Just imagine… a love story beyond imagination, one that depicts the meaning of true second chances. With all the uncertainty with Covid 19 wreaking havoc on the wedding industry and turning planning of weddings into a literal nightmare, a feel- good love story is just what we all need.
I was beyond honored to assist this couple with their wedding plans. So here goes the story….
The Story Begins…
Stepping back to the early 60’s when our bride and groom were in their teens, Lorena was three years younger than George. Imagine small town America, smack in the middle of the Midwest, where George worked at the corner gas station and Lorena at her family’s café on the opposite corner. Thus they inevitably met and the conversation generated with regards to her name as it was not common but was the birth name of George’s mother. They became friends as George would often grab a burger or malt on his lunches. Being it was the 60’s and things so much different than today, none the less, George spent a lot of time and money at the café in her company as Lorena was not yet allowed to date.
In the winter of 1961, George gifted Lorena a delicate silver heart necklace for her 16th birthday. She had always treasured it and kept it til this day. Consequently, they began dating and he escorted her to their high school prom. Upon graduation, George left for school in Louisville and they stayed in touched by phone and through letters. Nevertheless, George decided to leave the cold weather and pursue a job in California. As a result of the long distance keeping them apart they were forced to move on and begin their own lives. Subsequently resulting in both having married, had children and grandchildren with years spanning without contact.
Chance or Fate
In 1970, George’s mother was teaching at the small town’s grade school and was one of Lorena’s daughter’s teachers. Lorena and Lorraine ( his mother had changed her name), became friendly. Subsequently in the late 90’s Lorena had lost touch with Lorraine but in all those years they had been in touch, neither had spoke of George.
In 2007, Lorena and Lorraine bumped into each other while each visiting a friend in a health care facility. As a result of Lorena retiring from her job and moving back to her hometown again, her and Lorraine rekindled their friendship. Previously to Lorraine’s passing away in 2012 she and Lorena also had many times to share photo albums and stories about their families. Was it chance or fate?
The Love Reconnect
Inevitably George learned about Lorena’s friendship with his Mother. They saw each other one time when he visited his family back in Illinois and again at the funerals of his parents. In 2013 and 2015, as a result of each losing their loved ones, they reached out again and sent condolences to the other. In addition to this came the occasional face book message and holiday card. Along with ,in 2017, friendly emails started to be exchanged. Ultimately George was preparing for a summer visit to see family and Lorena had agreed to meet him for lunch. Consequently the lunch date turned into long walks, sitting on park benches, and enjoying Italian food. In addition they were able to share their life experiences and stories during this time including many hours of reminiscing. Without a doubt something was rekindling between these two high school sweethearts.
Months passed and they had both admitted they felt something special during the time they spent together. Nevertheless, neither felt comfortable at that time to admit it. Maybe it was fear that the past should stay the past or that too much time had gone by. Hence that summer they surmised it as two people meeting as friends and parting as closer friends. Apart from this they remained in touch through emails and phone calls. But both had begun to realize that their feelings were more than a rekindled friendship.
Lorena had thought about a surprise visit to California and the gathering to celebrate George’s birthday seemed perfect. After some consideration she mentioned it to George and he was happy she would come. After walking into his world, what they felt was impossible started to become possible. Clearly they soon began to realize that this could be a true second chance for them. The new love story was unfolding.
George asked Lorena to come to California in December of 2017 to celebrate her birthday with him. As well as he suggesting they fly back to Illinois together for the holidays and meet her family. After some time with pre holiday celebrations, and George fitting into her world, it was Christmas. Seated around the tree, after opening gifts, George asked to say a few words. He stood and faced her children and grandchildren and spoke..
“If this was 50 years ago, I would be standing in front of her parents. At this time, you are the most important people in her life so I am asking your permission and blessing to marry your mom and grandma. Due to Lorena’s surprise she couldn’t speak as all awaited her reply. In addition to this, at this time I should present a ring but picking the right one has been overwhelming. Hence, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his high school class ring stating, “Without a doubt, I should have given this to you 50 years ago. Furthermore, if you don’t find it too quirky, would you wear this until we can chose a ring for you? Can we go steady for the rest of our lives as Mr and Mrs. Johnson?”
The Wedding Story
Finally they were married in July in a small and intimate celebration in the hometown where they met. Lorena wore her dainty heart and class ring that George had given her. I could not have been happier or more elated to be there to share in the magic of the greatest love story of all time. Without a doubt this celebration meant more to me than any other wedding I have ever been a part of, you see Lorena is my mom!!! No one deserves this second chance at life and love more than my mom!
Photography by http://www.laurenmaggi.com