Old Man Who Hasn’t Seen His School Sweetheart for 55 Years Takes Her from Nursing Home – Story of the Day
An elderly man walks into a retirement home to claim his high school sweetheart he hasn't seen in fifty-five years and to finally ask her to be his wife.
Decades later, Ted Jennings would look back on that evening as the most perfect moment of his life. At seventeen, it seemed that everything he'd ever dreamed of was within his reach.
He was watching his favorite movie ('Some Like It Hot') with his favorite girl, (Lucy Perkins), and sipping banana milkshakes while snacking on popcorn. He put his arm around Lucy's shoulder and gave her a squeeze while on the screen, Marylin Monroe pouted at Tony Curtis.
"You're way prettier than Marylin, Lucy," he said.
Lucy never imagined her life would be turned upside down at the age of 72. | Source: Unsplash
Lucy giggled and swatted at his hand. "You're just trying to steal the popcorn, Ted Jennings!" she cried. "Prettier than Marylin!"
"Well, you ARE!" Ted said seriously. "I wouldn't ask Marylin to marry me, but I'm asking you!" Ted reached into his pocket and pulled out a pretty old-fashioned ring. "My grandma Esther gave this to me. She said it was for my future wife.
Sometimes God saves the best for last.
"I guess that's you -- if you'll have me?"
Lucy was smiling and blushing, laughing and crying at the same time; and Ted was trying to get the ring on her finger all sticky with butter from the popcorn when his mother walked in.
Ted and Lucy were in love. | Source: Unsplash
“What's going on here?" she cried. "What are you doing with my mother's ring Theodore?"
Ted blushed. Just a moment before he'd felt like a grown man, a man sure of himself and what he wanted. Now he was a little boy again, stammering out an explanation. "Grandma Esther gave it to me, it's mine..."
"Not to give it to some little chit from the wrong side of the tracks!" Mrs. Jennings screamed. "Give it to me!" Lucy was in tears and she was struggling to get the ring off her finger under Mrs.Jennings' blazing eyes.
She finally pulled it off and pushed it into the woman's hands. "Now get out!" Mrs. Jennings screamed at her. "And don't you EVER come back!"
Ted watched Lucy leave, her pretty face distorted by tears, and he said nothing. He stood as if nailed to the ground as his mother ran off the girl he knew was the love of his life.
They were watching old movies and sharing milkshakes. | Source: Unsplash
It would be decades before Ted forgave himself for that moment of cowardice, and all the others that quickly followed. Within hours, Ted's parents had shipped him off to Boston where he was to start college.
Ted dumbly obeyed his parents as he had been taught to do all his life, and he never saw Lucy again. When he returned, he learned that Lucy had moved to Canada with her parents, but she'd left a letter with a mutual friend.
"My dearest Ted," she'd written. "I've been waiting and hoping for a word from you. I love you, and I know you love me. I know in my heart we will never love anyone else the way we love each other.
"Here is my address, Ted. If you love me, if you believe in us, you will come to me, It only remains for you to decide if you will obey your parents or follow your heart. Loving you always, Lucy."
"Now get out!" Mrs. Jennings screamed at Lucy. "And don't you EVER come back!" | Source: Unsplash
Ted had crushed the letter in his hand. He never did write to Lucy or take a train north to the small Canadian town to which Lucy had moved because even if he loved like a man, he was only a frightened boy.
Lucy waited for a while, and then she married a good, kind man. She grew to love him, and they had a wonderful life together and three lovely children.
If she sometimes wakened with tears on her cheeks, she never spoke of it. If she turned away when an old Marylin Monroe movie played on late-night TV, she never explained why. She was happy, in her quiet way, and the years went by. Her children moved away, her husband died, and Lucy was alone.
After a bad fall that left her with a broken hip, Lucy was 72 when she moved into a nursing home. "This isn't how I thought my life would work out!" she said to herself. "What happened to me?"
Lucy sent Ted a letter with her address in Canada. | Source: Unsplash
But Lucy was mistaken if she thought life had no more surprises in store for her. One afternoon, a tall, distinguished-looking man walked up to her with a big smile and a bunch of tulips in his hand.
"Excuse me, Miss..." he said. "I was wondering if you still enjoy banana milkshakes, popcorn, and old movies?"
Lucy looked up at him in surprise. "I don't understand!" she said. "Who are you and what do you want?"
The man suddenly dropped to his knees in front of Lucy's wheelchair and took her hand. "Lucy, it's me, Ted. I've been looking for you. You were right. I never did love anyone the way I loved you. I never married. All I've thought about these last 55 years was you."
"Let's spend our last days together, give me one last chance to make you happy!" | Source: Unsplash
"Ted?" gasped Lucy. "I can't believe it... I... I married. I have children and grandchildren, I loved my husband, Ted, he was a wonderful man, but you were the love of my life. I only wish you'd been braver..."
Ted looked ashamed. "I've regretted it so many times, Lucy. But... I was 17, now I'm 72 -- I'm a different, wiser man. But maybe it's not too late for us." Ted took out his grandmother's ring. "Please marry me, Lucy. Let's spend our last days together, give me one last chance to make you happy!"
Lucy looked at Ted and smiled. "You know, Ted," she said softly. "Sometimes God saves the best for last!"
What can we learn from this story?
- Parents should never try to rule their children's destiny. Ted's family tore him from Lucy and he was unhappy all his life until he found her again.
- It's never too late to love again. In their autumn years, Lucy and Ted found love again and the happiness they had been denied.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who deceives his grandmother and tricks her into an old age home so he can sell her house. But he is in for a surprise and a terrible disappointment.
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