Wednesday, February 16, 2022

A love story right out of romance novels--but it's really happening now!

 No, this isn't yet another musing on how and why various celebrities are pairing up. This is about a true-life romance that was written about in the Chicago Sun Times Sunday paper--the day before Valentine's Day. 

Jeanne Gustavson thought Steve Watts was cute when they were both students at Loyola University in Chicago 50 years ago. He was the "tall hunk" who was president of the German club. They both felt smitten, and dated for the next 7 years. But the problem was that Steve was a Black man, and Jeanne's racist mother felt that "his type" was only to be allowed in her house to clean it. Fate pulled them apart, and they lost touch with each other. They both married, and divorced. 

Jeanne moved to Oregon after her divorce and took care of her mother until she passed on in 2012. Jeanne retired from her nursing career three years ago. Then she decided to track down her first love--or as they say in The Princess Bride, "her one true love."

Steve had a full life, but had some downturns. He is now an amputee whose two strokes had landed him in a south suburban nursing home, where he'd been languishing for the past 18 years, sure that life had forgotten him. But Jeanne found him. When she asked if he'd return to Oregon with her, he told her, "I'd follow you anywhere." Now they're planning on getting married sometime in October. And her brother says that this is the best possible thing that could have happened to her--and that he "supports it 100%."

Steve is bedridden, but he tells her the only thing that has changed about his feelings is that, "I love you more intensely." She says their love is "more precious" now. "We know this is it. This is forever for us." 

* * * *

Wow! Their romance combines so many of my favorite tropes. First they're both older people now, with all of the assorted physical and mental baggage that entails. Three of my books have older protagonists, because you don't stop being YOU just because your body is aging. Feelings know no age.

Secondly, they were a couple before, but life broke them up. Now they have found each other again, and it's a miracle they both feel the same way about each other. I love the idea that two people who care so much about each other, can hold those feelings locked inside, only to have them flower into full bloom when they meet again, even many years later. Four of my books have this plot line.

And third, the heroine in this romance story is determined and independent, and won't take no for an answer. She doesn't shy away from difficult things--in fact, she's learned over the years to not care about the factors that originally drove them apart. Strong female who loves deeply and forever? Sounds like every one of my romance story lines!

If you want more details, and a picture of the happy couple, check out the story on page 2 of the Chicago Sun Times, February 13, 2022. 

If you're wondering which of my books have the first two tropes, here you go:

Older, mature romances: 

Never Too Old For the Game of Love--hero in early 40's, heroine turns 40 in the book. Both are divorced and neither is looking for love. But it's looking for them!

Recipe For Love-
-hero in late 30's, heroine turns 40 in the book. Both are divorced, and she's the bestie to the heroine in the previous book, which is the first in the Reyes Family Romances series.

Her Last Resort--heroine and hero both in their middle 50's. Both are retired spies--her after 30 years with the CIA, him from the KGB after a severe injury. Will their differences stop them from falling in love? Book 3 in the Minnesota Romances series.

Were a couple, broke up, many years have passed, they meet again:

Love by Design--Third Reyes Family Romance. They were a couple for years, but her family led to their break-up. Now they meet again when he needs a designer to remodel his new mansion--and her boss tells him she's the best in the city. Can they keep things "just business?"

Love Therapy--Fifth Reyes Family Romance. They were each other's "firsts" in high school, and he expected they'd be together forever. But her parents' unhappy marriage caused her to run away from him. Now they meet again at their high school grade's 20th anniversary celebration. Now what?

Two For Tuesday--They met in college. He thought he had convinced her they belonged together, but when they graduated, she moved to another state, breaking his heart. Now divorcing the wife he never really loved, he goes looking for the one woman he has always loved. Can they make it work this time?
The Right Choice--They met in high school. Her parents disapproved of his blue collar family and his choice to be a car mechanic. She's been sneaking around her family to secretly see him for many years. But he got tired of being her "dirty little secret," and made her choose--her family or him? He didn't like her choice, but resigned himself. Now fate brings them back together again. Can it work, this time?

More about all of my books at: www.fionamcgier.com


Tina Donahue said...

What a wonderful love story. Good for them!

I often consider - and grieve about - the loves lost, the minds and talents wasted - because some small-minded individuals were/are so uncertain of their own worth they had/have to denigrate others to feel important. I wonder how Jeanne's mother would have taken it if she realized that we all came from Lucy in Africa. I know, I know, she never would have believed it...but that doesn't refute reality.

Fiona McGier said...

Yeah, the reality is that we're all Black--just some of us had ancestors who moved far from the Equator, so we got paler as the years went by, in order for our lighter skin to let in enough sunlight for the higher cholesterol in our blood to make the essential vitamin D. Nothing God-ordained ("He put us on different continents to stop us from inter-breeding." HUH?), or magical about it.

I always say that since you know yourself better than anyone else ever could, if the only thing you can find about yourself to be proud of is the one thing you had NO influence on, the color your skin was when you dropped out of your mother, then you're a waste of oxygen.

I write lots of inter-racial romances, with protagonists of many different cultures and skin colors, because that's the world I want to live in. A world where you're judged solely on your abilities that you develop and use to make a positive contribution to the world. Gene Roddenberry was a visionary when he created Star Trek to be like that--a world of equals. Of course, he had to eliminate money as a factor of prestige--I wish that could happen too. Maybe sometime in the future, we'll finally be able to realize that all you need is "enough," and once you have "enough," more doesn't equal happier. Check out the Danish idea of HYGGE.