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Spiegels return to Parisian proposal site for 35th anniversary

Spud and Raquel Spiegel returned to the Cafe de la Paix in Paris on their 35th wedding anniversary. (CONTRIBUTED)
Spud and Raquel Spiegel returned to the Cafe de la Paix in Paris on their 35th wedding anniversary. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Michael ‘Spud’ and Raquel Spiegel celebrated their 35th anniversary by visiting the romantic locale where he first proposed — Paris, France.

Spud works as president of a local company. Raquel teaches art at Discovery Middle School.

They met accidentally travelling to Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. Spud, an U.S. Army lieutenant, was touring with his parents from Ravenna, Neb. Raquel, an art teacher, was exploring the arts in Europe. Since childhood, she had admired the castle.

Spud’s mother, Marilyn Spiegel, introduced Raquel to him. “We spent an entire day sightseeing. Best of all, I was bonding with my future family,” Raquel said.

Three weeks later, Spud and Raquel’s paths crossed again in Ramstein, Germany. She accepted his invitation for a weekend to Paris, “knowing all the amazing art my eyes could take in. We traveled on the midnight train to Paris and roamed the city.”

To admire the Palais Garnier opera house, they sat outside the Cafe de la Paix. “Shortly after sitting down, Lt. Spiegel popped the question,” Raquel said. “I jumped into a state of shock.”

Cafe diners urged her to say “Yes.” “I was so caught in the moment of ‘what’ I knew in my heart. I was doing the right thing in accepting his proposal of sharing our future together as Mr. & Mrs.,” she said.

They were married at her alma mater, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic University in San Antonio, Texas with 500 guests and 14 bridesmaids.

This summer, they returned to the opera house by Cafe de la Paix. “My sweet, romantic husband popped the question again. Everything became silent for that special moment,” Raquel said. “No need to hold your breath … I said, ‘Yes’.” They celebrated with two British friends, Simon and Jill Stevens, with coffee, hot chocolate and French cookies.

The Spiegels moved to Madison in 1995 from Washington D.C. Their sons are Kevin in Louisiana and Brian in Florida. Spud retired as lieutenant colonel. “I’ll forever be an Army wife and an Air Force mom,” Raquel said.

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