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High School sweethearts who went their separate ways reunite 7 decades later: 'It feels natural'

High school sweethearts who parted ways initially got the opportunity to rekindle their romance 7 decades later in a local shop.

High School sweethearts who went their separate ways reunite 7 decades later: 'It feels natural'
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | MART PRODUCTION; The Washington Post | Bill Hassinger

Love is a beautiful feeling and no matter what age, people should not give up on it. Bill Hassinger and Joanne Blakkan are perfect examples of this assertion as they found themselves back again in their 90s, per The Washington Post. The High School sweethearts went their separate ways after their young love couldn't withstand the test of time. However, their feelings were strong after what seemed an entire lifetime they pursued each other again. Today, they are happy and unlike the past, are not worried about anything other than their relationship. They are taking it one day at a time, enjoying each other's company.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | MART PRODUCTION
Representative Image Source: Pexels | MART PRODUCTION

Their story started when the pair were studying at North Muskegon High School in West Michigan. Hassinger was a Freshman while Blakkan was a Junior. Their meet-cute happened on the school bus. "She would always save a seat for me," Hassinger recalled. The foundation of the couple's relationship was friendship, which slowly turned into "love." Their age difference might be a talking point for people around them, but it rarely affected them. Blakkan was smitten. "I thought he was cute," she said. While Hassinger was enjoying the experience of going out with an older woman. "She had a lot more seniority on me and I was learning, so I just followed her lead," he remarked.



 

They were like any other teenage couple and also got in a bit of trouble for their PDA, per Good Morning America. The pair was sent to the Principal's office for making out with each other on the school bus. But they couldn't help it. It was the first time any one of them had experienced love. However, their bubble was soon to burst as Blakkan was accepted into Michigan State and had to move out at the end of the school year. They spent most of the time they had together. Blakkan gave her a silver bracelet with green gems and accompanied her to the prom. They tried to work out the long distance with Blakkan visiting every weekend but eventually gave up. "We kind of drifted apart," Blakkan said.

Life took them on different paths. Blakkan married a guy she began dating in college, while Hassinger tied the knot with another high school sweetheart. Each of them had three children. At 19, Hassinger got drafted into the military, where he served for two years. After that, he was with the Michigan State Police for 32 years. His wife of 68 years unfortunately died in 2021. Blakkan worked as an office manager for a surgeon and later as an allergist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her husband met his demise due to a deadly heart attack in 1989. Blakkan loved him so much that she did not want to date anyone after he passed away. "I had the opportunity to and I just was not interested in it," she said.

After almost 3 decades, she again felt the spark in 2021 when she took the mantle of organizing her high school reunion. Hassinger's name came up. It tugged her heart, but she was not so keen to take the first step. But her daughter Linda persuaded her and both went online to check whether he was single. It turned out he was and Linda pushed her to contact him again. Blakkan went old school with a letter to her "beloved." She asked him for a chance to reconnect. "I immediately called her and I told her when I'm down in Muskegon, I'd stop and see her," Hassinger said.

Soon, both were at a local shop exchanging life stories and their "teen love" resurfaced. She showed him the green bracelet and he was shocked that she kept it for so many years. "I was very fond of him in high school," said Blakkan, who started wearing the green bracelet again. "The feelings came back very quickly." The couple are now a part of each other's daily routine. They go on walks, read books, play cards and solve crosswords. "We mix really well. I like everything about her. It just feels natural for me," Hassinger shared. Both of their families are thrilled they have found each other. They are in no rush to get married or move in together and want things to play out naturally. "The only thing for certain is that we'll be together," Hassinger said. "I wouldn't have it any other way."



 

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