Montreal·Blog

CBC/QWF Writer-in-Residence: It's never too late for love

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our CBC/QWF Writer-in-Residence Monique Polak celebrates love discovered late in life and shares three stories - including her own.

With Valentine's Day round the corner, storyteller Monique Polak celebrates with tale of 3 'older' new couples

David Yardley and Lynda Porter got married at Lynda's 60th birthday party last October, to the surprise of their guests. (Xania Keane)

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.

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.

Monique Polak found her ice-cold heart melting after a dozen 'practice dates' with Jack Morantz. (Monique Polak)

"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

'He's got that twinkle,' says Nora Laws, 84, of her partner of 10 years, Dave McCrindle, 94. (Monique Polak)

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 says it was David Yardley's tenderness that sealed the deal for her. Porter's parents both died during the first year of her relationship with Yardley. 'He was my leaning post,' she said. (Monique Polak)

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.

Surprise! 

David Yardley got down on bended knee before Lynda Porter at her 60th birthday, but she was in on the surprise. A judge was on hand to hear them say, 'I do.' (Xania Keane)

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.

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! 

           

                         

           

           

About the Author

Monique Polak

CBC/QWF Writer-in-Residence

Monique Polak is the author of 19 novels for young adults and a non-fiction book for kids. She is a two-time winner of the Quebec Writers’ Federation Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. She has been teaching at Marianopolis College for 31 years and is a frequent contributor to the Montreal Gazette.

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