Evelyn De Wolfe has had an adventurous life and a fulfilling career; born and raised in Brazil, she left at twenty-one, traveled the world, became an author and a journalist, ultimately settling in southern California where for forty years she worked for the L. A. Times. Widowed for 14 years, she had grown children, grandchildren, and a full life. She was in good health and living contentedly in Hollywood, California. “What better place to be at eighty-two,” she writes, in her book Five Honeymoons, A True Love Story.
Then she received a mysterious envelope in the mail from her childhood sweetheart and life suddenly took an unexpected turn. Juan had been her first real crush at age thirteen. She hadn’t seen or heard from him for over sixty-five years. Like her, he was in his eighties, had grown children but had remained in Brazil. An old friend put them in touch and they began emailing. It wasn’t long before they fell in love and began a passionate affair. But that isn’t the most amazing part of the story; it’s the form their affair took that makes it unique. Every year for five years they met in a romantic location; a farm tucked away in the Rain Forest, Santa Barbara, Mexico, Hollywood, and Rio de Janeiro. Five Honeymoons is the story of their love affair and the cherished moments spent together. The book is beautifully written and is an inspiration for anyone, young or old.
Another story about late in life love is Last Tango in Halifax, a Masterpiece Theater special that debuted last Sunday (September 8) on PBS. This charming British drama originally aired in 2012 and got rave reviews. The writing and acting are superb and I can’t wait for additional episodes. Although the details are fictional the story is real; writer Sally Wainwright was inspired by her mother’s second and extremely happy marriage late in life. The protagonists are Celia and Alan who are both widowed and in their seventies. As young teens they had strong feelings for each other but when Celia suddenly moved away they were separated. Celia wrote Alan a note explaining her sudden departure as well as her new address and asked her friend, Eileen, to give it to him. Her friend never passed the note along; both Celia and Alan assumed the other didn’t care; in fact, the opposite was true. They are reunited via Facebook which their grandchildren encouraged them to join. Nervously they agree to meet for coffee and quickly discover the love they shared never died and decide on the spot to get married, much to to disbelief of their grown children.
Dear friends, it is never, ever too late! Love has no timetable and life is mysterious. As you well know, life can “turn on a dime” for better or worse. Believe in the miraculous; trust your own timing. It’s tempting to compare ourselves (and our timing) to others but ultimately destructive; we simply don’t know what’s waiting around the corner. Make peace with the present but have faith in what lies ahead. As my friend, Irene Young, always says, “Anything can happen, including something wonderful!”
The Coming of Light, by Mark Strand
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillow,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
And tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.