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Real Life

REAL LIFE: Reunited at last! Meet the sweetest couple whose love blossomed after 54 years apart

Annette Young, 69, from Hervey Bay, Queensland, shares her surprising story with Take 5's Laura Trieste:

By Laura Trieste
As I sat against the wall watching couples dance, a man with a killer smile and beautiful brown eyes caught my attention.
He's gorgeous, I thought.
It was customary at these church hall dances in Junee, NSW for women to sit on the sidelines until a man asked them to dance but I was tired of waiting.
I walked straight over to the good-looking man.
"Would you like to dance?" I asked.
Bob and I had a great time on the floor together, getting to know each other.
He was 16, like me, and in town from Wagga Wagga, NSW where he served in the Royal Australian Air Force.
"I'll walk you home," Bob said later.
Bob at 15 (Photo: Supplied)
I was nervous about my family seeing him at my front door so we stopped nearby under the awning of a bookshop to say good night.
My heart raced as Bob gave me my first kiss.
It was magical until my brother pulled up in his car and asked us what we were doing.
"I'm just walking her home," Bob replied.
"Make sure you do," he said sternly before driving off.
Fortunately my family ended up loving Bob after he came over to meet them.
And so did I.
He was kind, charming and an absolute gentleman.
We fell head over heels in love and had a blast hanging out every weekend he could come visit me.
But after six months, Bob was posted to a RAAF base in Queensland.
I was devastated.
I knew he would have married me then but I felt too young.
"I think we should break up," I told him before he left.
At my first wedding (Photo: Supplied)
It didn't seem right for either of us to be tied down.
A year later, I was living in Sydney with my two sisters, still struggling to get over Bob.
I wrote him a love letter saying I missed him but never got a response.
I guess it's really over, I thought.
It was time to get on with life.
I moved back to Junee, got married and started a family.
But my marriage fell apart years later and I was a single mother raising three daughters.
One day my dad told me he'd heard from Bob, who'd found his number in the phone book.
Dad said Bob wanted me to ring him, so I did.
With my child (Photo: Supplied)
It'd been more than 15 years since we'd last talked but as soon as I heard his voice, I wanted to see him again.
He explained he was married and living in Queensland, but he wanted to reconnect as friends.
I still cared for him but raising my children was my priority and I didn't want to complicate things.
"I'm sorry, it's not a good time," I said.
Decades later, I was living in Wagga Wagga with my dog, Elvis, long after my daughters had grown up and moved out, when I got a Facebook message from Shirley.
We'd been good friends as teenagers in Junee, but I hadn't seen her for 50 years.
"I'm in Wagga, want to catch up?" she asked.
We spent hours reminiscing about our younger years when Bob's name came up.
"I was in the RAAF for three years," Shirley said. "I reckon I'd have a contact who could track him down."
"Well, if you find him tell him I said hello," I replied.
Rob was still in my thoughts Photo: Joy Butler
Days later, I received a text message from Bob, asking me to call him.
My heart melted when I heard his deep voice on the phone.
"I nearly fell over after I was told you'd said to say hello," he said.
We spent hours catching each other up on the past few decades.
Bob was still in Queensland but he'd separated from his wife.
I was also shocked to discover that he'd replied to my letter from all those years ago but hadn't noticed the Sydney address on it so sent it back to Junee.
I was cautious at first.
I still loved Bob but after all that time I didn't know if we'd like each other.
I'm not the same young girl you remember, I texted him nervously before we swapped photos.
You still look as beautiful as ever, he replied.
We called and texted constantly.
Bob told me he loved me but I was too scared to say it back.
After three weeks, I was ready to reunite with him.
We're thrilled to be together. Photo: Joy Butler
Bob drove for 13 hours straight to meet me.
When his car finally pulled up in front of my home, I ran outside, grabbed him and kissed him.
It felt like we were 16 again.
"I really do love you," I said.
"I love you too darling," he smiled.
We drove to Junee and revisited the places we went to as teenagers, including the church hall we used to dance in.
Afterwards, Bob suggested we go for a walk and led me up the street.
Then he stopped.
"Do you know where we're standing?" he asked.
My heart raced as I looked up at the awning above us.
"Of course I do," I replied as Bob bent down to kiss me in front of the bookshop where we'd shared our first kiss 50 years earlier.
I knew he'd be the last man I ever kissed.
Three days later, I left Bob to walk Elvis while I got my hair cut.
Afterwards, I stepped outside of the salon and was shocked to find Bob waiting there on one knee with a rose between his teeth.
"Marry me?" he asked.
Everyone in the salon was staring at us.
"Get in the car, let's go!" I said.
It was a big surprise! Photo: Joy Butler
I wanted to spend my life with Bob, but I was too embarrassed to say yes in that moment.
I knew I'd hurt him.
After we got home, I put the rose in my mouth, walked into the living room and dropped to one knee.
"Will you marry me?" I asked Bob.
"Absolutely," he replied, kissing me.
A month later, we moved to Hervey Bay, Qld where we now live with Elvis in an apartment at Baycrest retirement village.
Bob took me to a jewellery store and insisted on buying me the biggest diamond ring they had.
We're looking forward to getting married later this year.
I'm just so happy to be reunited with my first love.
After losing so many years we don't want to spend another minute apart.

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