Married Once Again
Editor’s note:The following article, written by Julie Perine, Lifestyles Editor for the Clarksburg Exponent Telegram, appeared in the Celebrations section of the newspaper on June 7, 2009.We thank John Miller, the managing editor of the newspaper, for giving us permission to reprint.George and Mildred were married in a beautiful ceremony on July 18 at the Salem church of Christ building, witnessed by a building full of friends, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ.Ronnie Holbert took the accompanying picture following the ceremony.
"Former high school sweethearts rekindle romance after decades apart"
SALEM – Sixty-two years after graduating from Pine Grove High School, Mildred Gross and George Lemasters are getting hitched.
Following marriages to other spouses, 33 and 55 years respectively, the former high school sweethearts have reunited.
“What caught me were her eyes – the first time around when we were youngsters,” Lemasters said.
The second time around?
Again, her eyes.
“Maggie,” as George calls her, has eyes of blue “with a little bit of sparkle, but a lot of depth.”
George is a romantic, with lots of depth, Mildred said.
Through the years following high school, she had run into George just a couple of times.
He came back into her life less than a year ago, when he telephoned her from his home in Winter Haven, Fla.She was stunned.
The conversation lasted an hour and 23 minutes.
Soon, the couple were conversing daily and making plans to meet.
When Mildred invited George to spend Christmas 2008 with her and her family, he graciously accepted.
“I asked her if I would know her and she told me she had shrunk an inch, had snow-white hair and was wrinkled,” George said.
When he spotted her at the North Central West Virginia Airport, there was no doubt.He would have known her anywhere, he said.
“She is short.She does have gray hair and wrinkles, but she is beautiful.”
Their next meeting in person occurred this past February when she visited him in Florida.
Beforehand, George had “scripted” a wedding proposal over the phone and knew his girl would reply favorably.
When she landed in Winter Haven, he put that plan into action.
“When he met me at the airport, he was wearing a sign around his neck that said ‘Will you marry me?’Then another page came down which said ‘Please?’”
George always was a gentleman.
But there was a day when he broke her heart.
“When we were in high school, we were sweethearts in every sense of the word,” George said.“But there’s always a time in a man’s life when he’s crazy, and I broke up with her.I hurt her badly.”
George said he thought about that incident a lot over the past half century.
When his wife passed away, it became foremost in his mind.
All has been forgiven.
In fact, things couldn’t have worked out better, Mildred said.
“You might call it a fairy tale, but I’d rather call it something which God had a hand in,” she said.
When the couple were sophomores, they co-starred in a school play, “The Redheaded Royalty from Arkansas.”
“He was the main character, the one who all the girls went goo goo over because they thought he was royalty,” Mildred said.“I was the girl who didn’t make over him, but got him in the end.”
Did she ever.
On July 18, Mildred’s grandson will walk her down the aisle of Salem Church of Christ to be married.Her granddaughter will stand at her side as her attendant.
Complementing her full-length ivory dress and partial veil, she will wear her diamond engagement ring and an antique brooch – one which George gave her in remembrance of their first courtship.
Of Salem, Mildred Gross taught school for a total of 30 years at Sardis and Van Horn elementaries.
“She’s a lady who has accomplished so much as a teacher.I don’t know of anyone who is held in higher esteem in her own community,” said George.“I’m proud to have her on my arm.”
Being 79 years of age puts a different perspective on the institution of marriage, he said.
“We don’t have a whole lot of time left, so we’ll make the most of the time we do have,” George said.“If that’s eating an ice cream cone and watching the sun set on the lake or just taking a walk, that’s how it will be.”
Following their wedding, the couple will take a honeymoon trip.
“That’s on the QT,” Mildred said.
They will then reside in Winter Haven.
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