By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer
Bob Lempa wanted to do something big for Peggy Baker, his longtime girlfriend.
They’d been dating for years and he knew she was special and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. It was just a matter of finding the right time and place to ask her to marry him.
So, one snowy morning, armed with twine, some stakes and a snow shovel, he went to work in Maggie Daley Park, first marking out the letters and then shoveling.
Six hours later, the words “marry me” were written across the snowy canvass of Maggie Daley Park.
“I had no idea whether security would kick me out when I started doing this,” Baker said. “But they were supportive. I wasn’t writing something negative, it wasn’t something political and it wasn’t a commercial.”
It was painstaking, Baker said.
But it worked.
After he wrapped up, Lempa called Baker. It was a day after Valentine’s Day and he had told her she’d be getting a card.
“At four he called and said, ‘Did you get my card yet?’ and I said, ‘no’ and then he said ‘look out your window,’” said Baker. “I knew it was for me and I saw the message and my co-workers overheard and they started congratulating me and giving me hugs. They clapped and cheered. I met Bob at the park and the park district people were there and I got to say yes officially when I went down there.”
Lempa caught more than Baker’s attention though. Since the public proposal caught the attention of downtown, Lempa said he’s seen his name pop up in stories around the world.
“I wasn’t doing it for the publicity, although I thought I might get some,” Lempa said. “But it is all across the States and it hit Mexico, Spain and New Delhi.”
Baker said she’s thrilled to be part of a good news story.
Prior to the engagement, Baker had been thinking about a fun vacation as a way to shake up her winter.
“I was thinking a week ago, I need to plan a vacation or something exciting,” she said. “Who knew how the week would go? So many people are reaching out and this got so much attention. It is amazing. I was on TV this week! So many people are talking about it.”
Lempa said he certainly doesn’t mind.
“I was looking to hit a homerun and I hit a grand slam,” he said.
The couple hasn’t set a date for the wedding yet, but Lempa said they’re thinking about sometime over the summer.