Congratulations to our 15 Love Story Finalists!
We've received almost 100 love stories from Five Star residents, staff, friends and family. We've narrowed the field down to 15 Finalists for you to vote on.
Read the finalists' stories below and then vote for your three favorites!
The winning stories will be announced on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2012.
OUR 15 FINALIST LOVE STORIES
Clarence & Jackie
The Palms of St. Lucie West - Port St. Lucie West, FL
"Hey, you want to see my new tattoo?" The teenage girl looked at his forearm - it was her name! "Why would you do that? How do you know I'm going to marry you?"
He turned to her and said with a smile, "Oh, you'll marry me alright." That was over 65 years ago - the beginning of what has become an enduring romance between Clarence (Navy Pete) and his lovely wife, Jackie.
I met the couple as Pete was getting settled in to our Memory Care Unit. Each time we spoke, Jackie revealed something about their lives together. You could hear the pride in her voice as she talked about Pete: A military man, plumbing contractor, founding member of a local church...but first and foremost, a family man. The visits they've shared over this year have been filled with both sweetness and sorrow. Jackie comes whenever she can get a ride, never knowing in what condition she'll find Pete. On the best days, we'll laugh together as they joke about which one was "a better catch."
One afternoon Jackie surprised him with a 65th Anniversary Party, with family members and a cake for us all. It was then that she answered a question I had had since first meeting Pete - about his many tattoos. Most were from the time in the Navy, but there was a blurry one I could never read.
We all had a good laugh when we learned about the "Jackie tattoo"! Since that time, more often than not, they'll spend their visits quietly holding hands, making Jackie wonder if he still remembers her at all. But one afternoon, not long ago, I caught his attention and pointed to the now faded tattoo on his forearm. "Who's that?" I asked. "That's the luckiest girl in the world", he said, smiling.
Clark & Kitty
The Forum at Tucson - Tucson, AZ
WWII brought many love stories and marriages and Kitty’s and my story started in a unique way.
Our unusual meeting began in 1944. I was stationed at Dateland Air Force Base, which is approximately 120 miles from Phoenix, AZ. One weekend, my army buddy and I hitchhiked to Phoenix to spend a couple of days of “R & R.” After arriving in Phoenix, we checked into the Adams Hotel and we decided to go somewhere for dancing and entertainment. We were advised of such a place on Central Ave.
With our thumbs in the air we ventured in the direction given to us earlier. Just then a car pulled along aside asking if they could give us a ride. This car had two lovely ladies, and of course we accepted gladly. They were going to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and they asked us if we cared to join them. We thanked them but declined as we had never had that type of food, being from the Midwest.
They dropped us off at our location and they agreed to join us after dinner. True to their word they joined us and a good time was had by all, dancing and getting to know one another. They drove us to our hotel, and as we parted I promised Kitty that I would get in touch with her the next day. That promise I kept and after that first unusual date we began our courtship that culminated with our wonderful marriage. I learned later that my wife, Kitty, told her friend that first night… “I’m going to marry Clark.” This was the beginning of our loving 64 years of marriage – all due to hitchhiking!
Don & Bertie
Brandon Woods - Lawrence, KS
It was 1942 and I’d just finished my freshman year at Washburn University in Topeka. One day my good friend, Betty, phoned me from Eudora and told me that I should apply for a job at Hercules Powder Company. Betty said that she was earning $185.00 a month at Hercules as a typist, which was a very good wage during 1942. Betty further said that I could be a typist and also be her roommate at an apartment in Lawrence if I could pass the typing test. I passed the test, was hired at Hercules, and became her roommate.
One Sunday afternoon a young man and his friend arrived in his car at our apartment house. They invited Betty and I to join them for a Coke. I sat next to a fellow named Ernie and Betty sat next to a handsome young man named Don McConnell. The next day my landlady told me that there was someone at the door asking for me. When I saw that it was Don I told him that I’d get Betty, but he said that he wanted to speak to me. We visited, dated, and quickly fell in love.
