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Mike and Chrstine: A relationship built on compassion and communication


Mike explains the difference in attitudes between the young when they are marrying and what happens for people who marry later in life: “When you’re young, you are looking for parents and someone to take care of you.  When you choose someone at a later stage in your life, you’re looking for someone who really wants to build a relationship with you.”

Chistine was married twice before and has two children.  She had remained single since her second divorce in 1992.

Mike was in an unhappy (he now realizes) marriage for 23 years, and also has two children.  In 1995, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  He divorced in 1996.

The two met in 1998, at the urging of Mike’s sister (who was also divorced), who had been a close friend of Christine’s for many years.  She kept telling Christine, “You should meet my brother,” and kept saying to Mike, “You should meet my best friend.”  Mike was living in California at the time but flew up to Seattle to help his sister with a project, and agreed to meet Christine.

Years in a marriage that wasn’t working and dealing with Parkinson’s had taken a toll on Mike, but somehow he felt comfortable at his first meeting with Christine describing his past life.  Their first date was at a restaurant, after which they returned to the home of Mike’s sister and sat is a hot tub talking for three hours.  Christine says, “Our hearts were so similar.  We knew what we wanted in a relationship, and we shared that information.

The next day, Mike’s sister and Christine were getting ready to leave for a singles’ cruise from Bellingham to the San Juans that they had reserved.  Mike drove them to Bellingham to see if he could go on the cruise as well. He persuaded the boat company at the last minute to let him join the two women.  Mike took a day off from work in San Francisco.  On this six-hour adventure, Mike and Christine say they talked the whole time, and soon after this trip they realized this was the relationship they each wanted.  By January 1st, 1999, Mike had transferred from his job in San Francisco to Seattle, and they rented a house together

A little over a year later, they married, much to the delight of Mike’s sister (who is still single and looking for the right relationship for herself).  Christine was 47 and Mike was 50. Their wedding included 75 friends and family members.

When they first met, each was focused on a career.  Mike was a mechanic for an airline, and Christine was an attorney specializing in family law. 

In 2001, Mike was forced to retire due to the effects of Parkinson’s.  At first, he and Christine bought five acres near Arlington and had horses, cows, goats and chickens.  This “gentleman’s farm” was a dream they had both shared.  With Mike’s retirement, they found themselves living this dream a little sooner than they had expected. But, Christine says this was a good lesson for them to not put off their dreams, but to live them while they can.

In 2004, they sold the Arlington property and moved to Whidbey Island to be closer to grandchildren.  A short time later they purchased a small farm near Coupeville. .They have traveled extensively, thanks to flying benefits that Mike receives.  Now that they are both retired, they do a good deal of volunteering, and Chris has become a professional artist with oil as her medium.

Mike says that “Chris is really easy to talk to, and I was looking for someone I could touch and who wanted to touch me.”  Her understanding and acceptance of his Parkinson’s added a special dimension to their relationship.

They say they are continually working at improving their communication and making their relationship even better, though Chris says, “Others see us as having an incredible relationship.”  They feel they have a deep sense of compassion for each other.  Mike comments, “We are always there for each other, and we accept each other for who we each are, rather than trying to change the other person.”  They feel they do an equal amount of giving and receiving.


Allan and Deloris by Allan Ament: Mint juleps bring two people together

(Note: I have been asking for stories for this project, and Allan Ament, a long-time friend, wrote this and submitted it to me.  Thank you, Allan!)

Deloris and I married when she was 53 and I was 47. It was the second marriage for me and the fifth for her, but we both knew this one was for keeps.

We met at a party thrown by Ben and Fredericka, mutual friends. It was the first Saturday in May, the opening day of yachting season in Seattle, and in my birth home of Louisville, Kentucky, the running of the Kentucky Derby. Opening Day is celebrated by a parade of decorated boats, which passed by my friends’ waterfront home. It was an opportunity for friends to gather, enjoy food, drink, and each other’s company.

It is also a day when displaced Louisvillians, even those with no interest in horses or horse racing, celebrate their heritage by drinking mint juleps, the traditional drink of the Derby, and watching the horserace on TV.

