Love at SDSU: Blinded by the light of true love

Courtesy of Matthew Eisen and Karla Peterson

by Alicia Chavez, Senior Staff Writer

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The film critic fell in love with the music critic and Bruce Springsteen was the power that brought them together. Matthew Eisen and Karla Peterson were both attending San Diego State and writing for The Daily Aztec in 1981 when they realized they had more in common than they expected, such as a deep rooted love of Bruce Springsteen.

Karla Peterson was an English major from Upland, California, and wanted to write for The Daily Aztec in order to get more involved with the student community. Come to find out the writing position she had in mind was already filled by her future husband. She settled as the music critic, but it wasn’t too long until the two crossed paths. Eisen was a film graduate student from Illinois and the movie critic at The Daily Aztec.

“When I went to The Daily Aztec for the first time to try and get a writing job, I was really interested in writing about movies,” Peterson said. “Except, they already had a movie critic, so I got my revenge later by marrying him.”

“Yea, she tried to steal my job,” Eisen said.

Their positions with the school’s newspaper came with several perks and eventually led them to each other in the spring of 1981. Peterson was working on a play review. Matthew was attending the same event, and intended to interview the famous playwright.

Although both were involved with other people at the time, spending countless hours in the same office and trying to meet the same deadlines inevitably bonded the two writers.

FEATURES_AZTECLOVEEisen-Peterson_AztecParty_1981One afternoon in The Daily Aztec offices, Peterson was writing a summer review of a Bruce Springsteen concert. Eisen peeked over her shoulder only to realize he attended the same concert.

“We started talking about how great the concert was and our love of music,” Eisen said. “We both love rock ‘n’ roll, so I suggested we go to a show together and Karla said yes.”

For their first date, Eisen mixed work with pleasure. His assignment was to write a movie review for the film “Body Heat” and asked Karla to join him. The two watched the sexy film together and Peterson recounts it as an incredibly awkward experience.

“We’re sitting in the movie and halfway through, I’m thinking, ‘What is she going to think about me?’” Eileen said.

“It was a little embarrassing,” Peterson said. “We were both trying to act like it wasn’t really happening.”

“All I could hope was that she wasn’t reading too much into it,” Eisen said. “Fortunately, she didn’t.”

After ‘Body Heat,’ the rest is history. The two began dating in the fall of 1981. With the absence of texting and voicemails, they kept their relationship aflame the old fashioned way — leaving cute notes in their work mailboxes.

They continued to attend movie premieres and music concerts together. They even consider “The Backdoor,” an old concert hall located downstairs in the old Aztec Center, their favorite place on campus. Although the hall is long-gone, the place still holds memories for the two.

In 1983 the two decided to move in together and by 1986 Peterson and Eisen were married. Although Eisen’s wedding proposal was a little untraditional, the two were tired of living like a couple of college students and ready to take things to the next level.

“He didn’t actually propose,” Peterson said. “There wasn’t a ‘getting down on one knee’ or anything. It was more of us just talking like we do.”

“We really needed a lot of stuff around the house,” Eisen said. “We thought if we got married, everyone is going to buy us wedding gifts like nice plates and some cook wear.”

In 1995 Eisen and Peterson welcomed a baby girl named Natalie Eisen.

Almost 28 years later, the two are still happily married and still going to Bruce Springsteen concerts together. Their secret to a long lasting, Aztec marriage is communication.

“It’s interesting that we both majored in communication fields,” Eisen said. “Our marriage has really worked because we’re always open and communicative with each other.”

Peterson believes a relationship needs to continue to have passion, including a sense of humor.

“If you can’t laugh with somebody and can’t find the ridiculousness in life, I think you’re going to have a harder time,” Peterson said.

“We love to laugh and having a sense of humor definitely helps, especially if you’re married to me, then you really need a sense of humor, right Karla?” Eisen said.

She said yes.

Eisen is currently the Executive Producer at Crosskeys Media and Karla Peterson is a columnist at the U-T San Diego, both continuing to write and produce like they did when they first met.

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