reed magazine logowinter2007

Love Stories

Julie and Bill
A Long-Distance Romance

Who: Julie MacElwee Antelman ’56, worked as a public information officer at the National Opinion Research Center until she retired in 2006. Her husband died in 1994. She has three children.

William Ure ’57, retired doctor. His wife died in 2004. He has two daughters.

Where: Interviewed separately by phone—Julie at her home in Chicago, Bill at his home in Santa Barbara.

Juli Antelman and Bill Ure

Julie Antelman ’56 and Bill Ure ’57 in Bill’s garden in Santa Barbara, California


Julie and Bill didn’t know each other at Reed, but when they met in Santa Barbara, California, nearly fifty years after graduating, they discovered that they came from the same place—literally. Turns out, they grew up on the same street in Minneapolis, their homes about four miles apart. “We swam at the same beaches as children,” says Bill.

In 2005, Julie’s friend and former roommate, Sally Rochlin Osman ’56, who lives in Oakland, California, asked her to take a road trip. They planned to visit the petrified forest and drive down the California coast.

Sally is also a friend of Bill’s. She thought her two friends might hit it off, and planned to introduce them when they reached Santa Barbara.

Bill was beginning to recover from the recent loss of his wife; Julie’s husband had died 11 years before. Julie says that before they met, she knew they had at least a few things in common: “He makes viola da gambas, I play recorders, we both grew up in Minneapolis, we both went to Reed, and we’re both tall.”

Bill observes: “It’s great to let Reed do the choosing for you, separating the wheat from the chaff.” Of Reedies, he says, “I don’t always like them, but they’re always interesting.”

When the two women got to Santa Barbara, they had a quick dinner with Bill. The next morning, Julie woke up early. Sally was still sleeping, so Julie found her friend’s address book, looked up Bill’s number, gave him a call, and asked him to come pick her up at the hotel.

“We had breakfast at the beach, walked along the shore, and then he gave me a gamba lesson. It was very congenial,” she says.

After Julie returned home to Chicago, they began emailing each other. Julie came out to L.A., where they attended three operas together.

“She’s a grade A opera buff,” says Bill. In fact, he thinks it’s one reason she’s been hesitant to move out West too quickly.

For her part, Julie says she has good seats at the Chicago Opera and those seats represent a lifetime of friendships and connections. With the uncertainties of age and health, a move across the country is something to deliberate over. Plus, all of her children are in the East. But she finds herself spending more and more time in Santa Barbara. “He’s not a traveling person,” she says.

Julie says of their relationship, “It has been astonishing to explore the parallels in our lives, and when we get beyond those, it’s fun exploring the differences, too.”

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