Episode 34 Transcript

Published: Wednesday February 14, 2024

❤️❤️ Special Valentine’s Episode❤️❤️ | Rolling in Love with Alycia & Marty

Valentine’s Memories: From Camp Crushes to Lifelong Love


Alycia Anderson: Welcome to Pushing Forward with Alycia, a podcast that gives disability a voice. Each week we will explore topics like confidence, ambition, resilience and finding success against all odds. We are creating a collective community that believes that all things are possible for all people.

Open hearts. Clear paths. Let’s go.

Welcome back to Pushing Forward with Alycia. I’m Alycia Anderson, and love is in the air. It is Valentine’s Day, week and so of course I would invite back on my amazing husband and business partner Marty Anderson to join in on this conversation because love is in the air Happy Valentines.

Marty Anderson: So excited, so excited. Happy Valentine’s Day, baby.

Alycia Anderson: Welcome back. Happy Valentine’s Day week. When I grew up, my dad would tell us as little kids. Into my adulthood, there is nothing more special than the love of your youth, and that is what you are for me, and I am for you.

So I’m so excited to tell our love story because it feels like as we’ve been growing this platform, people are more and more interested about our relationship as a disabled couple and how we came together. So I’m really excited to share this together today, Babe and I don’t know, just talk about our love story.

I thought before we dive into all of that we should read Lily Grossman’s poem that she wrote recently. Lilly Grossman is a contributor, a writer and contributor on our website. She writes stories and blog posts for us sometimes, and she posted this beautiful poem the other day. And I think we should share it.

We have in common with her…, her fiance and herself they’re both wheelchair users like Marty and I. And so we have that in common, which is something we don’t run into all that often.

So should we read this poem together? Start there.

Marty Anderson: Yeah, let’s do this. And thank you, Lily.

Alycia Anderson: Yeah, this poem is by Lily Grossman.

We are not like other couples. We have to worry about medications being taken, emergency room trips, hospital visits, infections, surgeries, IV’s in hands, all resulting in canceled plans.

Marty Anderson: We are not like other couples. We know what we’re adding to our plate and we also know our peers can’t relate.

Alycia Anderson: We are not like other couples. Dates and outings are cut short and getting back home is an Olympic sport.

Marty Anderson: We’re not like other couples. We’re stronger together, motivated to become better.

Alycia Anderson: We are not like other couples. We love each other through it all and we are prepared if one falls.

Marty Anderson: We’re not like other couples. If people saw behind the scenes, they’d realize what in sickness and in health truly means.

Alycia Anderson: So beautiful.

Marty Anderson: Wonderful poem.

Alycia Anderson: Oh, I love it, Lily. She’s such a great writer. I almost got choked up. On that line that we love each other through it all and we are prepared for all the falls.

We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve been through a lot. I mean, it’s actually unbelievable. Where did it all begin? Marty, where did we meet? Where did this love story begin?

Marty Anderson: I like that. Let’s start at the beginning and spill our beans if we will, I suppose. But it all began back at a sports camp in Mission Viejo. And we went there a few years, but it was probably the very first one that we noticed each other. I definitely noticed you and your twin sister at the camp. And we were playing tennis together and we were playing basketball together. And we were doing archery and we were doing all kinds of things throughout the day on basketball team. And competing against each other, supporting and being on the same teams.

But you definitely caught my eye and to honor my mom. She always said that she picked you out for me and she was definitely catching your eye too as she came to the camps.

Alycia Anderson: And we were young. We were 12 the first time we ever met we were 12. So all these experiences that you’re talking about right now, we’re talking about, you know, that time in your youth when you’re chasing around the boy or the girl that you have a crush on and you’re pulling ponytails or, you know, popping wheelies or whatever we did back then when we were chasing each other around the gym.

