Full Circle: What Happens When You Re-Connect with the First Love of Your Life?
This is a story in search of an ending.
It began 55 years ago on a snowy winter afternoon on a small college campus in Michigan when I “broke up” with the co-ed I had dated for two years.
She was reserved, poised. I watched with a touch of remorse as she drove away in the falling snow. She was the kindest and most generous person I had known in life — and my first love.
Our lives quickly grew apart. She transferred to the university, became an exceptional elementary school teacher, married a thoughtful man with prodigious yet understated qualities, raised two children, and retired “up north” in her home state of Michigan.
I pursued a career in publishing, following advancement opportunities in newspapers in Michigan, Texas, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. — the last 19 years with the Washington Post Company after transitioning over time from the newsroom to the executive suite.
Forty-six years passed and we remained out of touch, except for maybe a whisper here or there of each other’s existence, and I continued to connect with a small group of hometown friends that included her older brother who lived in the Chicago area.
One of my avocations was writing a column every other week for a group of suburban newspapers in Washington, D.C., owned by the Washington Post Company. These were columns that occasionally touched on personal experiences. One year I packaged up 52 of them and gifted them to friends and family at Christmastime.
The columns were passed along by the brother of my friend from those college years whose husband had died of cancer after a lengthy illness with Parkinson’s Disease.
She read the columns long into the night, finally coming to the last one entitled, The First Love of My Life. It was about a woman that I had dated for two years in my youth — that first love in life that so many of us experience — with words of appreciation for her and the man she had married.
Tears filled her eyes as she read the tribute to the man she had lost and recalled fondly those years of “first love” forty-six years ago. Once again she was faced with moving on with her life.
But, there is more to the story. Years later I retired and moved to New England where I published a weekly blog for friends…