Don became a pilot in the Army Air Force and we were married during his first leave in 1944. We spent 63 happy years together, raised three children and were blessed with six grandchildren, plus one great-grandchild. After living in the home that Don built for 40 years, we moved into Brandon Woods three years before Don passed away. Don was truly the love of my life and I miss him very much, but I feel lucky that we had so many wonderful years together.
Don & Ruth
Howell Care Center - Howell, MI
Our Love Story involves a couple that has been happily married for 50 years. Ruth and Don first met when they were involved in the Calvary Baptist Church in Holland. They knew little of each other. It wasn’t until a cruise set sail as part of a church event that Ruth and Don finally met and their love flourished.
When Ruth and Don took their vows it really was for better or for worse and in sickness and in health; Don spent a good portion of their married life caring for Ruth and now the tables have turned. Presently, Don and Ruth reside at Howell Care Center and Ruth spends much of her time taking care of Don. Despite the challenges of living in a nursing facility, Ruth and Don have adapted to being deaf in a hearing world. They remain positive and bring much joy to residents and staff alike. They receive many visits from members of the deaf community and have even inspired a sign language class for staff taught by a volunteer in the sign language program at a local college.
We were fortunate to share in the celebration of their love for each other when last May they celebrated their 50 years together. A party was held in their honor and they were congratulated one by one by both residents and staff. Although Ruth and Don never had any children of their own they have seemed to take on a nurturing role for many of us staff members. They never miss a chance to see how we are doing or give us a hug. Ruth and Don lean on us for support when either one are ill. We would like to nominate Ruth and Don for displaying 50 years of true love.
Ernest & Virginia
Coral Oaks - Palm Harbor, FL
They met in their twenties in Miamisburg, Ohio at a dance in 1938. Before intermission, the circle waltz played. When it ended, Ernie and Ginny were partners. He invited her for a Coke, but she said, “No, I don’t know you.” He said, “I don’t know you either” and winked. That was all it took! They headed toward the Greeks soda shop, the “hot spot.”
Soon after, Ernie professed his love for Ginny. But she didn’t say she loved him because she’d only known him a couple weeks. That's when he first called her “Daisy” as in “daisies never tell.” Ernie’s nickname was not liked by Ginny’s mother, because the family had a cow named Daisy. But, Ernie’s called her “Daisy” since that day.
In July 1939, Ginny planned a vacation with friends. Wanting to impress the girls, Ernie told Ginny he'd pick her up from the vacation on Sunday. But he thought his Chevrolet Coupe wasn’t suitable. So he borrowed a 1938 Oldsmobile Convertible from a friend. This romantic gesture made its mark on Ginny, her friends and family. Soon after, he bought the convertible because he couldn’t stand to pretend to be something he wasn’t.
The couple married June 7, 1941. Since their 65th Anniversary, every 7th of the month they celebrate with a candle. They created this ritual not knowing if they’ll be together on their anniversary each June.
Ernie wrote Corinthians 13:4 and 13:13 in calligraphy on Valentine’s 1994 and it hangs in their apartment. Ginny said the verses account for their happy 70 year marriage. Ernie is working on a special Valentine present for Daisy this year, but it’s for Daisy’s eyes only.
It is very obvious that they are still madly in love as they banter with one another, smile and laugh together!
Frank & Elsie
Tuscany Villa of Naples, Napes, FL
Roosevelt High School marked the beginning of a journey filled with adventure and a life rooted in passion for Frank (age 17) and Elsie Preiner (age 16). The couple spent $.35 on the marriage license and $2.00 on wedding rings from the Pawn Shop. It was Wednesday February 9, 1942 at 8:00p.m. on a cold and snowy day when the love birds hopped aboard a streetcar spending $1.00 to travel to St. Paul, MN, to get married, unbeknownst to their family and friends. Once they arrived at the minister’s house, they got married paying $1.00 for the minister to perform the ceremony.
