High school sweethearts tie knot 70 years later, during pandemic

Frederick Paul and Florence Harvey were high school sweethearts, dating in the 1950s, but after a lifetime apart, the couple are back together and were recently married, CNN reported.

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Paul and Harvey had been dating when, in 1955, Paul’s father had asked him to travel from Wandsworth, Newfoundland, to Nova Scotia for his sister’s wedding. After the ceremony, he traveled to Toronto to visit his brother but ran out of money. He picked up work to be able to get home but was in Toronto for a year, the CBC reported.

She was his first love, CNN reported, but by the time he got back to Wandsworth, his teenage love, Harvey, was gone, moving to St. John’s for a teaching course. He went back to Toronto and the couple went their separate ways.

As life goes, Paul met a woman in Ontario, fell in love and got married.

Harvey met a man in Newfoundland and also fell in love and got married.

Both couples had children and grandchildren over the years, CNN reported.

Eventually, their spouses had died, so on Feb. 15, with some help from their brothers, the matchmaking began, the CBC reported.

“We both have brothers in a seniors’ home in Marystown, so while I was visiting my brother, his brother was there. He said, ‘I’m gonna give you Fred’s number,’” Harvey remembered.

Paul’s brother asked him, and Paul agreed that he could pass the number along but added, “She’ll never call me.”

But he was wrong. She did call.

“I was lonely. He was lonely, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just call him and offer my condolences, I guess,’ because he had lost his wife the fall before and to tell him that it does get a little easier,” Harvey told CBC.

They spent time remembering the old days, sharing their memories of their time together.

The calls continued over the months.

“We were on the phone three to four hours at a time, four times a week,” Paul said.

They met up when Harvey went to visit one of her sons as Paul has a son who lives 10 minutes away from her family.

But Harvey had a surprise for Paul during one of their scheduled calls; telling him that she was nearby.

It was 10 o’clock at night but the time didn’t stop Paul from hitting the door, anxious to see his former love, CBC reported.

Despite Harvey saying it was too late to meet, her son didn’t listen.

“A few minutes later, her son knocked on her bedroom door and said, ‘Mom, get your clothes on, we’re going over to see Fred,” Paul remembered.

He also showed his romantic side, wanting to use Newfoundland seashells to spell out “Welcome Florence.” Instead, he had to settle for chalk when he couldn’t find his shells.

When she arrived, Paul jumped into action.

“I went around the car and Florence was getting out of the back seat, and I gave her a kiss on the cheek and held her hand and walked towards my house,” Paul told the CBC. “I knew right away that she had taken my heart back again.”

Days later they were talking about getting married, CNN reported. Their kids weren’t too happy they were moving so fast, shopping for rings a week after seeing each other in person.

“We told our kids, you know, we’re 81 and we’re 84, and we don’t have all that much time and we know what we want. And so we pushed ahead,” Paul told the CBC.

During the ceremony, Harvey told her love, “You were the first young man to walk me home in my teens. I guess you’ll be the last man to walk me home,” CNN reported.

On Aug. 8, the two got married. And they’re living together through thick and thin as Paul had been diagnosed with cancer just before their face-to-face reunion. But she helped him get through chemotherapy, CBC reported.

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing, the couple have set up their household in Ontario, but they hope to return to their hometown to make new memories where it all started.

“My brother has built a cottage on the same foundation that my house was on in Wandsworth, and we would like to go back there and maybe spend a few nights in that cottage and live some memories,” Paul told the CBC.


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