Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mating like we're 80

This past Sunday's New York Times wedding was between an 83 and 84-year-old man and woman, respectively.
The newlyweds - Beth Ashley and Rowland Fellows (which is the best old man name ever) met when they were 12 and 13 on the island off Maine where both their families summered. “I thought he was very, very cute,” the bride said. “I kept wishing he would kiss me and become my boyfriend. It was a little girl crush, but it was very serious on my part.”

“I guess I just wasn’t a very romantic young man,” the groom responded. “But Beth was sort of a tomboy, and I looked at her as more of a buddy.”

And so 70 years went by... He got married and eventually became a widower. She got married and became divorced, twice. They each had kids and lives - across the country from each other.

At one point the Ashley, a writer, wrote an article about her childhood love - that boy from her Summers in Maine. At some point much later, Fellows found and read it. And for whatever reasons - decided to get back in touch. Again, 70 years later...

They re-connected and settled back into old times immediately - so much so that Fellows suggested they take a trip together.

“She didn’t want to at first,” he said. “I promised we would have separate rooms. I guaranteed twin beds.”

And then Ashley responded with the line that made me spit out my Dunkin Donuts medium cinnamon coffee and immediately call Carly.

“I didn’t think I could travel with him because he is a Republican,” Ms. Ashley said. “I said I thought I might kill him. Then he suggested we go to Maine, and that was irresistible.”

God bless this woman...

Several trips later -in their Shanghai hotel room, because they went to Shanghai at 83 and 84, Fellows proposed.

“It felt completely natural,” Ashley said of the new engagement. “I felt as if I had come home. I had found the person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”

Fellows capped it off - “Beth and I have been like two bookends, with almost 70 years of empty space between us. There’s a lot to catch up on, but we better do it quickly. We can always relax a little more toward the end.”

He reportedly intends to live to be 100, so that's around 15 years of blissful lifetime together.
This is a precious story. A precious, unbelievable story that makes you want to live to be 100 and never forget all the summer loves from your past. It's also a love story - of course - but one between two people who thought they'd already had all the love stories that were in their cards. Is this one - their last one their greatest? Does it negate all the other ones? And if their 80-year-old minds filled with decades of life lessons had been what drove their 20-year-old selves - would they have gotten married originally?

That's the interesting question, right? If who we are and what we know about life and love and partners in both at the end of our lives could somehow be channeled when we're searching for our first love story help ensure that it's our only? Who would we pick if we were picking at the end of our lives? Would they, and should they be the same?


  1. Very cute story. I don't know if my first "summer love" would be an apropriate person for me now because the attraction was all looks. My 15 year old taste in boys is definitely not my 25 year old taste in men.

  2. My ex was (is) a Republican. I did love him, but at this point in my life I feel - maybe wrongly - that I shouldn't be with someone who holds some beliefs that literally make me feel uncomfortable.

    Maybe when I'm 80 - or 25, or 30, or 40 - I won't care about that stuff as much, and I won't feel the same way. But to answer your question, I think all we can do is live in the now, and make the choices that feel the most right in our *current hearts.

  3. Wow. What a story. Me being a pessimist when it comes to love, I think this just gave me a little hope. Thanks for sharing!