The Business Brief
An Old-Fashioned Love Story
Romance Knows No Medium
These days, it’s rare to hear stories involving love letters. Romance, though, doesn’t know a medium — only that it wants to be found. While our story began to take off in the late 60s, it actually began many years before. The relationship between my wife’s family and my own goes all the way back to 1944. My father and her father were both injured fighting in the South Pacific. While he was recuperating, her dad met her mom, and around the same time, my dad (also named Tom Walker) met my mom. Back then, the ladies would go to the Sun Valley USO dances, hoping to strike up conversations with the soldiers and sailors that sometimes blossomed into something more. I met my wife, Donna, when we were kids because our dads already knew each other. We ran intermittently in the same circles — but with her being a bit younger and our attention on other things, we never connected or came close to going on a date. I had been away at boarding school during our high school years, but when I got back home from Georgetown University in June 1967, I started to reintroduce myself to the local community. One of my first moves was to date a girl who turned out to be a friend of my future wife, but the dates were strictly casual anyway. She and I only went out a couple of times, and nothing romantic materialized, but it did play a significant role in the courting of
my spouse: When I asked Donna out for the first time, she said, “No.” She thought I was in a relationship with her friend! Once we got past that hurdle, we had an instant connection. We really hit it off, going out as many times as two people could before Thanksgiving Day, 1967, which was the day I was ordered to report for basic training. When I got to Fort Knox, she and I realized that something had sparked between us — neither one of us was ready to say goodbye. Phone calls were prohibited during the early stages of military training, but we managed to keep the conversations going by writing letters as often as we could. For the first month or so, we each waited for the mail on our respective ends every day. One day, I had an unexpected opportunity for a two-week leave over Christmas. Every night, we went out, maximizing every available second. Before I left to go back to Fort Knox, I asked her to marry me. I finished advanced individual training in April of 1968, and we were married shortly thereafter. Fifty-one years later, we’re happily married and still excited about Valentine’s Day. People always ask me, “What’s the secret to making it last?” I give them the same answer every time: “My wife is really tolerant of my faults.” It helps that I still can look at her now and see the same gorgeous woman I married
all those years ago. There’s a song by Jimmy Soul that says, “Never make a pretty woman your wife,” but I couldn’t disagree more. Having an attractive spouse who captivates you is special. Not to mention, people love to be around her. She’s got that gift of gab. I like to joke with friends that she’s not someone you’d want to sit next to on an airplane. Plus, she’s a cosmetologist, so I haven’t had to pay for a haircut in 51 years. My love story might differ from yours, but this Valentine’s Day, I hope everyone can take time to remember those who are closest to you. It doesn’t have to be romantic love, either. My daughters and grandchildren make my life a better place, and I can’t begin to describe how full they make my experience.
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