Love connection at The Runner

Shelby Parker

Senior Columnist

Photo Courtesy of Amber Chiang and Charley Chiang Amber and Charley Chiang smile on their wedding day May 22, 1994.
Photo Courtesy of Amber Chiang and Charley Chiang
Amber and Charley Chiang smile on their wedding day May 22, 1994.

They say that when you aren’t looking for love, that’s usually when it finds you. In the midst of focusing on school, career and family, sometimes the stars align and the one person you didn’t know you needed walks into your life at the right time.
Amber Morgan was a communications major at California State University, Bakersfield, and meeting the love of her life wasn’t a concern on her mind, nor was being in a relationship a main priority.
Her mother had gotten pregnant and married at a young age, and told Amber, “Always know what you want to do,” when it came to her life. Amber made a promise to her mom that she wouldn’t get married in her teens. She worked on The Runner throughout her college years from 1992 to 1996.
Charley Chiang was a business major at CSUB, who joined The Runner staff in 1990. He was “unofficially” on staff for two years, as he was also enrolled in the Copy Editing and Page Layout classes. He was also interested in someone else.
However, one day in August 1993, seemed to change all of that.
“While walking down DDH minding my own business, Amber and Lori Evans, who was the staff photographer, walked up behind me and Lori pinched my butt,” said Charley. “I liked Lori at the time, so I didn’t mind it, but I didn’t really think much of Amber at first. We officially met while I was in the Copy Editing class.”
It wasn’t exactly love at first sight for these two, but like many, over time their friendship became something more.The pair had never met before that day. After, they went to a few group outings, but never talked until a birthday party for their co-Editor-in-Chief, Laura Hodgson, in Kernville presented itself. They were the only ones who showed up, which gave them plenty of time to get to know one another. Charley was a city boy from Taiwan, who had then moved to Los Angeles. Amber was from the desert, and was fascinated with the stars, and spent some of their time together, pointing out the constellations in the night sky.
“Amber and I spent about an hour talking just talking and getting to know each other under the stars and away from the party. I guess it was then I realized she might be the one.”
After only two months of dating, Amber was diagnosed with mononucleosis. All of her responsibilities had overwhelmed her, affecting her physically. Charley admits to feeling guilty about her getting sick, since mono is known as the kissing disease.
“Charley helped me however he could – bringing me food, helping me keep up on my coursework and just generally keeping me company. That selflessness is something I will always remember,” said Amber.
It was during that time that Charley got the idea to ask her to marry him. They had only been dating two months, but when you know, you know.
“I figured in her weakened state, she’d be more likely to say ‘yes,’ but I didn’t pop the question until after she had recovered,” said Charley.
Charley picked out a diamond ring, asked Amber’s dad for his permission to marry her and got on one knee on her front porch. Although Charley said she wasn’t totally surprised because they had been talking about it, Amber thought otherwise. Since she had made the promise to her mom about not marrying in her teens.
Amber waited until three days after her 20th birthday to get married. They have now been married 21 years, and have two children.
“It was a lovely wedding! I am very proud of them in their careers and as parents of two great kids,” said Judith Pratt, who was adviser of The Runner at the time.
“My life would not be the same had I not worked on The Runner. Thanks to Judith, to this day I still don’t use the words ‘that,’ ‘unique’ and ‘very.’ I also learned that love will find you when and where you least expect it,” said Charley.