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93-year-old soldier reunited with his first love after 70 years apart

Norwood Thomas and Joyce Morris met in the spring of 1944, and have finally seen each other again after 70 years apart.

By Deirdre Fogarty
Norwood Thomas hasn’t seen the love of his life, British nurse Joyce Morris, since he had to say goodbye to her for the last time at a train station in London in 1944.
The young couple were forced apart by war, with Thomas leaving to fight at the Battle of Normandy before returning to his home in the US.
But this week Thomas (93) and Morris (88) were reunited for the first time after Morris tracked her former flame down and arranged to Skype him.
'Tell me. Do you see me?' he asked.
'No, I can’t see properly, no,' she said.
'Well, I’ll tell ya, I’m smiling,' he told her.
'I’m sure you are,' she said, laughing, reports The Washington Post.
Norwood Thomas and Joyce Morris spoke on Skype this week
Now a fundraising campaign has been launched to fly Thomas to Australia to be properly reunited with the woman who never forgot him.
Morris began the search a few weeks ago, while she was watching her son working on his computer. She wondered if he could use it to help her find her soldier.
He wasn’t too hard to find- Norwood Thomas had gone skydiving at the age of 88, and the story was covered by the local news.
Morris’ son, Robert, reached out to the reporter, who in turn reached out to Thomas.
“Joyce Durrant?” he said, mulling her maiden name. “Oh my God.”
The Virginia Pilot reports that he spent the afternoon searching through a stack of old photographs until he found the one his wartime girlfriend had given him before he went off to battle.
Morris has a picture of Thomas, too. Her son printed it for her, and she had it framed for her bedroom wall.
It’s the first thing she sees when she wakes up, and she says good morning to it every day.
“Just remember I will say good morning back to you,” Thomas told her when he found out. “I would love to be there to say in person.”
And that may just happen, as a Go Fund Me account has been set up in an effort to raise the money need to finally get the two back together.
It is a heartbreaking story; Thomas and Morris first met in the spring of 1944, when he was 21 and she was 17.
Thomas kept a picture of Morris from when she was just 17
Thomas, a 101st Airborne Division veteran from Virginia, America, was stationed just outside of London. He was out with a friend one day when Morris caught his eye.
"We were on a bridge crossing the Thames when we looked down and saw these two fine, young ladies,” Thomas told ABC News. “We went down, paddled around the Thames in rowboats for a bit, later got some drink and food and Joyce and I just clicked."
They dated for a few months, and Thomas travelled to London every weekend to see his young love. He fell head over heels for her, even meeting her parents.
"I think I fell in love with the way that she smiled," he said. "I'd always look at her and think, "My God, that is one, sweet girl."
But the couple were soon separated when Thomas was deployed to France.
"My memory is very dim, but I remember that after the war was over and I went back to the U.S., we corresponded via letters for a little bit, and I did send her a couple of gifts," Thomas said.
He asked Morris to join him in America, where they could be married. She declined, but she now admits that it must have been a case of crossed wires.
His letter had confused her, and she thought he was telling her he had already married.
“And that,” she says, “was the end of it.”
Or so she thought. Earlier this week, Morris’ son Robert and Thomas’s son Steven arranged for the two to see each other for the first time in 70 years via Skype.
Morris couldn’t quite wait for the arranged date though, and rang Thomas at his home.
"When she called me "Tommy," her nickname for me,” Thomas says of the surprise call. “Oh, my God, it stirred emotions that had been dormant for a long, long time."
Morris has a picture of Thomas too
And when the two saw each other on screen, they giggled as if they’d never spent a day apart.
They spoke for two hours, filling each other in on the last seven decades.
Thomas was married to a “very wonderful, strong woman” for 56 years before she died in 2001 from cancer, while Morris had also married and moved to Australia, before she divorced.
A few years after his wife had died, Thomas found himself thinking more and more about his younger years and the time he had spent with Morris.
"She had always been on the fringes of my thoughts this whole time," he said. "She'd always pop up as a pleasant memory, and it turns out that she'd been thinking of me this whole time too. Her son looked me up on the Internet and contacted me. I found out she'd been living in Australia."
Thomas is currently too weak to travel as he battles prostate cancer, but his prognosis is good and he is already looking forward to a trip to Australia.
The first thing Thomas says he will do when he sees Morris again is to give her a hug; until then, the two plan to Skype every day.
After all, there’s a lot of catching up to do.

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