Thursday, 15 May 2014

Love Story


The old gentleman leaned across the table, pushing his dinner plate away. “May I tell you a story?",  he asked.   The conversation had gone from illnesses of old age via holidays past and present to the food in front of us and life in general. Nothing very interesting, just the usual lunch party chat between people who know each other without being close friends.

“Please do”, I said. Anything to keep the conversation going.  Mr. Walker is twice a widower, his second wife, Wendy, having died six years ago. “I miss her terribly, she was wonderful company”, he said.
He has also suffered a stroke and his mobility is impaired;  he doesn’t get about much and is very happy to have an audience.

“Let me tell you a romantic story,” he repeated.

"We hadn’t met for 54 years,” he began. "She had written an article for the Chronicle (a local paper), reminiscing about her school days in Valley’s End. It was an interesting letter, giving her address at the top. So, one morning I was sat there and I read this letter and remembered her, because we went to school together. From infant school to grammar school, and we also used to go to dances together, you know in the thirties and forties, and we went to choir together and did all sorts of things together when we were young. So I wrote to her and wondered whether I might get an answer or not. But I did. So we corresponded for quite some time.

At the time I was still getting the curtains and things for the new house (Mr. W. moved house after his first wife died) and I was going to Birmingham to collect a large parcel of home furnishings. She was living about six miles outside B’ham and I wrote and asked if I might come for coffee on the way. She said of course. So I arrived with the obligatory bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates and when she opened the door she thought that I was my father. She hadn’t seen me for 54 years!

So that started our association; we were getting on very well. She was a widow on her own and I used to fetch her over to meet her sister.

One day I said to her “ will you pack your bag ready for Tuesday morning? Put enough in your case for four days". She said “Why” and I said “I am taking you on a little holiday”.  She wanted to know where but I said that was a surprise and she would find out soon enough. But do bring your passport." I drove to B’ham airport. She asked again where was I taking her but I kept quiet.

So, we were flying in and the Eiffel Tower went past and that’s when she found out. “Paris, you are taking me to Paris.” She was delighted. We stayed at a nice hotel round the Tuileries and had a lovely time. There was an excursion to Monet’s Garden and we decided to take the opportunity to see it.

Picture Monet’s Garden", Mr. W. continued, with the pond and the bridge across it. It was a very hot day and we’d bought some apple juice. So when we were standing on the bridge I thought now is my opportunity and I put my arm round her and gave her a nice kiss and I said “Wendy, will you marry me?” She said yes, so I gave her another kiss and she said “sticky chops” and I’ll always remember it.

Mr. W’s voice cracked a little but he smiled. “Yes, it was lovely,” he said,”we had such a good time.”

Their time together was short, but Mr. Walker took his Wendy on many more trips and they enjoyed every minute of the few years they were granted.







57 comments:

  1. This is just beautiful, Friko, the story and your exquisite telling of it ...and a gorgeous photo. Flowers still seem a long way off here ...

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  2. Very sweet and romantic.

    FlowerLady

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  3. I loved hearing Mr Walker's story, Friko. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  4. Such a blessed romance. Guess it shows that to some extent you make your own romantic adventures.

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  5. sticky chops...ha. i love it...
    i love a good romantic story....that was cool...smiles.

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  6. Happy story, Friko! Maybe every old lonely person dreams to live similar love story in the few last years. Thank you for sharing!

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  7. This is wonderful
    and made my afternoon.
    Wonder if in these last years of mine
    there might be someone like this :)

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  8. How lucky for them both that he decided to write that letter and what a kind, generous man he sounds.

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  9. A poignant story. And if we knew how many years we were granted with a loved one not a moment would we get bogged down in the unimportant.
    What a lovely gentleman Mr Walker seems.

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  10. Ah. "Picture Monet's Garden". What could be more romantic? Thank you for telling us this story.

    Love,
    Janie

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  11. What a beautiful and amazing love story! Doesn't life write the most wonderful stories, we just need to listen to it? Thank you so much for sharing this story. It put a huge smile on my face after a long day at work :)

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  12. Friko, I love to read the stories you collect from people. I'm one of those that looks at others as they pass by and wonders what events have shaped them. That may be why I like airports so much. Anyway, this story is sweet, to be sure… but bittersweet, it seems. Too tinged with nostalgia. I feel for him, having lost both wives, and now the ravages of time and illness leave him nothing but lunch party chats and small talk where he is grateful to have an audience. How very sad… It makes me wonder which of us, my husband and I, will be around to whisper longingly of the age-old tale of courtship, marriage, family, and loss? I wonder if I can find a way to linger permanently in the misty rose-scented land of half-spoken memories forever...

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  13. I too love collecting stories, Friko as you know. This is beautiful. What a lovely true romantic he is!

