wedding date approaching, Roberts doesn't expect any more surprises from
her fiance. She says, "I don't know if he could get anything by me. I
scrutinize every ad that comes to me through strange means now."
                                   -Kristin Dworsky, Delaware '93