There's always time for feel-good love stories, but this year makes them even better. After almost a year of isolating lockdowns, virtual schooling, limited vacations, and news cycles filled with violence and hate, it's nice to see love prevail. And Valentine's Day seems the perfect time to share this particular story.
Dennis Reynolds met Diane Dubelbeiss when they were 13 and attending Sun Valley Junior High in Los Angeles. They became high school sweethearts and married right after graduation. Four years and two sons later, they divorced and, while still connected through their children, went their separate ways. Both remarried.
Dennis, a Vietnam War veteran, served in the Army after the two divorced.
In the beginning, their sons kept them connected; they'd see each other when Dennis picked up the kids for a weekend. But they lost one son to AIDS and the other following multiple surgeries for injuries sustained during a military mission. Diane's daughters from her second marriage interacted frequently with Dennis on Facebook. And then they were connected through their grandchildren.
"When our sons passed away, we saw each other then. When our granddaughter got married, Diane came to my home. That wedding was at my house in Arizona," Dennis said.
Their story of reconnecting in person isn't glamorous. Diane ended up in the hospital after falling, and Dennis sent her flowers.
"When I got home, I said, 'I feel kind of weird about this,' and my daughter says, 'Mom, he's not asking you to marry him, he's just sending you flowers.' And I said, 'OK.' So, I calmed down a little bit at that time. Who would have guessed that? That's when it would have happened," Diane said.
Those flowers, combined with a visit to see the daughter who lived near Dennis, seemed to do the trick. They spent time getting to know each other again, then remarried on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2020, 59 years to the day after their first wedding.
As a wedding gift, Dennis decided to build Diane's dream home in Las Vegas.
Their story has touched many people, including their loan officer.
"It was during our phone call that Dennis told me about how he's building a home for his soon-to-be wife and how they're getting married soon. I was excited for him and his fiancée, and he went on to say that if I liked that, wait until I hear the rest of the story!" said Chris Lunn from Veterans United Home Loans.
Like all couples who weather the stormy parts of relationships, Dennis and Diane are stronger going forward together.
"Things happen in your life where you get irritated with one another. Leave them alone, give them their space and, you know, just a short period of time," said Dennis. "With Diane and I, everything is back to normal, and she has given me big hugs and a kiss and stuff like that, but we are human beings. You got to be patient and give love a chance to work."
This true love story may have been interrupted, but it's nice to see it all come together again in the end.
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