Many of us have experienced first-date jitters. Will he/she like me? What should I wear? Will we have a good time?
Lauris Hiner was especially nervous because this date was not like most others. This "first date" was with a former flame — her high school sweetheart from the 1940s.
But to truly appreciate this tale of first loves reunited, it helps to start the story a few years ago...
In 2014 out of the blue, Hiner received a gorgeous bouquet of a dozen red roses with a note attached that simply said "Love - Paul," her daughter Susan Broaddus told MNN.
Hiner was flabbergasted. Who was Paul? Why would he send roses? The only person she could think of was a relative named Paul, but she hadn't spoken to him in decades.
A few days later, her phone rang; and the mysterious Paul was on the other line. The mystery was solved!
"She was shocked and giddy over the thought that he remembered her so fondly and went to the trouble to contact her," said Broaddus, who is only using Paul's first name in order to protect his privacy.
Sweethearts during the war
In the 1940s, Hiner met Paul at Lake Washington in Seattle. He was her best friend Millie's cousin. Hiner and Paul dated until he was sent off to fight in World War II. Paul ended their relationship because he didn't want Hiner waiting for him in case he didn't make it home from the war. They eventually lost contact.
After the war, Hiner and Paul both married other people and had children. Hiner had four children and was married to her husband for 49 years before he passed away in the early 2000s. Paul and his wife had seven children, and she passed away in 2010.
Reconnecting after 70 years
Even though Paul lived in Washington and Hiner lived in California, he continued to send flowers and call her for the next three years. But at their age, traveling to see each other wasn't so simple.
A couple months ago, Hiner's health started declining, so she moved in with her daughter in Oregon. She didn't hear from Paul again. She was worried something was wrong until her daughter reminded her: "Mom, you are no longer living at your place. He doesn't know the address or phone number to contact you," said Broaddus. "Of course, you haven't heard from him!"
Broaddus mailed Paul a letter letting him know that her mother was now living in Oregon and not doing so well.
Five days later, Hiner received four dozen long-stemmed red roses from Paul. Hiner was so excited that he still thought of her and cared for her. After that, Broaddus just knew she had to find a way to reunite the two long-lost lovers.
Broaddus called Paul and said she wanted to drive her mother to Seattle and take them both out for dinner. But Paul, being the gentleman that he is, insisted that he take them out saying, "I will take you and your mom out to the best restaurant in Seattle."
Hiner and Broaddus made the journey to Seattle, and Hiner was nervous the entire way. She thought maybe it would be better if he remembered her from when they were young. She kept second-guessing her outfit and how much makeup to wear, much like most young girls going on a first date.
But all the nerves faded away once Hiner saw Paul after all those years.
When they arrived in Seattle for dinner, Paul surprised Hiner at the restaurant with not only more bouquets of roses but also brought along Millie — his cousin and her friend who introduced them to each other more than 70 years ago. "The years melted away," said Broaddus. "The three of them were just old friends who care very deeply for each other."
And while both Hiner and Paul still hold never-ending love for their spouses who passed away, they still have great affection for one another. As Broaddus said, "Love and friendship can last a lifetime."