Life doesn’t always go the way you imagine it will. No matter how much you want something, no matter how hard you fight for it, sometimes, the universe simply has other plans.
But just as people can suddenly disappear from your life, destiny can also bring people back together. The story of Janice Rude and Prentiss Willson is such an amazing example of this, it makes you want to start googling around to see if it’s really true.
The year was 1961. Janice Rude was a student at Occidental College in California and working part time in the cafeteria to help pay her way through college. One day, while serving students in the food line, her eyes caught sight of a handsome man. His name was Prentiss Willson — and as soon as her eyes met his, something sparked.
After that, Prentiss started visiting the cafeteria more often. Not because he was hungry, but because he wanted to see that beautiful woman serving food. But what he didn’t know was that Janice felt exactly the same.
Then one evening, during a pre-Thanksgiving dinner, Janice noticed that Prentiss didn’t show up.
A friend told her that he was 150 miles (240 km) away at his family’s home. Janice realized how strong her love was for that guy in the lunch line — and decided to get in her car and drive all the way there. “That was bold for me,” Janice says.
Suddenly, the young love birds realized how much they meant to each other. This was something special — and the couple soon realized they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. Not long after, they got engaged, and in 1962, it was announced in the local newspaper.
But their relationship met a tragic end, because Janice’s father gave her an ultimatum — break up with Prentiss or he would stop paying her tuition. “It wasn’t going to work for me. I had to get a college degree,” Janice says.
With great grief, many tears, and two crushed hearts, Janice and Prentiss were forced to go their separate ways. Eventually, they met other people and got married. But they never forgot their first love and what they had together.
However, that wasn’t the end of the story. Because one day, fate would bring them together again.
Many years later, both Janice and Prentiss’ mothers passed away a few months apart. Miles apart, they both went through their mother’s belongings. It turned out that they had both made the exact same discovery. Though their mothers had never met or talked to each other, they both saved the exact same newspaper clipping from the 1960s — the one announcing the couple’s engagement.
Janice’s mom even kept the piece of paper in her wallet all those years! It was as if both mothers’ innermost desire was for the couple to marry. They knew the couple’s love was genuine, and the coincidence was a sign that Janice and Prentiss were meant for each other.
The shocking discovery led Janice and Prentiss to contact each other again. Neither of them was still married and they were no longer under the control of their parents…
So on June 20, 2010, Janice and Prentiss met again to see if there was still a spark. Suddenly, Prentiss pointed out that Janice was wearing the same color pants as Thanksgiving 1961 — and in a flash, the feelings washed over them again.
Six months later, 49 years after they first met, the couple got married. It was finally their time — and 71-year-old Janice Rude became Janice Willson!
“We are so happy. Our marriage is perfect. And of course, we have very few years now to live it, but it will be perfect,” Janice says.
Never give up on love. Tell your love how you feel, say “I love you,” and take advantage of your moments together — because every minute and every second together is worth it!