But the story doesn’t end here! After they were married, they had to rush home to meet their 10:00 pm curfew! Now keep in mind, their parents had no idea that the young couple had went off to get hitched. It was a very well kept secret, for 2 months. Frank unfortunately made the mistake of leaving the marriage certificate in his car. It was then that Frank’s father made THE CALL to Elsie’s father; to let him know what the kids had been up to. Frank’s father called and said, “I have some very bad news to tell you.” Elsie’s father responded by saying, “What, did the kids get into an accident?” “NO, EVEN WORSE THAN THAT, THEY GOT MARRIED!” he said.
Needless to say all is well and ends well; 70 years later as we celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary. Frank and Elsie are still going strong at Tuscany Villa of Naples. They have traveled the world together and continue to spread cheer through Frank’s great jokes and Elsie’s warm heart. One could only dream of a love like this.
Frank & Shirley
Park Summit - Coral Springs, FL
Frank and I met at Park Summit. He was a retired Captain, a bachelor for 12 years, I was a retired teacher, widowed for one year. We both were perfectly happy to stay that way. He was built like an athlete and walked like a military man. Sometimes, I followed in his footsteps, astonished at his grace. His singing turned heads – literally. Women pushed their way in to sit near him. I had the best seat, (next to him) although he didn’t sing to me.
We were interested in natural events, so when planet Mars rolled into its closest position to Earth in 50,000 years, Frank brought his binoculars to my patio and we watched the phenomena together, hands touching. Many emails went back and forth as we got to know each other better. He was shy, but he was not shy while writing an email. We enjoyed each other – talking, dancing, and playing with words. We both liked discussing grammar and he never ended a sentence with a preposition. What more could one ask for in a lover?
We took trips by car, plane and cruise ship, getting to know each other’s relatives and friends. We attended reunions, volunteered, wore formal clothes to auctions and played tennis. Could life get any better? We married in January, 2004, at sea on a Holland American cruise, joined by family and friends. They still laugh and sing and love, maybe not with the same energy, but as Frank once wrote:
Let us be thankful that we met
Let us be thankful for our togetherness
Let us be thankful that we are one
And let this one be not undone
We are so blessed.
Harry & Lelah
Clearwater Commons - Indianapolis, IN
Lelah and Harry met on a blind date that almost didn’t happen! A mutual friend fixed a lunch date for them in April 1946. Lelah was an accounting clerk for the FHA and Harry was a young veteran of WWII just starting his career with the Indianapolis Power and Light Company. Lelah and Harry were to meet outside of Harry’s office building on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Lelah was to meet Harry by the revolving door into the building at noon. The problem was there were two revolving doors! One door was located on the south side of the building and the other was located on the west side of the building. Lelah was waiting on the west side of the building, and Harry was waiting on the south side of the building! Each waited for thirty minutes for the other one to arrive. Finally, they both decided at the same time to walk to the other side of the building to see if they could find their “lost” blind date before calling it quits.
As each was walking toward the other side of the building, they literally bumped into each other! “Are you Harry Keller?” Lelah asked. Harry managed to stammer, “Yes!” as he had been smitten and it was love at first sight. They went to lunch at the King Cole restaurant. Three months later Harry asked Lelah to marry him, she said “yes”, he slipped an engagement ring on her finger and on December 26, 1946, they were married. Harry and Lelah enjoyed forty-two years of marriage. Lelah is hoping there are no revolving doors in heaven when she tries to meet Harry again!
Herman & Evelyn
Brandon Woods - Lawrence, KS
It all started out on what's called a blind date,
But it's more than that; I call it "fate."
I think we agree it wasn't love at first sight,
But whatever it was really felt right.
We met at her sorority in the basement rec room,
I fumbled my name, probably sealing my doom.
She was really a beauty, black long hair ... Ah! What a smile,
I quickly sketched her mentally - put her on file.
Most of this short evening turned out to be talk,
Remember the old saying, "you must creep before you walk."
I'd like to know her, oh, so much better,
Speak up! Ask her, she'll disappear if you let her.
The lodge on Saturday is sponsoring a dance, right?
