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Finding Love a Second Time

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Bill Harlan and Dot Talley

Just in time for Valentine's Day, read this lovely story from resident Bill Harlan about love the second time around.

Everyone needs someone - a friend, buddy, partner, wife, husband, dinner companion, significant other - especially, survivors of long-term marriages. Through many years of caring, each becomes an extension of the other and their dependence on each other is real. My dad could not find his hat without mother.

The most beautiful sight I see on our campus is couples holding hands, giving support to their companion or a person pushing their companion in the wheel chair, or a caregiver walking with an Alzheimer’s patient and in all cases each dependent on the other for love and support.

The pursuit of my second life began on an Inverness dinner outing. I managed to sit next to a young lady (younger than me) on the trip to the restaurant and suggested how nice it would be to have dinner together at some future time. I’m sure I stammered like a high school kid asking her out for a first date.  It seemed that the conversation went quite well but on boarding the bus for the return trip she found a seat with someone else. Devastating to be ignored when you are almost ninety.

During the next few weeks I managed to get on a work committee that she was also on and began making some light conversation about dating. At some dinner functions her friends would manipulate the seating so that we were together. Even with these ladies giving me advice on her likes and dislikes, I was still ignored.

But a pursuer continues to pursue and try to ford the moat that gives her protection from involvement. We all realize that any relationship at our age is short term and many do not want the trauma of suffering through another loss. Even if it is to be short term, we have to live today for today. So I began writing comical poems with hidden meanings that only she could understand. Finally, after telling me once to get lost, she agreed to have dinner with me.

From that moment our admiration of each other has grown daily. We look forward to our five o’clock happy hour and dinner with 10 to 15 friends talking about their daily activities. We frequently attend in-house programs, movies, concerts, choirs, and other special events arranged by our activities director. We go to celebrity attractions, Bernsen life community programs, historic trips to nearby towns, museums and fine dining experiences in Tulsa. Yet, we maintain our separate apartments and continue our individual life styles.

A wonderful combination of loving, sharing and caring.
~Bill Harlan