    XO
    WWW

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  14. I love this story, even though I tell people that I am no longer a romantic. I still and always will believe in the power of love.

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  15. Great story. I only wish more people could have experiences like this.

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  16. Friko, I do hope that there really is a Mr Walker, and perhaps a few other equally romantic, optimistic older men. Gives me hope!

    Yes, I do still promise you an email. Promise. xo

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  17. What a wonderful romantic story. I do hope that their union, even if brief, was as good for one as for the other. It seems so. Thank you so much for sharing it. :-)

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  18. A bittersweet remembrance. Telling the story helped him remember happiness.

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  19. I'm sure that Mr. Walker loved telling you his sweet story. Romance can be a part of life at any age.

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  20. This wonderful story fills me with optimism. . . . Thank You



    ALOHA from Honolulu
    ComfortSpiral

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  21. Hi Friko - what a beautiful telling of a very romantic story and as Lorrie says ... Mr W was loving being able to tell you about his fortunate meeting with Wendy after all those years .. and their happiness shared, albeit for a few years ... I can visualise your scene ... just very real ... delightful to read - cheers Hilary

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  22. Ahh, Friko, what a gift you have for telling a story. The simple way you tell this simple story, not in a romantic fashion, yet we all feel the romance. Love it.

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  23. I am glad for Wendy and Mr. Walker to have had those few happy years together. It is a very romantic story, and nice of Mr. W. to have told you.
    But I can't help wondering how she managed to get on the plane and nearly all the way to Paris before she knew where they were heading - it says all about your flight everywhere, from the airport gate to your boarding pass to the announcements on the plane itself. Maybe he lead her aboard the plane blindfolded and with earplugs ;-)

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  24. Such a sweet story. I'm glad they had that time together, no matter how short. He has lovely memories to look back on.

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  25. What a lovely way to begin my day - thank you Friko for sharing this story of romance. "Sticky Chops" - that is so cute and what a gentleman and romantic. Have a wonderful day :)

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  26. There's a man who has his priorities in order. Nice tale, Friko.

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  27. Isn't it wonderful when love seizes the day? You tell such a good story!

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  28. A lovely little story, one that lifts the heart. Reminds me of a BBC series my wife and I have been watching lately — "Last Tango in Halifax."

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  29. A lovely little story, one that lifts the heart. Reminds me of a BBC series my wife and I have been watching lately — "Last Tango in Halifax."

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  30. Wow Mr. Walker and Wendy's story is very moving. A story of true love. It's not the length of love that matters, it's the depth...

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  31. Reading this post was like watching a documentary--the very best of which involve an opening question and then the question-asker going quiet and just letting the interviewee talk. It's a gift, knowing how to listen.

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  32. Oh, I love this. Lives fully lived, well lived, well loved. He must be very lonely indeed, but what a gift to share such a special story.

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  33. A wonderful story. Did he end up marrying her? And is there a second part of this story?

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  34. I love these old stories. How fortunate you could provide an audience. One of the difficulties aswe age is losing those who listen

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  35. That's a very romantic love story !

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  36. That's a sweet story. But I don't understand how you could e on a plane and not know where you are going.

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  37. Nice story. Gives me an idea... maybe I should look up some old flames. Trouble is, I can't remember any.

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  38. Yes, that is truly a love story - pure and simple.

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  39. What a sweet story. And what a romantic place to propose. :)

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  40. What a sweet and tender story. A fine romance.. sticky chops and all. Thanks for sharing his lovely memories.

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  41. Mr. W sounds the ideal fellow guest . A charming story and no Daily Mail fuelled tirades .
    Country living really is much more civilised .

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  42. Beautiful story Friko - love is a wonderful thing.
    Anna :o]

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  43. how nice to know that love and companionship is possible no matter how old you are.

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  44. Lovely. Life gets simpler as we get on.

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  45. A touchingly sweet story, beautifully told. You are such a good listener, Friko.

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  46. This is such a touching story, and you tell it so beautifully. It's always so wonderful to hear of someone having another chance at love, and he is so romantic. Lucky Wendy.

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  47. A beautiful and touching story. I found you from Pondside's blog. So glad I did... Made me feel good to read this.

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  48. How lovely. Mr. Walker whisking is Wendy off to Paris ~ such a romantic soul he is ~ sticky chops, and all ;)

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  49. Here via Hilary and glad I did. Beautifully written!

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  50. Perfectly beautiful. Thank you!
    Congrats on the POTW from Hilary.

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  51. Oposite side of the coin to Cad and Ada! LOL

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  52. So very lovely. I could picture the whole story in my mind's eye. Thank you.
    Congrats on your POTW from Hilary. Well deserved.

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