‘After 60 years apart, I married my first love aged 82’

Married 60 years later

by take-a-break |
Updated on

I was engaged to be married but my groom certainly took his time getting down the aisle. By Priscilla Matheny, 83

Broke heart then married 60 years later

Across the church hall, a handsome stranger caught my eye.

He came over and said: ‘Hello, I’m Ed.’

Then he flashed me a big grin.

I thought: There’s something about that smile that makes me feel safe.

And so when he asked me out, I said yes.

It was 1959 and I was 19 and Ed was 21.

We were each other’s first love and in time Ed popped the question.

I accepted straightaway.

Even when he went to university, a five-hour drive away, we vowed to make our engagement work long distance.

We kept in touch by letter and, when he couldn’t come to see me, I got on the bus and travelled to see him.

I can’t wait to start our lives together, Ed wrote to me.

Knowing we would marry when he returned was what kept me going.

'How could he do this?'

But one day everything changed.

One morning, the post landed on the doormat, and I rifled through it for Ed’s handwritten envelope. Spotting it, I rushed upstairs to read his letter.

But as I took in his words, my eyes misted with tears.

He’d written: I don’t think we should get married.

There was a brief apology and a vague explanation but the truth couldn’t have been clearer.

He was calling off the engagement.

I sat on the edge of my bed and tears poured down my face.

Everything I’d imagined with Ed — our marriage, a home, children — was gone, just like that.

Months passed and I kept thinking: How could he do this?

But gradually my tears dried, and that summer I met Wally.

Broke heart then married 60 years later

He was kind and sweet and I told myself: He’s been sent to me to mend my broken heart.

Four months later, we were married.

I went on to have everything I’d hoped for — a loving husband, a lovely home and four beautiful children.

Any thoughts I’d had of Ed melted away, and I never once bumped into him.

After 23 years happy years, Wally passed away.

I was heartbroken but, in time, I got used to being alone.

I became a grandma, and I had my friends, my home, work and church to keep me busy.

Then one day, 37 years after Wally passed, I logged on to Facebook and saw I had a friend request.

'I hardly know you!'

When I clicked on it, I gasped.

I thought: What on earth? Is this for real?

It was from someone called Ed Sneckenberger.

I was now 82 and I hadn’t thought of Ed in over 60 years.

I don’t want to be his friend, I thought, deleting the request. Not after the way he treated me!

But Ed was persistent, sending messages, and even calling the church to get in touch.

He didn’t give up and eventually I found myself arranging to meet him for coffee.

‘Just so I can tell him to leave me alone!’ I told my friend.

I didn’t feel nervous. I was just curious to know why he’d dumped me all those years earlier.

But as soon as I arrived at the coffee shop and saw Ed sitting there, all that went out the window.

Staring up at me wasn’t the young lad who broke my heart, but an 84-year-old man.

But he still had that lovely smile.

broke heart then married 60 years later

‘Hello, there,’ he said.

‘So,’ I replied, ‘what you been up to for the last 60 years?’

Ed explained that he’d been married too, and was recently widowed after the death of his wife Scottie.

They’d had three girls and, as he spoke about them, his eyes glowed with pride.

But eventually he talked about how we broke up

‘I wanted to say sorry,’ he said, stirring his coffee, then looking up at me.

He explained that the long distance and the financial pressure of supporting himself while studying, had been difficult.

‘I thought you deserved better than to wait around for someone who might not be able to give you what you wanted,’ he said.

The afternoon flew by and as we got up to leave, Ed asked: ‘Can I call you?’

‘Yes,’ I said.

He rang that evening and, next day after church, he came over to my place to chat.

We spent the afternoon reminiscing.

And I felt that old flame of affection reignite.

Ed must have done too because when I finally walked him to his car, he took my hands and asked: ‘Will you marry me?’

‘Of course not!’ I said. ‘I hardly know you!’

But Ed visited me almost every weekend, meeting my friends and family and one day, as we were in church, he turned to me and said: ‘Let’s pick out a ring today.’

I couldn’t deny what I felt.

‘OK,’ I replied. ‘Let’s do it!’

Just two months after we reunited, we got married. The ceremony took place in the same church where we’d met all those years earlier.

Now, a year on, I feel so lucky my first love found me again.

To those still looking for love, I say: Don’t give up.

It really is never too late!

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