6877886245_3a0e1f2a15_zImage from Flickr via (Creative Commons License)

I celebrated Valentine’s Day in October this year.  It happened at my high school’s 60th reunion, where I was expecting to hang out with some old girlfriends. They didn’t show, but my disappointment was short-lived, for, amazingly, I was fated to have a wonderful reunion with—I’ll call him Fred—whom I had not seen, or even thought of, for more than 63 years.

Fred and I were sweethearts in sixth, seventh, and ninth grades. We both attended the same schools and church, but his family moved away when we were 14 years old, and we lost all contact.  I always suspected that his father thought we were too young and too serious, since we had made plans to marry and depart for Africa as missionaries as soon as we grew up.

When our MC announced that we had a visitor among us—Fred S.—I was transported back through those 63 years to the junior high school canteen, where Fred and I always danced the last dance together to the strains of “Good Night, Sweetheart.”  As soon as was proper, I hotfooted it across the big dining room to his table and introduced myself. “Hello, I’m Sylvia. Do you remember me?”  “Do I remember you?” he cried.  “You’re the reason I’m here!”

Not wanting to disrupt the program, I reluctantly returned to my table, but not before we agreed to meet and talk when the reunion was over. 

That mini-reunion of ours was ten times better than the official one.  We shared stories about our families, kids, grandkids, work, respective cancers (prostate and breast), religion, the universe, and of course, our old romance.  He asked me if I remembered that we had gone to hear Louis Zamperini, of Unbroken fame, at a Youth for Christ rally. I didn’t, but was amazed that he did. 

Naturally, as a long-divorced single woman I checked out his left ring finger early on.  Seems he had a wife and a home in Florida and was just visiting one of his six children in the Philadelphia area.  I felt a pang of disappointment, I must admit.

But that didn’t stop us from reminiscing! We talked as easily and comfortably as we had when we were adolescents.

 “Remember how Sue and Debbie used to dance next to us at canteen and imitate me bending over to dance ‘cheek to cheek?’”

 “ Yes, but I’m taller than you now.”

“Remember how we broke up in eighth grade?”

 “You went and left me for that damn Jerry W.! And what was that minister’s name who took our youth fellowship to the Youth for Christ rallies?’ 

“That was Jim A. and his wife.  But you know, I’m an agnostic now.  Are you disappointed in me?”

And so it went— a conversation that easily picked up from where we had left off so many years ago. 

A friend came by and we asked him to take our photo.  When Fred put his arm around me, I asked what his wife would think about this.  “She wouldn’t like it at all,” he replied. 

So be still, my beating heart!  I am not going to be a home-wrecker.  But I think I will pick out a Valentine this year for Fred–signed, sealed, but not delivered.

 

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  • Bernadette Laganella February 9, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    What an unusual but sweetly moving Valentine story.

    Reply