64 Years Later, Two Prom Dates Get Married

Jessica Phelps/The Advocate

The story of two high school sweethearts who reunited after 64 years is almost enough to make you believe in soul mates. Although they only dated for a year in their youth, these two lovebirds were destined to be together.

A Beautiful Junior Year

Bob Harvey and Annette Atkins met in 1955 at Gar-Field High School in Virginia. The two had an instant connection; as Bob put it, “I fell madly, totally and one hundred percent in love with her.” The young couple went to junior prom and took an adorable set of photos. Annette wore a lacy dress, and Bob wore a dashing bow tie. Both teens felt like life couldn’t be more perfect. Unfortunately, the first year that these two dated would also be their last year together for quite some time.

Annette wasn’t a Virginia native, and her parents took her back home to Flordia for summer break. This occurred in 1955, before the advent of text messaging or internet access; to a pair of teenagers, the distance between Florida and Virginia seemed infinite. The freshly-forged bond couldn’t withstand the trials of a long-distance relationship, so Annette and Bob decided to separate. The breakup was full of heartbreak and pain, but it felt like the right decision at the time.

Living Separate Lives

While in Florida, Annette met a man named John Callahan. The two married in 1961 and started a family. Annette worked as a nurse at Jefferson Hospital in Roanoke. She had returned to Virginia, but she did not get back in touch with her old high-school love. Bob pursued a career in law enforcement, later becoming an educator and then a bailiff. He met a lovely woman named Diane and married her in 1959; they had two beautiful children.

Tragedy and Opportunity

Bob’s wife, Diane, passed away from cancer in 2017. He spent two years traveling to get over his grief. During that time, he found himself thinking of Annette more and more frequently. Luckily, the technological problems that separated the couple in 1955 had been solved by 2019. To satisfy his curiosity, Bob typed Annette’s name into Google.

After scrolling through a few results, he found an obituary for her husband, Jon Callahan, who had died in 2015. Bob’s first thought was sorrow, followed by panic. In the four years since John’s death, had Annette moved on to someone else? He suddenly realized that he couldn’t bear the thought of losing her yet again. Still, Bob wanted to play it cool. He gave a respectful donation to the center that cared for John in his last days and included a calling card with his phone number. If Annette was interested, she could make the next move.

Two Loves Reunited

It took eight days for Annette to call. She left a voice message that immediately warmed Bob’s heart. He immediately called her back, and the two got to hear each other’s voices again after 64 years apart. Bob showed up at Annette’s door with a bouquet of flowers. He told her she was beautiful and kissed her, and it was like those 64 years had been immediately washed away. Bob and Annette got married on October 19th at Central College Presbyterian Chapel in their current hometown of Westerville, Ohio. Although they’re both 80, the newlywed couple is looking forward to a long and happy life together.