Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Love Finds Springmoor Couple

Emily knew who Bob was. After all, he was her boss at the convenience store where she volunteers. Bob runs the small shop at Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community, where residents and staff find needed essentials without having to leave the safe, familiar campus.

Their paths crossed this past Thanksgiving when Emily volunteered to take Bob’s hours over the holidays so he could travel to St. Louis and meet his great grandson, whom was born just a month before. Bob’s grateful family even made it a point to meet Emily on their next visit to their dad in Raleigh, taking the two out to dinner. Still, no sparks.

Fast forward to February 14, 2012. Emily becomes quite the celebrity when the local paper covers the staff and residents of Springmoor packaging over 50,000 meals to send across the globe for Raleigh-based charity Stop Hunger Now. Emily’s chipper demeanor, quick smile and magnetic personality captures the attention of the News and Observer photographer and it is a photo of Emily, happily filling bags of rice, that becomes front page news the next day.

This gives Bob something to talk about with Emily when she finds her way to the empty seat beside him on the bus headed to the NC Symphony just a day later. “She had a big smile, and I had an empty seat,” he said. Lively conversation followed, and the two brought each other up to date on what’s been happening in their lives the past 80 years. It turns out they have much in common, even sharing 1951 as the year they married (Bob to Joan and Emily to Milford).

Bob didn’t hesitate to ask Emily out on an official date to a movie and Mexican dinner. Following a six day courtship, Bob visited a nearby Ace Hardware to purchase supplies to make Emily’s engagement ring. He wasn’t sure she would want a traditional ring. He cut down a piece of plastic pipe coupling on which he printed a message to her - “I love you. Will you marry me?” He attached the label to the ring, wrapped and packaged it within four other wrapped boxes before calling Emily to tell her that she had a package waiting for her at his home. “I was overjoyed and ready to say yes,” she said.

Their family and friends stood up for 81 year old Emily and 80 year old Bob this past Saturday. Reverend Phyllis Mayo, Springmoor’s chaplain for over 25 years, officiated the ceremony, blending these two families. They will live in his house on the campus, after they honeymoon in Myrtle Beach, and plan to continue their active participation in life.