Valentine’s proposal made the front page 20 years ago
When Ed Cook proposed to his wife, Susan, 20 years ago this week, she had no idea he had been planning to ask for her hand in marriage.
Ed hired a plane from Placerville to fly over Lake Tahoe with his proposal written on a banner. He said he got the idea when he was in Florida and saw planes flying with banners towed behind them.
Cook’s proposal was captured in a photo on the front page of the Tribune. The couple still are residing in South Lake Tahoe today.
“I knew she was a keeper from the beginning,” Ed said.
The couple met in 1980 and dated in 1981 when they still were in high school. They didn’t date while Susan attended college but remained good friends.
Ed asked for permission from Susan’s parents a month in advance of the proposal. Susan was attending Sacramento State and was coming home for the weekend to celebrate her father’s and brother’s birthdays.
“One week prior (to the proposal), I was a nervous wreck,” Ed said.
Susan said there used to be air shows in Tahoe. Her father had been a pilot, so they’d always watch the shows.
“That’s how they lured me down to the beach,” she said.
Susan’s and Ed’s families knew about the proposal, as did their friends.
When the plane flew overhead, Susan kidded her dad because he was turning 50 and teased that she had to read it for him because of his age.
“I said, ‘Oh, Dad, let me read this for you,’ ” Susan said. He then looked at her and told her to go right ahead, knowing already what it said.
She said she could barely breathe after she read the sign. Ed went down on one knee and offered her the engagement ring.
They’ve been married for 19 years and will be celebrating 20 years next March. For the holiday, they will be flying to Mexico with their children and two other families for a weeklong vacation.
On Valentine’s Day in 1844, John C. Fremont, along with Charles Preuss, became the first white Americans to discover Lake Tahoe. The discovery is documented at the Lake Tahoe Museum at 3058 Lake Tahoe Blvd., along with Fremont’s journal.
Below is the journal entry Fremont wrote:
“I ascended to-day the highest peak to the right; from which we had a beautiful view of the mountain lake at our feet, about fifteen miles in length, entirely surrounded by mountains that we could not discern an outlet.”
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