If she only says "yes," I could hold her so tight.
Wait! There's a problem, my dancing's so bad,
Two left feet and the right one is dragging, so sad.
I could take some lessons -- in six days? You fool!
You must admit you'll just have to try playing it cool.
I ask her anyway and "a-ha' she said yes,
Should I tell her now or wait to confess?
Yes, the dance went nicely, she's such a fine girl,
We did lots of watching while others did whirl.
Needless to say things have worked out for us,
It's been over 67 years, don't bother to fuss.
It's our beautiful story, we both fully agree,
There's more in the future with Evelyn and me.
Marvin & Miriam
Morningside of Evans - Evans, GA
During WWII, Miriam volunteered for the Red Cross. She spent most of her time reading to soldiers that had returned from war. One day she stumbled upon a man who had been shot multiple times and was in a full body cast. She introduced herself and began reading to him. Each day he would ask for her to come see him. Miriam would hurry to get off work at Augusta Arsenal, throw on her white uniform and red high heels, and head to visit the mysterious man in the body cast. When he healed from his wounds, he asked Miriam out on a date. Three months later, she and Marvin were married
They moved back to Lincolnton, GA where they lived happily for 53 years. Miriam and her husband moved to Morningside of Evans on July 7, 2007. In September 2010, sadly, Marvin passed away. Miriam still remembers every detail of how they met and their life together. He always said, “He will never forget those red high heels.” She says, “I’ll never forget the sound of his cowboy boots coming down the hall.”
Morrie & Bernice
The Montebello - Albuquerque, NM
What does "unproposal" mean to you? It means what it says… not a proposal. I had to make up my own word to tell you my story. I was a widow for about five years and was dating my present husband (Morrie) for about a year, and I wanted a proposal! I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I lived in Chicago along Lake Michigan. I went and bought a yellow two piece bathing suit. I bulged out in all the right places. When I looked in the mirror I saw this magnificent image; I thought to myself: "Marilyn Monroe, move over!" Morrie was quiet and reserved. He had been divorced about a year when I first met him. Strangely, in the entire year, he never mentioned the word “marriage.”
It was summer. The beaches at our beautiful lake are lit up at night. They are shiny, clean, and there aren’t too many people around. The perfect spot for our date. Morrie picked me up and we were off to the lake. I was ready to go, my ammunition was in place. When we arrived I spread the blanket and sat down - no, I posed. I was unreal in all my glory. I didn't think any man could resist me. Morrie sat down next to me, I was ready and waiting. “I’m never going to get married again!” That’s what came out of his mouth! I screamed "TAKE ME HOME!!" I told him never to call me again and I wouldn't call him! Then I cried and cried.
I was home for about an hour when the phone rang. It was Morrie saying the words I was waiting for: “Will you marry me?” We’ve been happily married for 48 years.
Raymond & Ilse
Shipley Manor - Wilmington, DE
1945 Meesbach, Germany. A young handsome Sergeant Major of the 61st Field Artillery Brigade met his first true love at an enlisted men’s club. Ilse, a beautiful young German woman and war widow with a child, was there as an invited guest. The two connected and courted for a year before it was time for Raymond to return to the states. Raymond knew Ilse was who he wanted to share his life with. He asked her to return to the states with him…she said no.
“Go home and if you really want me in a year, send for me.” Raymond returned home and started work for a manufacturing company, always keeping Ilse close to his heart. They corresponded frequently. In a year they both applied to immigration and naturalization for Ilse to come to the US. They were denied because Raymond didn’t make enough money to support a family. He assumed he would never see Ilse again.
They went their separate ways finding new loves: he with Helen Jefferson and Ilse with Wilhelm Schwering. They both had wonderful long marriages. Upon Wilhelm’s passing, Ilse told her children she would never marry again. Raymond’s wife was stricken with MS and when she knew she would not have long to live she told Raymond to remarry after a year, and for him to marry his first true love Ilse.