And I often say in reflection of our life together, it’s been such a beautiful gift that we’ve literally grown up together and we have been in each other’s lives more than we have not been in each other’s lives because we met when we were so young. So, OK, so we meet at this camp, we pull each other’s ponytails. You pull my ponytails, I pull your hat. I don’t know what we were doing.

Marty Anderson: I actually remember just coming up behind you and laying you down on the ground and it was kind of bad and mean thing to do but it was kind of cute too.

Alycia Anderson: OK, but that sounds a little bit like you… You would dump me out of my wheelchair was what you would do.

Marty Anderson: It wasn’t dumping. It wasn’t dumping. It was laying politely on the ground and saying haha. Now get up into your chair again, which was fun.

Alycia Anderson: That was our version of pulling, pulling ponytails and chasing around the playground.

Marty Anderson: [Laughing] I suppose so.

Alycia Anderson: Yeah. So and we would look forward to seeing each other once a year and that’s about all that we would see each other. And then camp went away when we were 18. And the thing that we still had in common was competing in wheelchair tennis and going to local tournaments. And so we would still see each other from time to time. As we, you know, transition from childhood into, you know, young adulthood 18 to 20ish, and we would still see each other every once in a while, but it was kind of rare.

Marty Anderson: Yeah. Well, we would also run across each other, not only at the tennis tournaments, but occasionally at Colours ’N Motion’s wheelchair shop, just some random passings or stopping in for tires, or fixing this and that, and you were a part of their campaign and in their posters and everything else.

But I remember explicitly that we kind of did move on and got into our, you know, young adulthood, and I was going to school at University of San Diego and one day I received a letter in the mail, handwritten little card from Alycia Busciglio.

Alycia Anderson: You’re aging us.

Marty Anderson: Do you remember what it said?

Alycia Anderson: I don’t remember what it said. Can you? You you’re gonna have to tell that story.

Marty Anderson: Yeah, I was… I was surprised to get it and it was just a little note that said, you know, hey, how are you doing? And I’ve been thinking about you. I just wanted to let you know that I’m coming down to do a tennis camp in San Diego. And I know you’re going to school there.

So I thought maybe we could get together. And so I was like, wow, that’s pretty cool. She remembered me. And I don’t know how she got my address, but here she is, tracking me down, sending me mail.

Alycia Anderson: Probably the Yellow Pages on the phone book.

Marty Anderson: So anyways, uh yeah, yeah.

Alycia Anderson: OK, so letter was sent and then?

Marty Anderson: And then I decided. Yeah. You know, I probably called you on the on the landline and said, hey, yeah, let’s meet up and, you know, figure out all the rest of the details. But anyways, it was Coronado Island. Beautiful island down in San Diego. You were staying at Loews Hotel. I remember.

And there was the camp going on, and so I popped down with a crew of buddies and came after camp one day and met you at the bar down in Loews. Listen, I don’t know if we were old enough to drink then or if we were trying to sneak drinks or just sitting there having a soda, but basically we we’re hanging out and I remember you were telling us about your wonderful view and like, you know invited me and my friends up to the room to see it, and we all went up there together and hanging out, looking at this beautiful view of San Diego from your room.

And then we all left and I was telling you goodnight and. I got to back to the lobby and I noticed well, you know, I forgot my tie up in the in your room. And I was wearing a tie. I must have been wanting to impress you or something. I was looking slick. I don’t know what it was, but I was always kind of a preppy back in the day. and. And so anyways, I told my friends, hey, you know, just go on and I’ll catch up to you later.

And I went back up and knocked on your door and then you invited me in and we started talking out on the patio, all by ourselves, and it led to our first.

Alycia Anderson: Oh. Our first kiss on the patio of Coronado Island in San Diego. So sweet. I love it. That’s such a… I remember that night so clearly too and that was the beginning and I think we were 20. I don’t think we were 21 quite yet, but I remember our relationship starting around 20 and Marty and I dated for a few years. We got engaged and then I broke his heart. I crushed his soul. I…

Marty Anderson: Oh, let’s get… Let’s get a little more lovey before we get to the crushing of the soul part.

