* BARBARA’S STORY – by James Osborne

Barbara was a pretty high school student with a bubbly personality, honor grades and a circle of close friends. Life was good.  Besides, she was dating Richard . . . sort of.

They’d started dating when Barbara was 15.  She liked Richard . . . a lot . . . but after attending a Roman Catholic convent school for her ninth, 10th and 11th grades, she felt conflicted – between marriage and a religious life. She had to be sure.  So, she entered a convent.

Six months later when she emerged, Richard was still waiting for her. Barbara knew. Only Richard could make her life complete. He asked her to marry him. Barbara was ecstatic.

Barbara #2

That’s how fairytales go.  Right?

Not this time.

Enter religion.

Barbara’s parents belonged to one religion. Richard’s parents believed in another. That didn’t concern Barbara and Richard, at first.  They paid no attention to such things. After all, they had each other. That was enough . . . or so, they thought.

While Richard’s parents were fine with Barbara and Richard’s plans to marry, the couple hadn’t counted on fierce opposition by Barbara’s father. It was the 1960s and religious bias still held a powerful influence over many of their parents’ generation.  Ultimately, it broke their hearts . . . and broke them up, forcing Barbara and Richard to go their separate ways.

Fast-forward 50 years.

Barbara and Richard found each other, their love unaltered.

This is their story:

In the intervening decades, Barbara and Richard had married others. They’d raised families, pursued careers, and experienced the triumphs and tragedies of life. Among those tragedies, within a few years, both of their spouses died.

“I loved my husband,” Barbara said. “We had a wonderful relationship. I was blessed. But during all that time, never a day went by that I didn’t think about Richard, wanting him to be happy and well.

There were no thoughts of disloyalty. I’m not made that way. I even told my husband about Richard  and he said that proved to him I knew how to love. It was a gift, he said. Wasn’t I lucky to have someone like him?”

I have to admit, just remembering the feelings that Richard and I shared all those years ago often warmed my heart and made me a more caring person, when I needed it.

Richard also freely admits that Barbara was on his mind persistently throughout those 50 years.

“I would hear her wonderful laugh in my mind, and feel buoyed by the great sense of humor I’d experienced in her,” Richard said.

Unlike many couples forced apart by religious prejudice, Richard and Barbara’s young families would encounter each other on rare occasions in parks and restaurants of their hometown. Both Barbara and Richard admitted there would be an emotional twinge, at first, but it passed, and the four parents and their children would mingle happily, leaving the past firmly in the past.

Barbara’s path took her to study accounting and ultimately become a supervisor in an accounting firm.

Richard’s route in life was decidedly unusual. He worked there while in high school, before becoming a teacher. Fifty years ago, a high school graduate could become a teacher within a few months. So, at 19, Richard not only was a teacher in a small rural town, but he also became principal of the local elementary school.

Then, tragedy struck. Richard’s wife died unexpectedly of a heart attack. In his grief, he found solace by focusing on his family, his education career, and his business interests.

Time passed. And then tragedy struck Barbara’s life. Her husband David died of cancer. She found comfort in her family and career. She had a few relationships. But they came and went, leaving her with increased wisdom and few regrets.

One day, Barbara and Richard met, quite by accident. They exchanged recent histories and decided to meet for a coffee  or two. They began seeing each other more and more often.

One day, Richard told Barbara that he was going away for a few weeks on a combination business/recreation trip  to the Florida Keys where he owned a condo. Barbara’s heart fell. Now that she’d found Richard again, the thought of being apart that long was more than she wanted to bear.

Then, Richard invited her to accompany him. Her heart leapt.

Barbara's Story

It won’t be hard to predict the ending! This story will continue in the Tales2Inspire

 Sapphire

Sapphire Collection. 

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About loiswstern

I was in education for just over 20 years when I unexpectedly pursued another passion and entered the world of authors and journalists. I have since published two non-fiction, full length books on different aspects of beauty, but also avidly endorse the confluence of Inner and Outer beauty. I have written feature articles for Long Island Beauty Guide and LI Woman, and have served as Editor-at-large for MakeMeHeal.com, the largest Internet site for plastic surgery and beauty needs. I enjoy researching what's new in the world of aesthetics & anti-aging and devote one of my blogs: www.FabulousBeautyBlog.wordpress.com to sharing cutting edge, hype-free information. I devote my second blog to my other passion: writing, collecting and sharing stories to warm the spirit and inspire the soul. To this end, I have created an 'Authors Helping Authors' project/contest, to create books for inspiration, the first of which is titled: Tales 2 Inspire ~ Beyond Coincidence. It is a jewel of a book, filled with inspiring stories and full color original photos and/or drawings. If you're a talented writer with one inspiring story to share, visit www.tales2inspire.com to learn how to participate. FREE to enter. All you need is the talent and perseverance to do so. Lots of positive platform building opportunities for the winners. Learn more at: www.tales2inspire.com.

Posted on February 5, 2013, in Words to Inspire. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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