I arrived at Ben and Fredericka’s carrying the fixings for mint juleps with me. After greeting the hosts and several friends, I went upstairs to the TV room, where I knew I would find people preparing to watch the horse race. “Anybody want a mint julep?” I asked. Heads swiveled in my direction and hands began to be raised. I took a count and headed downstairs to prepare the drinks. When I had finished, I returned upstairs and distributed the drinks to everyone in the room, except one woman who seemed surprised by my return and my actions.

“You were serious?” she said, surprise mixed with disappointment in her words. “What do I have to do now to get a julep?”

I looked at this woman, whose reddish-blond hair, falling in page-boy bangs, framed an attractive face with clear, intelligent eyes. I didn’t know her, but felt an immediate desire to do so. “You have to be very, very nice to me,” I replied.

“OK,” she said, and followed me downstairs. I mixed another julep, handed it to her and said. “Enjoy. By the way, my name is Allan,” using the beverage exchange as an excuse to introduce myself.

“Thanks. I’m Deloris. I’m an old friend of Fredericka’s,” she said.

“Me, too,” I replied. “Nice to meet you.”  That exchange completed, we returned upstairs to watch the race and continue our separate ways.

Our next meeting was a chance encounter a month later in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. This was the oldest section of the city, recently renovated and the home of a number of restaurants, art galleries, and professional offices. Deloris and Fredericka, a professional artist, were headed to a gallery opening. I had just left my law office a block away and was en route to meet some friends when I encountered them going the other direction.

 “Why don’t you ever return phone calls?” Deloris asked with an edge to her voice.

“I always do,” I replied. “Especially when they are from women I don’t know very well.”

“I left several messages and never got a return call,” she accused.

“I don’t know what happened. You probably need to try again.” 

As there seemed little more to say after my flippant response, we said goodbye and went off in opposite directions. Much to my surprise about a week later, Deloris called and invited me to meet her for a drink after work. This time we both felt a mutual attraction, and within a matter of months had become inseparable. Eighteen months later, we married. Both of us considered our earlier relationships as practice for this main event.

I have always said I do not remember who won the Kentucky Derby the year Deloris and I met; I just know I won the race.


Louise and Eddie: Love Remembered After 55 years


Louise and Eddie are married, April 12, 2014

Louise and Eddie had been friends in the mid 50’s.  Even though they were married to other people, they still remembered each other fondly through the years and thought about what might have been.

In the mid-1950’s Louise and her husband, Don, and Eddie and his wife, Phyllis, were young couples just starting out in life with children and creating homes on Whidbey Island.  They lived less than two miles apart in Coupeville, and all four were close friends.

In 1957, Eddie and Phyllis moved away and lived many different places before settling in Seattle.  Louise and Don continued to live in Coupeville on Whidbey Island.

Eddie and Phyllis were a very loving and happy couple.  As they got older, they shared the idea that if either one died, the surviving spouse was encouraged to find someone else.  Eddie’s wife died unexpectedly in January 2013, and he realized how lonely he would be on his own. 

Then he remembered Louise; actually she had been in his memory for the 55 years they had been apart.

Eddie decided to see if she was still on Whidbey, and he came for a visit to the island to search for her.  The first place he asked, he couldn’t find any information.  Then, he stopped in at the Lavender Wind shop in Downtown Coupeville and asked if the person knew Louise……and got an immediate “Yes” and a phone number.

Eddie called, and when Louise answered he boomed out, “This is Eddie!”  Her first response was “Eddie who?”  But, then as they talked, she realized this was the person she had been attracted to 55 years earlier.  Louise had been widowed in 2006, and she too was feeling lonely.

It was the Loganberry Festival weekend in Greenbank, and Louise invited Eddie to come for dinner with her and her sister, spend the night in the boarding house she owned and go with her to the festival.  They spent the next day together at the festival, and she invited Eddie to spend another night and get reacquainted….which didn’t take much persuasion.

He returned to Seattle the next day and began thinking about how the two of them could get together again.  A few weeks later, Louise, who didn’t like to travel by herself, called Eddie and asked him if he would be willing to accompany her on a trip to Northern California for a family reunion.  He agreed, and on the trip as they talked more and more, Louise realized, “We were blown away by how much we agreed upon.”

