They were teenage sweethearts but fate and destiny meant they didn’t meet again for more than 50 years until love found a way
- Credit: Archant
A couple, in their 70s, have been re-united after first dating in the 1960s.
Robert White tracked down his teenage sweetheart Carol Rushton from 1966 and 54 years later – after both were widowed in recent years – love has blossomed.
He is in Ely, re-kindling the romance that was cut short when he moved to find adventure in North America and Carol had to move to Cambridge.
“A few years ago, I found Carol on Facebook and we were in contact again,” said Robert.
“We were married and both of us had grown up children and grandchildren. We had polite conversations, back and forth, (nothing romantic) and life went on.
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In May of 2018, Carol’s husband died and Robert sent her his condolences.
In February the following year, and after fighting an illness for five years, Robert’s wife Debbie died.
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“Carol reached out to me saying that she knew exactly how I was feeling and knew what I was going through,” said Robert.
Carol gave Robert her phone number, and said to call her if he needed to talk to someone.
“Anyway, through our phone conversations, those old feelings started to come back and we got ‘quite close’,” said Robert.
“We took a vacation together in Portugal in February 2020 (I flew in to Lisbon Airport from Canada and she flew in to Lisbon from England).
“I had hired a car and we drove down to the Algarve together where we stayed in a lovely villa for two weeks.
“We got on so well together; it was an amazingly happy time for both of us.”
Their story goes back to June of 1965; Robert was 18 and he went with three friends to Southend.
“At the end of the day, as we were beginning to leave, l noticed a tent that said ‘gypsy fortune teller’”, he said.
“Anyway, against everyone’s’ advice, I went in and she started to read my palm.
“She told me a lot of stuff about myself, and then, I remember as clear as day, she stopped and looked me right in my eyes and said, ‘Oh, this time next year, you are going to meet the girl you are going to marry.’
“I asked the fortune teller, ‘who is she?’ She said that this girl was blonde and that she was a hairdresser.”
Robert at the time worked in sales for the Kent Messenger and was a member of a local ‘18 plus’ group.
At one meeting he was at the bar and a girl he had been staring at all evening went to leave.
“I called out to her, ‘Hi, can I buy you a drink?.” She joined him for a drink, he later walked her home, they held hands and “we kissed a lot. Her name was Carol.
Carol said: “On our way home he found out I was hairdresser- I’m not sure he spoke about the fortune teller then but might have.”
Robert recalls that “when we got to her house, I met her parents and everything went so well.
“That night, as I lay in bed, I could hardly sleep, just thinking about this new girl in my life, and in the morning, I knew that I was in love.
“She was the first girl that I ever said, ‘I love you’ to and she was the first girl that I ever took home to meet my parents.”
Robert adds: “Carol and I started dating. She did have a boyfriend who was away at university during the week, but we made it work during the week.”
But in January of 1967, and following the death of her mother, Carol moved to live with family in Cambridge.
“Back then, there were no cell phones, e-mails, or computers and Cambridge seemed so far away, so we kind of lost touch,” he said.
In October 1967 he emigrated to Canada “and that was that”.
Carol said she remembers asking a friend what had happened to Robert and he told me “he’d gone to Canada and got married. I eventually married another man and that was that.”
In July Robert came to Ely for a three-week holiday and the couple drove to Maidstone and walked around their old neighbourhood, taking a trip down ‘memory lane.’
Robert is back in Ely, until mid-October, then Carol will fly back to Canada with him for a few weeks.
“We are both now in our 70’s and are in love,” said Robert.
“Things are going good between us. I wonder if the fortune teller’s prediction will come true?”
Neither knows what the future holds but both are adamant they will be travelling this time in the same direction.
“We are in love,” said Robert. Carol smiles. “Yes, I can say that, too,” she adds.