Local artisans breathe new life into outdated projects. by Brandon Hoops, photos by Keith Borgmeyer CRUZ CHAVEZ At age 22, Cruz Chavez walked away...
How did you meet?
Tom: Long story, but it boils down to meeting through a mutual friend who is a travel writer. Diana left her life in Thailand, toured America in a rented convertible, and got stuck here in mid-Missouri.
Diana: I was fulfilling an ambition to drive across America in a convertible, except I really wanted to explore the Midwest, so I never got further east than Chicago. At the end of my trip, I came to visit a journalist I knew in Columbia — and she introduced me to Tom, so I never left.
What was your first date?
Tom: It was a blind date at Flat Branch Pub with our travel writer friend and her husband. Shortly thereafter, they got divorced; we got married.
Diana: A booth for four at Flat Branch. My friend brought along her single friend, and he seemed amusing, so I kept him around.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Tom: Build things, take things apart, fix things, improve things, autopsy broken things, hoard the bits and pieces, build more things. Preferably electrical, solar-powered things.
Diana: Cook, read, tidy up the mess of broken things that Tom likes to strew willy-nilly around the house, and plan our next vacation.
What is your favorite art/culture activity in Columbia?
Tom: Art in the Park.
Diana: True/False weekend is always a blast — especially when I’m not organizing it. I’d love Art in the Park if I wasn’t at the center of the organizational whirlwind.
What is the key to a lasting and healthy relationship?
Tom: Wait until you’re 40, marry a foreigner, and don’t have kids. I’m sure there are other ways, but that’s what has worked for us.
Diana: Laugh a lot, know which battles to fight, and marry someone who has an inordinate amount of patience — or, if you’re Tom, marry someone who has no patience!
What is the best quality of your partner?
Tom: Her astounding ability to get things done quickly and with graceful elegance.
Diana: He’s very, very funny, endlessly generous, and incredibly loving. I guess that’s three things.
What makes you most proud of your partner?
Tom: How she has done so much for the Columbia Art League and the arts community in Columbia.
Diana: How passionate he is about caring for the environment and living sustainably, and that he is truly a really good person.
What is unique about your relationship?
Tom: We document it in newspaper columns.
Diana: I don’t know, but whatever mix we have works — most of the time!
What is one thing people don’t know about your spouse?
Tom: Due to extreme ABBA fandom, Diana majored in Swedish and speaks it fluently.
Diana: Tom is determined to learn Spanish, so every time we go on holiday, he takes along his Spanish phrase book. Even if we’re going to Vietnam.
How would you describe your relationship in one word?
What does the future hold for the two of you?
Tom: Living happily ever after, as corny as that sounds.
Diana: Ditto. Although if his sustainable living experiments get any more extreme, I might have to live in a neighboring house and just visit on weekends.