More than six decades after they parted ways, two octogenarians who were high school sweethearts in Virginia recently tied the knot. In a sweet nod to their fateful reunion, the happy couple hosted their reception at a 1950s-inspired restaurant where they had their first date after rekindling their relationship.
In a love story that has since been likened to a “Hallmark movie,” Bob Harvey and Annette Adkins said “I do” on Oct. 19 in Westerville, Ohio – 63 years after they first “went steady” as juniors at Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge, Va.
“She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen in my life,” Harvey, 80, told the Newark Advocate of meeting his future wife during the eleventh grade. “I fell madly, totally and one-hundred percent in love with her. We had a wonderful junior year.”
“We went steady junior year, 1955-56,” Adkins, 80, said.
More than six decades after they parted ways, two octogenarians who were high school sweethearts in recently Virginia tied the knot
(Nutcracker Family Restaurant)
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That summer, she vacationed in Florida with her family – where she fell in love with a man named John Callahan, whom she ultimately married in 1961.
Heading back to school that fall, the young woman had to break the difficult news to her beau that she had fallen for another.
“Bob comes to me. I’m at my locker. He has his arms spread out for a hug, and I said, ‘Bob, I found someone else and I don’t want to date you anymore,’” Adkins remembered. “I regret the harshness [today,]’” she added.
“Nice guy I am, the Southern gentleman, I said, ‘alright,’” Harvey recalled, describing the rest of his senior year without his girlfriend as “very lonely.”
“She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen in my life,” Harvey, 80, said of meeting his future wife during the eleventh grade. “I fell madly, totally and one-hundred percent in love with her. We had a wonderful junior year.”
(Nutcracker Family Restaurant)
“Try to understand this one: I’m still madly in love…” he said.
After graduation, the two moved on. Adkins married Callahan, raised their children and studied nursing. Harvey fell in love with a woman named Diane, marrying her in 1959 and starting a family together. He enjoyed a career as a law enforcement officer, bailiff and teacher, the Advocate reported.
In recent years, both Adkins and Harvey lost their spouses. Adkins’ husband passed away in January 2015, while Harvey cared for his wife until she lost her battle with cancer in 2017.
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A few months ago, Harvey thought of his high school sweetheart, and Googled her. He said his “heart fell on the floor” when he found her husband’s obituary, and worried that she may have found a new partner during the four years since he had passed.
Coincidentally, Adkins had also been thinking of her old boyfriend, after discovering an undeveloped roll of camera film that featured photos of the two together at prom in the 1950s, according to the Advocate.
Making up for lost time, the two dated and decided to get married – a decision they say they have felt affirmed after praying for their spouses’ blessings and finding signs.
Inspired to reach out, Harvey donated to the care team that had cared for Callahan and mailed Adkins a condolence card with his phone number inside.
A little more than a week later, on a Friday, Adkins called back and admitted she’d been looking for him, too. Catching up, she invited Harvey to visit her in Ohio, where she now lives – an offer he quickly accepted.
By Sunday, Harvey had arrived in the Buckeye State, after leaving his Virginia home at 5 a.m. to drive 500 miles.
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“My heart was soaring. I had brought flowers,” he recalled of their meeting.
“He held my face in both his hands and he kissed me,” the bride said, revealing that they both felt like it was “like 1956 all over again.”
“We just reconnected immediately,” Adkins added.
Making up for lost time, the two dated and decided to get married – a decision they say they felt affirmed in making after praying for their spouses’ blessings and finding signs.
“We both feel the Lord is instrumental in getting us back together,” the groom told the Advocate.
Two weeks ago, the couple said “I do” at Central College Presbyterian Church and celebrated with a reception at Nutcracker Family Restaurant, chosen especially for its 1950s-inspired décor and memorabilia. Adkins’ daughter has since likened their incredible reunion to a “Hallmark movie.”
Beyond its motif, the Nutcracker was a logical choice, as it was the first place the now-newlyweds had their “first” date in over 60 years.
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At the reception, the new Mr. and Mrs. danced to “Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis – a favorite tune from their days as a teenage couple at prom.
“I think sometimes I can’t love her more, but then there’s tomorrow,” Harvey said of his bride, declaring that he will love her “until the Twelfth of Never [another Mathis tune,] and that’s a long, long time.”