Raymond wrote a letter to Ilse about their history and his feelings. In 1997 he flew to Germany to present the letter to her. Ilse was in a state of shock as she was not expecting a marriage proposal. She first said no…then maybe…then yes. It was something he had prayed for. On November 29th, 1997 Raymond married his first true love.
Paul & Rozella
Rosewalk Commons Senior Living - Lafayette, IN
Paul and Rozella basically grew up together. The two of them met after seventh grade, and Paul became a frequent guest of Rozella’s home shortly after. The high school sweethearts continued their romance throughout the years following school. The Christmas prior to Paul being drafted, he presented Rozella with a diamond ring. A courtship separated by oceans and continents can be particularly stressful, but when Paul returned on leave, he promised Rozella he would be back for her and for her not to worry.
Well, as the story played out, Paul did return, but with shocking news. While overseas, he had married an Italian girl. Rozella was devastated, but that was not the end for this pair. The years melted one to the next, and each of them married and had children of their own. Rozella says she thought of Paul often, and she heard that he was living in Florida. But that was about the extent of their information on one another. They hadn’t spoken in years. Through the course of time, both Rozella and Paul lost their spouses and were living alone.
Fast-forward to 2008 in the halls of Rosewalk Commons. One evening Rozella heard a familiar voice in the hallway that perked her ears. When she went to investigate, she discovered Paul was also living in the community’s Assisted Living. The two reconnected after so many years and fell into step with their teenage selves. Rozella had kept the ring Paul presented her many, many Christmases ago, and soon, she began wearing it again. Some may call their circumstances destiny, some may call it luck, but no matter how they reconnected, it can be certain theirs was a love that stood the test of time.
Roy & Helen
Morningview at Irving Park - Greensboro, NC
Roy was seven and Helen six when they first met. They lived across the street from each other and played together every day. Friendship became love. They were sweethearts from grammar through high school. In high school, Roy drove the school bus and always saved Helen the seat behind his. Roy made Helen feel very special. On date night, Roy would take Helen skating or they would go to town, sometimes walking over a mile to catch the bus to go to the movies. Helen was eighteen when Roy finally proposed on Valentine’s Day 1940. He simply said “Helen I think it’s time we get married” and Helen said, “Yes, I agree”.
Roy sold his car to buy his suit for the wedding, and Helen wore a navy blue dress with a white collar. They were married in Greensboro NC on May 25, 1941. Back then, no one could afford a camera to take pictures nor did they have a wedding cake. Roy’s coworkers at the Central Fire Station gave up vacation days so that Roy could have a honeymoon with his bride. Roy had the calling to become a Minister and became a Navy Chaplain. He became the Pastor of Rankin Baptist Church and Helen the First Lady, serving the community for four years. Later, Roy wanted to become a missionary, and they served as missionaries in Japan.
Roy and Helen have shared a wonderful life together. They have two children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. At age 90 Roy says the secret to a great marriage is to continue to court your wife and tell her you love her every day. On May 25, 2012 Chaplain Roy and Helen will celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary, still madly in love with one another.
Victor & Lucille
Forest Creek Commons Senior Living - Indianapolis, IN
Once upon a time, Lucille met Victor or did Victor meet Lucille? After Lucille’s husband passed and Victor divorced, they were both lonely, so they decided to take up traveling. They joined a travel group and one day found themselves standing in line next to each other ready to board a plane to Hawaii.
Now, how did they end up in line beside each other? Their last names were the same – Peterson. They struck up a conversation immediately. Not only were their last names the same, they even had children with the same first name. They each had a Sue Peterson and a John Peterson.
As they got more acquainted and began dating, they discovered they wanted to travel. To travel together, they decided they needed to get married. In 1969 they tied the knot and began to see the world – many times over. Lucille is 97 and Victor is 94. They’ve been married 43 years. They moved to Forest Creek Commons in the fall of 2010 and love being here.
They are the cutest couple and both are very hard of hearing. As they were leaving my office I heard Victor say to Lucille, who was a few steps ahead on her walker, “what, you want me to chase you” and she replied “why that’s how you got me in the first place”!