CBC/QWF Writer-in-Residence: It's never too late for love
With Valentine's Day round the corner, storyteller Monique Polak celebrates with tale of 3 'older' new couples
Falling in love isn't only for teenagers.
It happens to us older folks too — and when it does, it can bring unexpected, tender consolation.
- Read Monique's first blog: Objects have stories, too
- Monique Polak talks about inspiration for new role as CBC/QWF Writer-in-Residence
Two Novembers ago, my marriage of nearly 20 years broke up.
During the winter that followed, I had repeated trouble with my furnace. Often, I'd wake up to an ice-cold house.
It felt like a metaphor for my inner life. My heart had frozen over, too.
One day last summer, I happened to cycle by a man — handsome and funny — whom I knew from the local YMCA. I filled him in on my circumstances and explained that I could use a practice date.
"But you can't put the moves on me!" I warned him.
"Me?" he said. "The moves? I'm too old for the moves!"
That cracked me up, turning what might have been an awkward moment into fun.
We had a dozen practice dates. Somewhere along the way, my heart began to defrost.
I'm 55. Jack is a younger man — of 54.
What we lack in youthful vigour, we make up for in kindness and appreciation. And perspective. Because if there is one thing growing older gives us, it's perspective. Laughter does that, too.
No resisting that twinkle
As we age, we come to understand that trouble can blindside us and that loss is part of life. That makes the unexpected gift of falling in love all the sweeter.
Nora Laws, 84, and Dave McCrindle, 94, go way back.
Years ago, the two were neighbours, and Nora was friends with Dave's wife Irma.
After Irma's death in 2006, Nora sent Dave a condolence note. Dave phoned to thank Nora — and invite her out for dinner.
Asked whether he was contemplating friendship or romance, Dave did not skip a beat.
"Both!" he said.
Falling in love again was not in Nora's plans. She had been married twice. But Nora says there was no resisting the twinkle in Dave's eyes.
"He's got that twinkle for every girl — and good for him. That's what keeps him young!"
The couple moved in together in 2008 and now live in a seniors' residence on Côte-Saint-Luc Road. They share a playful sense of humour.
"When you're in your seventies and eighties," Nora quipped, "sex is over because you're afraid you'll drop dead!"
Dave said there are benefits to falling in love later in life: "I think we have a lot more common sense."
What starts at a slow boil ...
Lynda Porter had been living alone for 30 years when she met David Yardley at a trivia night at Ye Olde Orchard, an NDG pub, in 2010.
Though David, a program manager, gave her his card and invited her for tea, Lynda, a past president of the board of the NDG Food Depot, did not phone him.
When she ran into him at another trivia night, David asked why she had not contacted him.
"I felt guilty, so I invited him to come skiing. When he met me at the mountain, he had bought all new ski equipment. That's when I thought, 'Aww, sweet!'" said Lynda.
At the time, Lynda was 55 and David, 47. Their relationship also started at a slow boil — with plenty of practice dates. "It took him two months to kiss me," Lynda recalled.
Lynda discussed the situation with a friend from Toronto.
"She told me, 'Just plant one on him!' But I didn't," said Lynda.
The couple finally shared a first kiss on a walk home from The Wheel Club, a music venue on Cavendish Boulevard.
Last October, David invited about 100 friends to the Montreal West Curling Club to attend a surprise 60th birthday party for Lynda.
Only the surprise was on the guests.
- Missed the first blog? CBC/QWF Writer-in-Residence: Objects have stories, too
- Q&A: Get to know our Writer-in-Residence Monique Polak
Once everyone arrived, David dropped to his knees and proposed to Lynda, who was in on the plan.
One of the couple's friends, a judge, married them on the spot.
Like Nora and Dave, and me and Jack, Lynda and David laugh a lot together.
But it was David's tenderness that sealed the deal for Lynda. During the first year of their relationship, Lynda's parents fell ill and later died.
"He was my leaning post," said Lynda.
It's hard to resist a love story.
Valentine's Day weekend feels like the right time to celebrate stories about every kind of love – new love, old love, love that takes us by surprise.
Meet me here next month for more Montreal stories!