From the Editor: Never Too Late for Love
Three tales of couples unexpectedly struck by Cupid in their later years
Yes, we plead guilty— unapologetically—to going all-out promoting the possibilities of romance and love in this issue. See “10 Best Romantic Outings” (p. 124), “In Hot Pursuit” (p. 48) and matchmaker Debra L’Heureux (p. 90). Here, I’d like to tell the heartwarming tales of three couples who found their bliss. This is not about young love. What gives resonance to their stories is that they were mostly in their 70s and 80s when struck by Cupid.
That’s the Ticket
Frank and Dottie Lee Corbin, in their mid- 80s, knew each other casually from bridge games at Cypress Cove retirement community in Fort Myers, where they were both living. He was from Cincinnati, a longtime purchasing manager for Procter & Gamble, and she, from Albion, N.Y., had taught counseling at Hofstra University in Long Island. Both had lost spouses while at Cypress Cove. And both innocently responded to ticket offers from two Northern Trust bank employees to join them for a performance of Cirque du Soleil at the Barbara B. Mann theater. “It wasn’t romantic,” Dottie Lee says. “After all, we were chaperoned.” Something was brewing, though, but Dottie Lee said it took Frank three weeks to call for a date. Then, at dinner at the Lighthouse Restaurant, she says, “I could see he was falling in love with me. He was—and is—drop-dead handsome and, as we talked, we felt as if we had known each other forever.” Within three months, Frank confesses, he was so enamored he “felt like a freight train roaring down the tracks out of control.”
They returned to their summer haunts—he to Wisconsin, she to Banner Elk, N.C.—but when Dottie Lee needed cataract surgery, Frank flew there to be with her. It drew them closer and they decided to have a commitment ceremony in a Methodist church there. The legal wedding came next, back here, and, appropriately enough, it was staged by those Northern Trust bank people in the bank with a notary public, champagne and all. “Your love made me whole again,” Dottie Lee told Frank. With a grin, he notes, “I walk on water in my spare time.” They’ve been married now for three and a half years.
The Bus and the Music
It all started for Dwight and Angela Richardson on Jan. 15, 1993, when the Naples Concert Band took a trip to Disney World in Orlando. Dwight, now 81, was a French horn player, and Angela, currently 71, played the clarinet, but they had never gotten to know each other very much. Both were married at the time. “On the way over,” Angela recalls, “I found him very attractive, tall and thin, but I wasn’t really looking at the time. At Disneyland, we shared some of the attractions together.” “On the way home,” Dwight says, “she tended to my bad cold and after that something seemed to be developing.” They bonded over their shared values, political beliefs and their music. It all seemed so fresh to them and they decided to disengage from their marriages. Dwight’s break was difficult, Angela’s amicable—so much so that her ex-husband was the best man at their wedding on May 13, 1994. They’ve lived a joyous life since and are currently excited about buying in as original owners at The Arlington of Naples retirement community, which should be ready for their occupancy in 2015. As testament to their bond, each wears a friendship ring with the inscription, as Angela describes it: “Does the song of the sea end at the shore or in the heart of those who listen to it?” It’s sure been about the power of songs for the Richardsons.
It Takes a Sister and a Friend
This was in 2012 and Sandy Stone, now 80, was listening to her sister Barbara talk about a concert she had attended at Vi at Bentley Village retirement community in Naples. Barbara had met a man, Dr. Max Kalm (with a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry), she thought might be of romantic interest for Sandy. So Sandy checked him out with Suzanne Scott, director of lifestyle at the Bentley. The signal was definitely a green light and Sandy asked Suzanne to tell Max she was nice. He, currently 85, needed little urging. They had lunch in December at O’mei in north Naples and went together to Bentley’s New Year’s Eve party. Within a month of knowing each other, Max says, they were certain they were destined to be with each other for life. And so it began, sharing their lives together at the Bentley and getting even more family-like when the couple took a cruise to Haiti and Jamaica in March with 25 of Sandy’s relatives to celebrate her 80th birthday. Max admits, “It was love at first sight and has grown since.” His friends, he says, tell him he looks younger and happier these days. Sandy says their bond grows stronger every day.
Inspiring, all. May their spirit and our stories in this issue induce joy for you in the days ahead.