Neither of them can remember what persuaded Eddie to give up his apartment in Seattle and move to Coupeville and live in Louise’s boarding house, but the move was made in October 2013.  And on December 13, 2013 (which was also Friday the 13th; the official date was 13-13), Eddie proposed.  And, with each being 84 years of age, they decided to have a full, formal wedding for all of their friends and family at the Captain’s Inn in Coupeville on April 12, 2014.

Louise had been planning to sell her over 3,500 square foot house when Eddie came back into the picture.  He quickly won her over when he suggested, “How about taking down your ‘For sale’ sign, and I’ll help you keep up the property.”  She adds, “In our 20’s we knew there was something special between us, but we couldn’t talk about it.”  But, she continued, “As soon as we were together again, we renewed the love we had felt for each other so many years ago.”

From Eddie’s perspective is the same: “I knew there was something special there in the beginning.  When we reconnected, we knew how much we enjoyed being together.”

Between the two of them, they have 10 children, 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  Four of Louise’s six children live on Whidbey Island, one is in Marysville and one lives in Kelso.  Two of Eddie’s four children live in the Seattle area, one is in Portland and one in Wallawa, Oregon.  Family members are happy about the pending wedding.

Being in their presence, the term “love bugs” immediately comes to mind.  They intend to stay on Whidbey, but sell the large house and move to a smaller, more manageable one.  They don’t know if they’ll be together for another 5, 10 or 20 years.  They do know they are with the person they will stay with for the rest of their lives. 

They know they love each other and are enjoying each of the moments they share together now.

Note: You can read about Louise's business as Madrona Massage on Whidbey Local




Never married at 57 years of age, Tandy expected to stay single for the rest of her life… until Rich persuaded her that he was the person she had been seeking to be her partner..  It took lots of patience and persistence from Rich, several wonderful outdoor adventures, and some wise friends and a mutual love of skiing to make this happen.

Rich had been married for several years, but divorced in 1994.  For several years, Rich and Tandy shared a couple of skiing friends in common without ever having met each other. It took the intervention of these two friends, who thought Rich and Tandy would make a good match, to lead them to the next step. In April 2011, at 10 in the morning, these friends met Tandy at the bottom of a chairlift at Crystal Mountain.  As Rich approached they said, “Oh, by the way Rich is joining us too.”  After a few runs together, they got out of the way to let Tandy and Rich get to know each other better.  Rich and Tandy skied till the lift closed, and then Rich asked her for her phone number.

He called the next day, and Tandy was shocked: “I’d had some false starts, so I didn’t have any expectations for a follow-through.”  Rich asked her out to dinner and she accepted.  At the dinner, which they officially call their “first date,” they now admit that they were both nervous.  Rich noted, however, “As we talked, I thought this was the most unique woman I’ve ever met.”

They agreed to go skiing together the next weekend.  Tandy says her awareness that Rich was the right person for her took a lot longer because she had suffered from several bad experiences with men in the past, leading her to cultivate a deliberately independent attitude. At every stage of their growing relationship, Tandy said to herself, “That was nice, but he probably won’t call again.”

About a month after they started dating, they had a memorable dinner at the Cactus Restaurant in Kirkland.  Tandy relaxed and shared more of herself and noticed that, “We really connected.”  Before they parted that evening, they had their first kiss.  Right after that, they began “going steady.”

Rich says that only two months after they had begun seeing each other, “I told myself, this is the person I’m going to marry.”  They dated frequently and began sharing vacations together.  But, it took a year for Rich to actually propose.  While spring skiing at Crystal Mountain,  he invited Tandy to ski a challenging run with the auspicious name of “Sunnnyside” -  the perfect spot for a proposal - but Tandy declined because she knew the snow conditions would be poor.


Rich spent the entire day planning how he would approach Tandy and pop the question. Finally, on the last run down the mountain, a run named “Stump Farm”, in complete frustration, he shouted to Tandy, who was just ahead of him: “Stop!” Somewhat impatiently she did so and, skiing just below her, Rich looked up and said, “I’ve been trying to get you alone all day!  Will you marry me?”  She didn’t hesitate in saying “Yes.”  Tandy now admits, “I had no sense what was coming; I thought it was just another fun ski day.”

