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East Boothbay couple found love planning 50th reunion
In 1952, Al Sirois was the Salem (Massachusetts) High School football quarterback and Shirley Chouinard was head cheerleader, but their love match took almost 50 years to materialize.
The two grew up in Salem, a coastal community 16 miles north of Boston. They lived about 500 feet from each other. They were both Class of 1952 graduates. The two never dated or ran in the same social circles. The closest they ever got in high school was on fall Friday nights. Al was completing his third season as the starting quarterback and Shirley cheered on the sidelines.
Romance blossomed when they joined the Class of 1952 reunion organizing committee. The class began preparing in 2001 for their 50th reunion. As committee members, they corresponded daily for the next five months. At first, Al ended his message ‘Stay well.’ Next it was ‘Fondly,’ and after five months it was ‘Love, Al’.
When Al and Shirley joined the reunion committee, they were living on different coasts, Al in East Boothbay, Maine, and Shirley in Southern California. Both were widowers.
After five months of email correspondence, Al picked up the phone and asked Shirley to be his date at his 47th Massachusetts Maritime Academy college reunion. They had a marvelous time.
On the night of the college reunion, Al asked Shirley to marry him.
“He showed up in a suit and tie and I go ‘whoa’ I’ve found love,” she said.
As the couple spent more time together, they discovered more about each other. They both took ballroom dance lessons at Miss James Dance School in Salem. Al remembered dancing with a girl in a bright pink angora sweater. Shirley remembered wearing pink angora sweaters to dances.
Shirley returned to California with an engagement ring. The Sirois married after they attended their high school reunion the next year and have been happily married since.
From a story by Bill Pearson in the Boothbay Register, Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
A class union, reunion
The Bricelyn (Minnesota) High School Class of 1975 reunited, not in a typical reunion but for a special wedding.
Teresa and Morris Blom had known each other since kindergarten. Teresa moved 10 times in 30 years all around the US. She settled in Denver, Colorado.
Morris was farming in Bricelyn.
Their paths crossed at a classmate’s daughter’s wedding. A classmate took a picture of them dancing and thought it would be a good idea if they got together. But Teresa wasn’t sure and since she was living in Denver it wasn’t likely they would bump into each other. Then, their friends got involved.
Classmates and friends began giving not-so-gentle nudges and hints. In fact, the couple was nudged together again in Las Vegas for a class reunion. Then pushes from friends came more frequently.
On a drive to another reunion, they drove together and that was, when it ‘clicked.’ Morris visited Colorado before fall harvest, then Thanksgiving and even for New Year’s Eve. In February, they took a cruise and Morris proposed.
The couple joked they needed a gentle push but the nudge they got would have pushed the hinges right off the doors. And that nudge was from their classmates.
From a story by Lacey Sawatzky in the Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Just Like Yesterday by Karla Sullivan
It all started with Facebook. With little effort, a classmate from junior high 43 years ago found me.
"Remember me? " he asked. "I saved a letter you wrote to me when I was sick in 1967.
"Would you like to see it?"
Of course, I wanted to see the letter and he scanned it to me. I also learned that this same boy had a crush on me. I had no idea. The letter reflected excellent penmanship which had always been one of my concerns and I realized the meanings in my words represented the author well. The colorful traits of thought and emotion that are still an integral part of me existed in my letter.
We found others of the era and before long, a reunion was planned to celebrate the 7th grade class of 1967. We met at a local restaurant and the magic moments began.
It didn't matter if you had not seen recent photos of the class that had been missing in action. We recognized each other by a trademark smile or goofy laugh. It amazed me that one laugh heard that night could immediately transport you back in time to the playground or classroom setting you thought had disappeared. We stared at each other for the longest time triggering memories of the inexplicable bond we had created.
Early in the evening, I thought of my first secret love and wondered if he had been contacted. Sure enough, he walked in the door. The same intense feelings of endearment caused my palms to sweat and the heart to race. If I still knew how to blush, that was happening too.
We realized something that night. If we had once been kind to others or the studious type decades ago, we still were today. If we had been defined as the "class clown" back then, the label stuck. We exemplified the same qualities in whatever direction life had taken us. My classmates determined that I was" the writer" and though I have published books and poetry, I still didn't consider myself a real writer. Since that evening, I accepted that, in fact, I am.
About the author
Energetic, enthusiastic with an exceptional passion to guide others toward success, Karla Sullivan has been a speaker, teacher, director in career development and is the Chicago Career Coach Examiner. www.examiner.com/career-coach-in-chicago/karla-sullivan Karla has articles that have appeared in the University of Phoenix Focus Alumni Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Sacred Journey, AARP and has also published two books called "Imagine That" and "Caroline's Crescendo."
While we are all romantics to the core and love these stories with happy endings, we also realize that not all stories end as well. As a cautionary tale, we encourage you to read Karen Springen’s “Rekindled Romances, What your family needs to know about them” on Family Goes Strong. Her conclusion? “The bottom line: If you're single, rekindle away. If you're not, think twice (or thrice).