Christmas in July

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Ah, July. This is a very important month for my adorable husband Chuck and me. It was July 28, 1983, when we had our first date. Well, it really wasn’t a date at all. It was a “Christmas in July” celebration at the Holiday Inn in Florence, South Carolina, and our fellow employees at WPDE-TV 15 were all going to be at the big bash. Chuck worked in the production department making TV commercials, and I was the talk-show host and producer and commercial spokesperson, so we had been working together for the past seven months since he finished his masters at USC and arrived at his very first post-college gig.

When Chuck first came to the station, I had a boyfriend of almost five years. He was a great guy but very jealous and possessive, which drove me nuts! It was a constant on again, off again relationship. But the more Chuck and I worked together, and the more he flirted with me, the more I was melting and realizing that this guy was something special. We had so much in common when we were out producing commercials for the station or when he was running camera for my TV show. Soon I knew that I had to break away from my current love interest and free myself up to follow my heart. Luckily, “Mr. Wrong” agreed it wasn’t working.

I went for over a month before telling anyone at the station about the split, because I needed time to breathe and study carefully what was playing out with Chuck. And I prayed about it. And prayed some more. Frankly, I had made some bad mistakes about the men I had dated in the past, and it scared the living daylights out of me that I would make another big mistake as I was falling in love so fast. Besides, I have always heard that dating someone you work with can be trouble if it all does not work out.

So now you are ready for the “Christmas in July” saga. That night I arrived at the party and everyone wondered where my boyfriend was, and I decided to spill the beans that the relationship was over. My female teammates giggled and said that when Chuck arrives, he would be thrilled. And yes he was. We danced all night, even to the Christmas music. There was no snow of course, but I felt warm and fuzzy like a kid waiting for Santa in the middle of a Currier & Ives painting. But midnight approached, I reminded Chuck that I had to look good for my live show at noon the next day. He walked me to my car, followed me home to make sure I arrived safely, and asked me if he could come in for coffee. I hesitated, until he blinked those gorgeous blue eyes at me and said it would help to sober him up!

Once inside, he laughed and said he did not drink coffee but just wanted the night to continue. We talked till three and then upon leaving he said, “Don’t worry I am not going to kiss you because I can tell you are scared to death. But how about on Sunday when I come back from celebrating my grandmother’s seventy-fifth birthday, I come over and we grill some steaks?”

Yes, he was right. I was scared.

And I wondered whether he was just baiting me with that Grandmother line! But you know the rest of the story. We have been together for thirty-three wonderful years, marrying on September 29, 1984, and we still celebrate “Christmas in July” every year on July 28. We call it our “Monthaversary.” For us Christmas comes twice a year, and it’s always so magical!!!

About this writer

  • Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes is the President of Stages Video Productions, Host and Producer for TV show “Inside Out” on HTC, and EASY Radio Host weekdays noon to 3pm. Her passions include food, travel and theater. You can reach her at

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