They were married a few months later, when Tandy was 58 and Rich was 61.  They thought they would have a small, intimate wedding, but between them there were lots of friends and family.  They finally settled on a small ceremony for their 30 closest relatives and friends at the Bellevue Court House, followed by a reception attended by 150 at the Bellevue Club.

Now, after a year of marriage, both are totally happy with their decisions.Rich describes Tandy as “Easy going, fun, non-judgmental, and our politics and philosophies are the same.”  He adds, “She’s a great friend.”

Tandy says that after all of her years of searching and assuming she would remain single, “I’m lucky I have such a wonderful husband.  He’s nice, smart and handsome and he has a wonderful sense of humor.  Our being together seems easy and natural.”

Although they still share a great love of skiing, Rich notes, “We mesh together well, even when we’re not skiing.”


Ron and Helene : What a difference a dog can make


Helene and Ron with Tilo - Photo by Sue AverettHelene and Ron met and merged as a couple several months after meeting when they were both 71. When asked how they were so sure that this relationship was going to last, Helene immediately responded, “I just knew.  My heart knew immediately, though my mind was scared to death.”

Their meeting would make a great introduction to a relationship comedy.  Ron was at a local coffee shop when he spotted a fluffy little white dog being tied up outside.  Ron was instantly drawn to Helene’s dog, Tilo.  When she came in to order coffee, Ron mentioned to her that he had the exact same dog that had died four years earlier.  She invited him to go out and hold Tilo.  Ron walked out and stroked Tilo, and they became instant friends.  When Helene walked out to get Tilo, she met his new friend.  Helene and Ron exchanged pleasantries and then talked for an hour and a half.  As they parted, they exchanged phone numbers.

Their first date wasn’t quite a date. Helene called Ron and invited him to join her and a friend going to a movie.  After the movie, Ron and Helene went off by themselves and enjoyed tea and conversation.  Then, Ron walked her back to her car and kissed her good night.  They both say they have clear memories of that kiss and their feelings at that moment, and that they intuitively knew they had found the partner they had each been seeking.

Ron and Helene had both been single for a while before meeting, and they each wanted to have a loving partner, even though that person hadn’t appeared for either of them yet. 

Ron’s story

Ron married at 19, had a son and a daughter, and stayed in his marriage for 35 years before he knew he had to leave and re-start his life.  He moved from Detroit to San Francisco; then to Bellevue, Washington.  In the process of re-bounding from his first marriage, he married again, and this time the relationship ended in five years.  He tried dating women he met through the Internet.  When Ron was 70, he authored a book about matchmaking for seniors.  He says that as he wrote this book for others he began to think, “What’s important to me?”  He found himself engaging in deep introspection, and he feels he gradually moved into a place where he would recognize the right woman when she came into his life.

Helene’s story

Helene was married for 22 years and had two sons before realizing she wasn’t married to the right person for her.  She divorced and remained single for 21 years.  She says, “I was always hopeful, but I didn’t expect to meet the ‘right man’.”  She said there were so many false starts, and after a while, she didn’t believe she would be willing to risk again.  At the same time, she really did want to find the right someone.  She believes, “I manifested Ron.  I put out to the universe what I wanted.”  Shortly afterwards, Tilo introduced her to Ron.

Their current relationship

Helene says that Ron is “Open, tender, helpful, supportive, considerate, kind, thoughtful and intelligent.”  Ron describes Helene as “Caring, loving, sensual, brilliant, funny, joyful, kind, sensitive and heart-centered.”

They ascribe to being very supportive of one another and they have a level of trust they have never experienced before.  They love to share ideas and emotions.  Helene says, “We recognize our fears can clash, and we talk about it when it happens.  Ron adds, “We help each other work through our stuff, and as we resolve issues, we become closer.”

Because of the children and grandchildren from each of their relationships, they have decided not to legally marry, although they each feel fully committed to one another. 

They have both agreed to let go of their negative attachments from the past: “Being 72 and knowing we didn’t make some wise choices earlier in our lives, we believe this last quarter of our lives is our chance to get it right and simply enjoy life and being together.”