Updated: July 19, 2013 3:26PM
Not many summer romances make it to Labor Day, let alone Halloween. And teenage summer romances have an even shorter shelf life. But every now and then, one goes the distance.
When Nina was a teenager in Chicago, her family would go camping in Wisconsin several times each summer. That’s where she met Randy. He was a teenager, too, working at the campgrounds. They saw each other every summer for four or five years and had a romance every one of those summers.
“I really don’t know what broke us up. He lived in Wisconsin. I lived in Chicago. He was working. I was on family vacations. I guess we just each met other people when we didn’t see each other. But I would always think about him every year when I would go back to Wisconsin.”
Years passed. Decades passed. Then last year, Nina found herself thinking about Randy again. This time she did more than just think about him. She did an Internet search for him.
“I had no idea what happened to him during all those years or what he was up to. I just knew he was with someone else.”
The Internet search turned up someone that Nina thought might be Randy. “I sent this person a short little note with a picture of us, asking if he was the right person, and if he was, whether he remembered me. I left my phone number, hoping he would call.
“I couldn’t believe I actually had the nerve to send a letter to someone I wasn’t even sure was him, but the minute he called me, I knew it was him right away.”
It was the same Randy that Nina had crushed on over 30 years ago.
“He sounded exactly the same. I had no expectations of what would happen. I was just curious as to what had happened to him. I’d always wondered.”
They exchanged stories. Nina told him that she had been married and had three kids. She got divorced 10 years ago. He told her that he had been married, also, and had five kids. They made plans to meet.
“When we met last year — 32 years after we met the first time — all those old feeling came rushing back. It was so great seeing him again. I felt completely comfortable with him. It’s like it was just meant to be.
“We’ve been together ever since. I feel that our relationship has come full circle. We have been together for a year now and things couldn’t be better. All the feelings I had for him all those years ago never really went away.”
Randy still lives in Wisconsin, Nina in Chicago. “It’s still a long-distance relationship, but 2 1/2 hours isn’t that long. We see each other every week, talk on the phone for hours every day. I cannot imagine my life without him. He truly is the love of my life.”
Have you ever reconnected with a long-lost love? Send your tale to cheryllavinrapp @gmail.com.