A love story for the ages: How Paul met Lori
A made-in-London love story of young love being realized years later
A story of love, separation and a reunification decades later.
That's the winning entry for London Morning's Valentine's Day contest.
It generated strong reaction on social media, so we decided to spread the love.
Here's the story, as written by Paul Aitken:
Back in the day
I had known my first love since first grade.
We shared many of the same friends in our small elementary school. I began to court her in eighth grade when we were due to appear in the same school play. We ate lunch together, she shared her Twix chocolate bars with me.
From what I can remember we simply went our separate ways home as on any other day, but did so now with the knowledge that we were "together," whatever that meant at that age.
My family moved across town late in the summer and I was enrolled in a different high school than she was. With no drivers licenses, in the days before the Internet with only the phone connecting us, and with the possibilities of new schools and new lives wide open before us, we broke up in the fall. Heartbroken. But life moved on, as it must.
She married, had a wonderful daughter, and from what I knew lived a comfortable beautiful life with her family.
Tragically, her husband passed away in 2010. I had heard news over the years, mostly through our parents' chance meetings, and was heartsick to learn of this. I had thought of reaching out to say hello many times over the years, but for whatever reasons never did.
In mid-2012 a friend informed me that our elementary school was having its 50th anniversary open house/reunion. And so, with the wonders of modern media and a bit of Google-fu, I found her contact info and pressed send on an email that took me ages to write.
Time came for us to meet at the old school where it had all began for us so many years ago. I circled the school twice. I saw her driving around looking for parking. I parked my car and sat there for what seemed like ages, waiting for her to get out and head up to the doors of the school.
We embraced at the doors of the school and it all came rushing back, within 30 seconds I knew, and I think she knew too. Lifetimes had passed, but in the blink of an eye.
I proposed to her (finally!) on the very same threshold of the front doors of that school in December of 2014.
We were married on July 17, 2015. As it turns out, quite a few years later than we had both imagined we would be back when we were 14.
That's my valentine, Lori K Aitken, and her daughter, my step-daughter, Mackenzie Campbell. I love you both!