Saturday, January 28, 2012

5 decades later, first-grade crush leads to joyful wedding

John Drozdal and Nancy Gulick met in 1956 as first-graders in Miss Potter's class at Seventh Avenue Elementary School in Haddon Heights, N.J.

"Nancy held my hand as I joined her reading group because I was really shy," John remembers.

They saw each other nearly every school day until high school graduation. In sixth grade, they won a silver dollar in a local dancing competition. Senior year, they were chemistry lab partners.

"I really had a crush on her since first grade," John said.

"He didn't let me know this!" said Nancy.


Nancy didn't quickly respond to an e-mail John sent in early 2010, soon after Charlie died. John wrote again, saying that his wife had died seven years earlier, and that he understood the pain Nancy was feeling. "If you want to talk about anything, or e-mail me, just let me know. Otherwise, I'll touch base in a few months, to see how you are doing," he wrote.

Nancy and John began e-mailing again that spring. Text messages flew back and forth for six weeks. Finally Nancy, feeling the first glimmer of romantic feelings, called John. The sound of her voice brought the shy boy he used to be right back to the surface. John ordered himself to keep it together.

That August, more than 40 years after their first date, the two went to dinner in Minnesota, where John was again living.

It made the couple, both now 61, feel giddy as teenagers.


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