They say, “If it seems too good to be true then it probably is.” Probably. But not always. This is the story of a happily ever after that is as true as true can be.
At age 17, Betty King enrolled at Southern Methodist University as a music major. In the first months on campus, she met a fellow music major named Bob Skinner. They had several mutual friends and spent lots of time together. Bob liked Betty an awful lot, but since she was dating his best friend, he contented himself with just being pals.
After graduation, Betty married her beau and Bob found a pretty wife. Life unfolded for both of them as life often does…with love, regret, happiness, heartache, victory and defeat. They kept in touch over the years, attending New Year’s Eve parties as young couples and, later, meeting up occasionally to enjoy a symphony concert and reconnecting each year through Christmas cards.
The years passed as Betty enjoyed a long and happy career as a beloved music teacher in the city’s school district. Bob put aside his music career to pursue pharmacy and established a successful business. Each of the families grew and splintered as time went by due to divorce, death and growing children. The Christmas cards and occasional visits continued, honoring what remained a deep and lasting friendship.
As each reached retirement age, life toughened. Betty left her teaching position to be the primary caretaker for her aging parents. Her daily activities shrank to what was necessary within the household and telephone calls became her main source of a social life. Bob was dealing with the cancer deaths of both his first wife and then his second. Talking to Betty was a comfort.
Shortly after the death of Betty’s mother and Bob’s second wife, the college buddies planned a face-to-face meeting to catch up in person, reconnect as old friends, and offer the kind of solace that can only come from an old and trusted companion.
And sparks flew.
Sixty years after the fresh, young students first met, they met again as weathered, wisened old people. And they fell in love in a way that only the deeply experienced can appreciate.
On August 9, 2014, in a church decorated with SMU’s red and blue, Betty and Bob stood before 100 guests and pledged to be true for the rest of their lives. Afterward they posed for photos, cut a beautiful white wedding cake, accepted hugs and congratulations, spent the night in a downtown Dallas bridal suite, and then drove away for a two-week honeymoon in the Tennessee hills.
The most unlikely of fairy tales sometimes does come true. My Aunt Betty and Uncle Bob are proof. May their happy ending last forever after.