We met in my senior year at Oakland High School in 1959. We were inseparable. We fell in love. I asked her to marry me after my graduation and presented her with rings to prove it.
Now enter the parents. They disapproved and sent Barbara to live with her Father in Bakersfield, California. The year was 1961. In those days, you didn't answer your parent's phone or pick up your parent's mail. That was just not done. I wrote almost every day for months. She tried to call for months. The parents intercepted both. We never saw each other again until 1998.
During those intervening years, Barbara met and married a man. She has two children, a boy and a girl. She has three grand children, all boys. The marriage lasted 35 years and ended in divorce.
Now to the other half, I also married and divorced (more than once).
During your life time, have you ever felt something was missing? I did. In good times or bad times, I would reflect back and wonder where Barbara was, what she was doing, was she happy. I tried to locate her several times over the years, but no luck. I talked to private detectives, but years ago they were very expensive. More than I could afford.
In September of 1997, I had a bleeding ulcer that almost took my life. It was a stupid thing. I had taken some medication on an empty stomach and it caused the bleeding ulcer. I lost 6 1/2 pints of blood in a couple of hours. It took the Doctors most of the night to get it to stop. Then and there, I decided I had missed something for too long and needed to get some answers. I started looking for Barbara. I missed her. I had to find out if she was alright. I started searching the Web with no luck. I found out after over two months of looking, that if you want to find someone that you knew more than five years ago, that it was impossible. I found a detective on the Web. He had a great Web Page. He was local. We missed each other several times and finally made contact in February of 1998. He referred me to a company in Lake Oswego, Oregon. I spoke to the gentleman on a Friday and gave him all the particulars I knew about Barbara. He called me the following Monday and said, "I found her and talked to her, here is her phone number. She is waiting for your call". Well, it was Tuesday before I got up enough nerve to call her. The first call on Tuesday morning was terrible. I was so tongue tied that I hung up and waited a while before I called her back. The second call was better. We talked for quite a while. We shared the past and contemplated the future. We agreed to meet in Reno in April. I flew down and back the same day. It was scarey. It was wonderful.
We talked a lot on the phone over the next couple of months. She made a trip up here and stayed a week. It was like we had never been separated. Holding her was like heaven on earth. Good things do come to those that wait.
We were married on December 19, 1999, a little over 40 years after we met. A very long engagement. She still had the rings I gave her 40 years ago. I offered her a new set, but she said it had taken 40 years to wear the wedding band, so 'No'. We both wished it had not taken so long, but who knows how it would have turned out back then.
The world is a wonderful place, especially when someone loves you as deeply as we love each other.
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