August is a good month for romance.
For one thing, it’s National Romance Awareness month, which Loree Lough and I will be talking about more this Friday on the Harlequin Heartwarming blog. Plus, today is my grandparents’ 68th wedding anniversary, which is pretty romantic, to my way of thinking.
My grandparents, Orville and Irene, met when my grandma was fifteen, and Grandpa was twenty-one. Though there is only six years’ difference between them, Grandma kept her age a secret, fearing Gramps wouldn’t keep dating her if he knew how young she was. But Grandpa always explained it like this, “I was immature for my age, and she was very mature for her age, so I guess it worked out.”
They dated for three years before they married, spur of the moment, when Grandpa was on leave from the military during the Korean War. After they had wed, and Grandpa returned to his Army base in Texas, Grandma traveled by train across the country, the first time she’d ever been out of Pennsylvania, to join him.
Over the years, they had two girls, loads of adventures, and a lifetime of stories together. Several years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. Then, while my grandfather was with her at the hospital for an oncology appointment, her hip broke (in two places) as she was walking. She fell, pulling my grandfather down with her. The miracle of this story was that a hospital doctor was helping to direct them to the oncology office when this happened. The doctor was actually the head of orthopedic surgery, so when the accident occurred, he immediately took charge and got my grandmother into his operating room.
She recovered, but she’s never regained her ability to walk on her own, and so she’s been residing in a nursing home for the last five years.
And my grandfather has gone to see her, at first daily, and now three times weekly. He is faithful, even on the bad days, to stand by her, not wanting her to feel alone. Every year, on their anniversary, he makes a point to be at her nursing home exactly at the hour they were wed. At 91 years of age (92 in ten more weeks), his dedication moves me and reminds me that romance is not only the stuff of stories. It is devotion, and determination, and patience. Romance takes effort, and love sometimes requires sacrifice.
I have been blessed to witness the golden years of their love story. When I think of romance, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t the novels that I write, but it’s the people that I know and love, the relationships I’ve come to admire, such as my grandparents’.
This week’s addition to the A Story Life giveaway is a signed copy of my novel, LOVE FINDS YOU IN HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA. This book will always be special to me, not only because it was my debut but also because it was dedicated to my grandparents, Orville and Irene.
Until next time…