Alycia Anderson: Oh. [Laughing]

Marty Anderson: You know, let’s talk about our first date. You know, well, there was Orange County and you know our first date we spent out camping under the stars as a group. Your sister and her, your sister’s boyfriend and you were all camping and invited me to come along, and I remember we slept out under the stars. Even without a tent and just laid a blanket down and, it was wonderful night. We woke up with the ants all over us, but we had a wonderful steak dinner I cooked over the fire and this and that, but it was a nice start to a beautiful relationship. And so, then on to…

Alycia Anderson: That was that was…

Marty Anderson: It turned into a very serious like, you know, everyday type of situation.

Alycia Anderson: That was young love.

Marty Anderson: It was young love.

Alycia Anderson: That that was our experience of young love, which began when we were 12 and we didn’t even know it and came together when we were 20.

Marty Anderson: And you were waitressing at the time at Chevys with this famous little expose that came out in New Mobility Magazine that we’ve seen on Netflix and used in all kinds of places.

But the waitress in the wheelchair… And I fell in love with you, and would head over to Chevys and wait for you to finish up, help you with your rollouts and all the good stuff.

Alycia Anderson: Let’s take a quick break. You’re listening to Pushing Forward with Alycia.


Alycia Anderson: Welcome back to Pushing Forward with Alycia. I’m Alycia Anderson, and love is in the air. It is Valentine’s Day week and so of course I would invite back on my amazing husband and business partner Marty Anderson to join in.

So, Fast forward that to…

Marty Anderson: To what happened?

Alycia Anderson: Our marriage like, yeah, what happened?

Marty Anderson: Well, you had a spoiler alert there for a moment, so I’m going to just go ahead and fill it in you. You were waitressing and I was out of college and we had a serious relationship and a couple of things happened. You for the first time had maybe not the first time, but for the first time with me had been diagnosed with a bunch of stones.

And it was a serious affair, and I know that it sent me into a little bit of like a panic mode. What do I do to help out? What can I do? And this is where the story is a little different for both of us. But I was so worried about you not being able to work and while you were recovering from this surgery and everything that I kind of went up to my dad’s. And asked him, you know, to help me get one of my first jobs.

And he was a tool and die maker and a fourth generation [toolmaker], and I had been working at his shop for years over the summers and I decided, hey, I can work for my dad. And so… so the only problem was he was in Washington State and we were living in Southern California at the time you and I. And so I went up to Washington and you kind of felt like I left you behind when I needed… you needed me most. I remember you telling me.

But as a result, I went up there and worked for several months and saved up money and had bought a ring and came back down while you were in the hospital recovering from your surgery and I remember I proposed to you, and yeah, you said yes.

And we had started the plans of thinking of getting married early on in our now mid 20s and then things fell apart with me and my dad and I ended up coming back down to Southern California and it just kind of was a twist of fate.

All of the things that happened, you were in a different mode and ready to take off for Tahoe. Tell us about…

Alycia Anderson: Well, it was more like we were young and for me, when I look back at the time our engagement broke… was broken off. I was finally coming into myself as a woman, as a more empowered woman, and I wanted to go away to school. I wanted to go to college. We were just too young for me at that point. So I wanted to go get my degrees. I guess just be independent on my own without you, without Regina, without really, without anyone, like go to school and make it happen.

And that’s, you know, that is what kind of separated us for a few years is you went off and started your own company, and I went off and got my bachelors and masters degree and…

Marty Anderson: Well, this is this is the beauty of our relationship is we’ve always respected each other enough that we were, you know, willing to always let the other person do what they wanted. And I remember really, that it was a heartbreaking moment. I even came over, and I helped you load up your truck and get all your things into your van that you were moving up to Tahoe with.

And I remember you crying, and telling me I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. And I remember saying just. You’re doing what you need to do or whatever, and I love you and I know it hurts and it sucks and but hopefully you know, you can always come back.

