Many authors have written great books about love and have filled their pages with the most romantic tales. However, many of them are mere products of the writer’s imagination.
Despite being one of the best you’ll ever read, the following love story is no work of fiction – it’s as real as it gets.
Frederick Paul and Florence Harvey were high school sweethearts who met during the 1950s, nearly seven decades ago. But during 2020—after a lengthy separation and amid a pandemic—the two found each other once again and decided to never let go.
The pair met as teenagers in the small town of Wandsworth in Newfoundland, Canada. As youngsters who were completely in love, Fred and Florence spent as much time as they could together, taking strolls after church and attending concerts.
Fred, now 84, said Florence was his “first love.” But when he turned 18 and Florence turned 15, the two were separated.
Fred went to Toronto and ended up staying there for a year. When he came back home for a visit, he found that Florence had moved to St. John’s to take a teaching course for the summer school. The two never met again.
Fred eventually met his wife Helen in Ontario, while Florence met her husband Len in Newfoundland. They started their own families and lived happy, separate lives.
But in 2017, Len died of cancer. He and Florence enjoyed 57 blissful years of marriage and had five children together.
In 2019, Helen passed away after suffering from multiple health issues, including dementia. She and Fred were married for 60 years, and they had two children together.
When Florence learned of Helen’s passing, she called up Fred to offer her condolences and to tell him that “it does get a little easier.” Since she had lost Len three years prior, Florence thought she understood how Fred was likely feeling.
During that conversation, which happened the day after Valentine’s, the pair reminisced about growing up together and talked about their current lives, children, and grandchildren.
Suddenly, the two realized there was still something there, even after all those years.
“I never thought it would go past that,” Florence, now 81, told CNN. “But we went from talking once a week, to twice, to three times, to every day for hours. We had really reconnected even though we hadn’t seen each other in all those years. I knew this was it.”
After five months of regular phone conversations, Fred and Florence were reminded of why they enjoyed each other’s company so much.
Months later, in July, Florence surprised Fred by coming to Toronto on the night of his birthday, where they finally got to see each other again.
“When I found out she was in town and was coming to me, it was 10:30 at night. I ran out of bed and got dressed and wrote ‘Welcome Florence’ in chalk on the driveway and when she arrived, I walked to the car, gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and I held her hand and I knew right away that she had taken my heart,” Fred recalled of their reunion.
The two spent the following days courting and getting to know each other again. Days later, they were ready to get married.
Although their kids questioned their rash decision, it was crystal clear to Fred and Florence that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
On August 8, the couple exchanged vows in front of their family and close friends at Norval United Church in Georgetown, Ontario. The guest list was kept small due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” Florence told Fred during the intimate ceremony.
The pair is on cloud nine and enjoying their new life in Ontario.
“We do everything together,” Florence told CBC. “We just love being here together. He’s a very loving person, very caring. And I love every moment I spend with him.”
For Fred—who had an operation for stomach cancer—Florence was a reason for him to carry on and bravely fight the battle.
“I don’t know if I would have gone through the chemotherapy, trying to get better from cancer if I hadn’t had the incentive of a love in my life. I think she’s wonderful. Just wonderful. And I love her very much,” he said.
The newlyweds hope to return to Wandsworth—the place where they first fell in love—sometime in 2021 to enjoy some old memories and create new ones.
Indeed, theirs is a story that can trump all the great books about love that has ever been written!