What do you get when you add an Elvis-loving sailor who spun records at the U.S. Navy radio station on his base, and a local woman whose brother worked at that base, who used to listen to him so many years ago? Well, sometimes, more than fifty years later, you get a renewed — and absolutely adorable — romance. Let us explain.
More than a half century after her brother first introduced the two, on the Caribbean island where the two young men were stationed, Jennifer Meyerink and Stephen Walbert have tied the knot. The couple exchanged vows this week at the hospital in Rochester where Walbert has been undergoing treatment for leukemia.
When Walbert was a young man on the island, he said, he would dedicate songs to Jenny. Upon his discharge from the service, he gave her his dog tags and promised that one day he would return. But fate didn’t agree with that plan.
“It was teenage love,” he said. “Puppy love. It was that kind of love. It was a flame that started. A flame that I hope a lot of you young people experience. I call it the eternal flame of true love.”
They went on to live separate lives. Meyerink’s family moved to Oakville, Ontario and she became a nurse. Both married, and their spouses have since died.
“Fate opened the door after all those years,” he said.
After Meyerink’s husband died, her sister found Walbert on Facebook. She set it up for her to email Walbert, who was retired and living in Wisconsin.
They reunited in 2015.
“She was at the top of the stairs looking down at me and I was at the bottom of the stairs looking up at her. I was nervous, oh, God, I was so nervous. I just walked up and my legs were shaking. As soon as I saw her, I knew that flame was still burning. I knew I had to have her back.”
All together now: a heartfelt “Awwwwww!”.
Source: Associated Press/Democratic Chronicle
Photo: (Photo: JAMIE GERMANO, @jgermano1/Staff Photographer)