Alycia Anderson: In that time of separation was an immense growth for both of us. And you started a company. I got a masters degree. We were apart for, I don’t know, 5-6 years, something like that, and then when I was done with my Masters degree, I came and moved back home to Southern California to get a job. And figure out what I was…

And we stayed in touch the whole time, right. Like we never… We’ve never been out of each other’s lives. We… Our relationship is based on being best friends and always being there for each other. And because we’re both disabled we… it’s a relationship where we understand each other.

Deeply layer by layer with all of it. And so, I came back and wanted to hit tennis balls. And so we started hitting tennis balls and we started dating again. And one thing led to another and we were engaged again, and this time it was the real deal. And we got married.

And Marty is the one who has loved me deeper… more real than any other man that I ever dated, and that has been the most important thing to me, to feel loved and seen and beautiful in the most intimate situations where I don’t have to be insecure about my disability. I don’t have to be insecure about my body. I don’t have to be insecure about medical devices. And all the things, surgeries and challenges and… Marty’s the one that has always been there to lift me up, and love me through the good, but also…, and I think more importantly lifted me up and cared for me when I’m not the strong independent Alycia, and I’m going through a ton of surgeries and a ton of things that are scary, they’re ugly… they’re not attractive… they are, you know, the stuff behind the scenes that is very, very, very personal when it comes to disability.

And and Marty’s always been the one to…

Marty Anderson: You’ve always been beautiful and for me growing up, it was a little more difficult as a male with a disability to have that confidence to, you know, I would go on dates and this and that and everything else, but it was always this feeling like, you know, I don’t know if the women I was dating were like, you know, into me.

And ever since I started dating you and getting that letter from you, it was like you made me feel valued, you made me feel strong, you made me feel like the man I wanted to be. And we have an instant connection, you know, with being just young and love and all the things that happen, and we’ve always had a great relationship.

And so, while we were apart, we would even, you know try to stay in contact. I remember you writing me letters for several weeks and months while you were just getting over to Europe and getting used to your situation, and I would write you emails and things as we were just starting to get into the Internet and I was running my first company, chairsports.com and going across the country and with my business partner.

And just after years of being out on the road, I remember I called you one time, almost breaking down and I don’t even know where I was… somewhere in Georgia or something, and I was calling you, just telling you how much I loved you and how much I missed you and everything. And it wasn’t shortly after that, you did come home and we started playing tennis again, and I was at the point where I had kind of slowed down my business.

My partner and I had kind of dissolved it and I was starting to come out of a shell of just like shock from a few years of depression after trying so hard to make that business work and I was getting back out onto the tour as on a personal level and that’s when I really did the best tennis of my life and made it to the Team USA and represented World Team Cup and just as you were coming back, I was gearing up for those trips and…

Alycia Anderson: It must have been my training on the court.

Marty Anderson: It might have been the training that you were giving me on the court or whatever, but it was, you know, it was difficult and then…

Alycia Anderson: And I remember you on the tennis court back then just like there was such an attraction for me to see you play and excel in something that you really loved. And I think that was like that like helped fuel the fire of our like intimacy and stuff because it was…

Marty Anderson: There was a lot of intimacy. Let’s say it that way. But…

Alycia Anderson: OK. So you brought it up, let’s shift.

Marty Anderson: Hold on. I was just speaking to this, you know, to this…

Alycia Anderson: We’re shifting and I want to talk about sex. So I’m going to go ahead and throw that out there. Let’s talk about intimacy, because I… for me, and I’m kind of answering my own question and jumping in, so sorry about that. But one of the most frustrating things for me as a disabled woman my entire life has been this notion that society thinks that disabled people don’t care about intimacy. That we have enough problems medically that we wouldn’t be interested in sex and relationships and all of that.

