Newman residents Ed and Patty Brooks are among the couples whose stories are being shared by Mattos Newspapers this Valentine’s Day. They discovered Newman on Valentine’s Day four years ago, and have since made the community their home.

NEWMAN - A Valentine’s Day drive to Newman four years ago led Patty and Ed Brooks to their new life on the West Side.

Today the couple, whose paths crossed in 2003 after each had recently left a previous relationship, have comfortably settled into their S Street home as they continue side-by-side on life’s journey.

Newman offered the dream of home ownership which they were unable to achieve in San Jose.

But their life together is the ultimate dream, the couple shared.

“I always wanted this,” Patty said of the relationship, admitting that she didn’t know that that dream would come true.

Patty wasn’t looking for a new relationship when Ed came into her life, courtesy of his former brother-in-law, who happened to also be her good friend and thought the pair would be a good match.

“I just wanted to be on my own, but one day he kind of tricked us and made plans to go on a motorcycle ride to South Lake Tahoe,” said Patty, who was living in Sacramento at the time. “He told me that I needed to ride with Ed.”

And so their relationship began.

“She was the most natural person I ever had ride with me,” Ed shared. “She was right at home on the bike.”

Ed said he was “smitten from the first look,” at his future bride, but also acknowledged that neither was ready to jump into a romantic relationship.

She, at the time a single mom with four kids, had set about doing whatever it took to get by and was working two jobs to make ends meet.

“I needed to prove to myself that I could make it on my own,” Patty reflected.

Ed was looking to expand a circle of friends more than seeking a new life partner.

He had one child, and as things worked out their weekend child custody schedules lined up.

Each would spend one weekend with their children (or child, in Ed’s case), and the next just spending time together.

“We would have a weekend with kids, and then a weekend with each other just to hang out. We would just get on the bike and ride, and go do something,” Patty recalled.

After about eight months, they began to look at one another in a different light - although advancing the romantic relationship took some persistence on Ed’s part.

“I thought that the courtship was going to stop and the real guy was going to come out,” Patty explained.

“I had to figure out a way to get past that,” acknowledged Ed, who lived in San Jose at the time and would drive to Sacramento to visit Patty.

But they saw enough in one another to pursue the relationship.

“She was willing to do whatever it took for her kids. That was very attractive to me,” Ed said. “She has the biggest heart of anybody I have ever met.”

Ed in turn was remarkably caring for her and her children, Patty related, and she was impressed by how he treated his mother.

“I was always told that a guy will treat you how he treats his mom,” she noted.

At one point, before they were in a committed relationship, Ed bought her a car after hers had been destroyed in an accident....with no strings attached.

“We didn’t have a commitment at that point, but I knew that she was trying to do the right thing for her kids,” he explained. “She was grateful, but insisted on paying me back.”

Ed did have some fun with that chapter. He went to an auction yard and purchased a car identical to his own. He then picked up Patty and drove her, thinking that she was in his vehicle, back to his original car before turning the keys over to her.

The couple married in November 2004 and lived in San Jose for more than a decade before finding their way to the valley - after hunting unsuccessfully more than two years for a home to buy in San Jose.

Patty was at her job at the Santa Clara County Courthouse when a co-worker told her that she was closing on a house she was buying in Newman the next day.

That piqued their interest, though the couple had no idea where Newman was located.

“My husband asked me what I wanted to do for Valentine’s Day, and I told him that I wanted to go see Newman,” Patty recalled.

“We drove and drove,” she added.

They found what they were looking for in the S Street home, after visiting five other properties.

The “for sale” sign caught their eye.

“We walked to the back and I looked through the kitchen window. The more windows we looked through, the more I fell in love with it,” Patty said. “I was like, ‘this is my house’. It had the front porch and big kitchen I wanted, and the garage with alley access and shop that Ed wanted.”

The couple made an offer, and three months later were handed the keys.

One of their children came to Newman with them for a time, but has since moved on.

They have since settled into a commuter lifestyle, making the daily drive to San Jose, where Patty works in the courthouse and Ed is a Uber driver.

Taking meals which Patty prepares each Sunday, the couple hits the road at 5:30 a.m. and usually rolls back into Newman at 9 p.m.

“We worked out an agreement. I have always loved to drive, but Patty is not a driver,” Ed explained. “I drive us back and forth; she cooks and cleans.”

That in some ways reflects their relationship, the couple shared, as their strengths and interests complement one another.

“Where he is weak I am strong, and vice-versa,” Patty commented. “He is determined to make a plan and stick to it, where I am more of a free spirit.”

Today, the couple is enjoying the life they share - and say the lifestyle Newman has to offer makes the commute well worthwhile.

“You can feel the stress fall away as you leave San Jose,” Patty said. “You can feel the weight come off.”