How We Met: Bruce and Margie

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MACKENZIE REISS | Bigfork Eagle Bigfork residents Margie and Bruce Solberg pose with their Bichon Frises at their home on Friday, Feb. 7.

Some people search all their lives for true love and never find it.

Others are lucky enough to meet “the one” at an early age.

And then there’s couples like Bruce and Margie Solberg, who fell for each other twice before their love stuck for good.

It all started at a bachelor party in 1975 in Great Falls.

They were introduced there and dated for about a year before Margie’s employer Traveler’s Insurance transferred her to their Spokane office. Bruce stayed in Montana where he continued to climb the ladder at UPS.

It would be 22 years before the pair spoke again.

“I knew that Bruce needed to be in my future. He might not have known it, but I just did,” Margie said.

They went on to marry other people and have families of their own until they both found themselves single in the late 90s.

A mutual friend from Great Falls informed each of them that the other was once again available.

But had it been too long?, Margie wondered.

“It’s been 22 years,” she recalled. “I called his house and I was so afraid he wouldn’t remember me.”

As it turns out, she had nothing to worry about.

“It was kind of automatic. It was like we didn’t skip a beat. When we got back tougher it was so familiar and so comfortable,” Bruce said. “From that point on, it was a romantic relationship that just continued to blossom — and still does today.”

Although their reconnection went smoothly, they still had geography to contend with. Bruce had purchased Burgertown in Bigfork which he hoped to operate once he retired, but it would be a few more years before he could leave his UPS career in Seattle. To bridge the gap, Margie agreed to leave her job in Spokane and run the restaurant until, at last, the pair could be in the same zip code full-time.

And while the new gig was certainly a learning experience early on, Burgertown became Margie’s gateway to the Bigfork community. She was known colloquially as “the Burgertown lady” and knew folks, not by name, but by order.

Still, she had taken a leap of faith by committing to the restaurant and hadn’t yet gotten engaged to Bruce.

During one visit on her birthday, she was all but convinced that he’d propose. However, dinner came and went with no ring and soon enough, Bruce was back on a plane bound for Seattle.

Instead, he popped the question when she was least expecting it. During another visit, this time to celebrate his birthday, he secretly popped in the tape of Margie’s favorite movie, “An Officer and a Gentlemen” and told her the film just happened to be showing on television. He made sure to fast-forward so she caught the scene at the end where Richard Gere’s character, dressed in his Navy whites, swoops up his love interest from the factory where she was working — a nice parallel to Margie’s gig at the restaurant. Unbeknownst to Margie, he had planted the seed for what was to come. The next day, she and Bruce had plans to go golfing. Before they departed, he told her he had to help a friend briefly with a project. Instead, Bruce changed into the Navy uniform he’d rented in Seattle and had his buddy hide in the bushes to take photos.

He pulled into the drive and honked the horn, which wasn’t like Bruce. A little bit confused, Margie came outside and found her husband-to-be in uniform with their favorite song, “I Love You” be Celine Dion, emanating from the car.

“I started walking down the driveway and got down on one knee and asked her to marry me,” Bruce said.

“That’s how Bruce is about things — he makes every event as special as he can,” Margie said.

On Feb. 20, 2001 they married on Blackcomb Mountain in British Columbia at a private ceremony with their children in attendance. In less than two weeks, the couple will celebrate their 19th anniversary.

The secret, they say, to a lasting love?

Respect.

“I think that without a doubt it’s mutual respect,” Bruce said. “Early in my life, I felt that things should go my way and that is not the case. Margie and I have such a give and take relationship.” »

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