And society often puts us in this like asexual category where we have no interest in that, and it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Marty and I have had like, a very healthy sex life, our entire relationship. Do we have to adapt things sometimes. Absolutely, we both have disabilities, but that only like, leaves the door open to creativity and finding it, you know, so…

Marty Anderson: It hasn’t stopped us from having fun.

Alycia Anderson: No, it hasn’t stopped us. So like the stigma that I want to squash on this when we’re talking about love and relationships is, disabled people want to have sex to. And love. And relationships. And…

Marty Anderson: 100 percent. 100%.

Alycia Anderson: What’s the myth that you think needs to be squashed when it comes to relationships? Specifically, with two people that have disabilities.

Marty Anderson: Well, you know, a big myth is, is that we can’t take care of each other. It’s this misconception of like, why are we focusing on something so negative? Why are we focusing on something that we can, you know, avert with wellness with health, with staying in shape with, you know, creating environments that are not barriers to our ability to help and do the things we can for each other.

And I remember the second time around and we were at… your dad was the one that had to come up to me and, “When are you going to? When are you going to ask Alycia to marry? You know, because you guys have been dating now again for a while.”

And I was like well, you know, he got me off the stump and we did that, but we had other great conversations. You know, he would ask me, you know, what is it that you want out of a wife and all these things? And I remember just saying basically, you know that I wanted a lady that was… that was a good cook and that you know would be willing to cook for me every night.

Alycia Anderson: That’s what you said?

Marty Anderson: [Laughing] I did. I had to ask him for your hand in marriage twice.

Alycia Anderson: I want to.. what I want to do to kind of wrap up the show is, I want to fire off some quick answer questions. Ok? Are you ready for them?

Marty Anderson: Sure.

Alycia Anderson: Ok, who’s a better cook, you or me?

Marty Anderson: You.

Alycia Anderson: Who cooks mostly?

Marty Anderson: You. [Laughing]

Alycia Anderson: Was it love at first sight?

Marty Anderson: Yes.

Alycia Anderson: It was yes for me too. I agree. Who’s most likely to forget a special date.

Marty Anderson: Me.

Alycia Anderson: True. What does a romantic night look like for us?

Marty Anderson: Snuggling on the couch with a movie, getting close… a bottle of wine, maybe champagne.

Alycia Anderson: We’re pretty old now. I know that sounds good to me. I love that. What is the most romantic thing the other one has ever done?

Marty Anderson: Well, our second marriage on Maui Island was pretty special that you concocted and with the all the lay flowers around us and the ukulele player and all that, that was pretty romantic.

Alycia Anderson: The most romantic thing that you’ve ever done for me is… our proposal.

Our proposal when Marty proposed to me, he surprised me with a really like, fancy dinner. The whole room erupted and every all the people in the restaurant were buying us champagne. And then he said, let’s go into the bar and we went into the bar and he surprised me and flew in my sister from San Francisco and both of our families were there, and it was this big, like, surprising engagement.

And I was stunned. I actually was really stunned. It was beautiful. That was, that was a very romantic moment. Just know how much I love you.

Marty Anderson: I love you too.

Alycia Anderson: I’m so grateful for this beautiful story that we are continuing to develop every single day. I wish you a really happy Valentine’s Day, Marty. And I love you. I love you deeply.

Marty Anderson: Well, I love you very much, darling. And it gets better every year.

Alycia Anderson: I’m so happy to be married to you too. All right. Well, what’s a pushing forward moment in this whole story?

Marty Anderson: To never give up on what you really want. I think is a great lesson. I think that for both of us, if we let it go and it comes back, it’s meant to be. So I wish all the couples out there in the world, you know, a beautiful love story to.

What is your pushing forward moment, sweetheart?

Alycia Anderson: That love comes in all shapes and sizes and abilities, and when you find somebody that you really love and you know it deeply, no matter the package that they come in, don’t let it go. If you feel it in your heart do not let it go.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This has been Pushing Forward with Alycia and that is how we roll on this podcast.