Remember the Oscar winning 1970 movie Love Story, with Ali McGraw as Jenny Cavilleri and Ryan O'Neal as Oliver involved in a romance we all believed must never end? We know what happened. Later, there was a sequel to it and I honestly don't know anyone who saw or remembers it.
But today, there are sequels being played out by baby boomers every day, people who are reinventing the definition of romantic love and redefining poignant relationships in later life. They have some very compelling stories to tell.
We know one of these. Our dear friend's husband died of Alzheimer's disease a while ago. Although it was devastating to lose her husband, somehow our friend, we'll call her Ellen, managed to stay positively connected to both of their families and friends and kept an open heart during those dark days. Fresh flowers always adorned her husband's room at the nursing home and there was a glass of wine and a story to share with him at 5:00, as long as he could still enjoy it. Time passed.
Shortly after he died, she attended a high school reunion and purely by chance met a former classmate who was a widower. You know where this story is going. Ellen's new love story is a powerful sequel and we can only speculate how Jenny and Oliver's spirit might view it 50 years later.
Ellen fell in love. Slowly, she and her friend have grown closer and introduced one another to their respective families and friend circles. Their children and step children seem happy, even grateful, that they've each found someone to be with. Everyone's satisfied that they've gained a companion to grow old alongside. Right?
Actually, this is more than a companionship story. It's truly a love story... a romance as sweet as any we can recall. Yes, they met once again at a 50th high school reunion... but numbers aren't relevant in this case. Companionship, friendship? Yes, but who would have imagined the intensity of their romance and the depth of their devotion to one another?
So, today we're watching a beautiful relationship blossom. For those of us who cried during the premiere of Love Story, we're more than thrilled and moved by its sequel. Just as the original movie uncovered the most touching romance of it's era, so we're witnessing a similar story unfold today.
The thing about this story, is that it isn't just about them. Happiness is contagious. Being with people who are falling in love reminds us once again about the mysteries of our own past and present romances. We sense the depth of their feelings and when we're socializing together we find ourselves talking less about memories and more about the present and future. Their energy and hopefulness somehow weirdly makes our own lives seems ageless as well.
In his review of the movie Love Story, Roger Ebert said it's mostly a story about life. Fifty years later, I think we all would attest to the unexpected, life-affirming joy we feel when we're with our romantic friends. Falling in love makes us all feel better, more alive... and closer to one another.
Do you have a love story you're not sorry to tell?