I know that F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong when he said, "There are no second acts in American lives." I know this because I had a front row seat to one of the most amazing and heartwarming second acts ever.
It was not until I was well grown and approaching middle age that my mom (Elise) shared the depth of her love for Peter, her first love. She had been engaged to him for over a year before she met my dad. Mom had a ring that she returned after finally admitting to herself that her mother (Nana) would not accept him. In World War II Atlanta, young women did what their mothers told them to do, no matter how they felt.
Nana set out to find a suitable husband for Elise and did so in Richard (my father), a navy officer stationed at nearby Chamblee Field. Even though he was a Yankee, the shy and handsome man appealed to Nana, who pressured Elise to get to know him better. A whirlwind courtship ensued. Elise accepted his marriage proposal. And life happened, as it has a way of surprising us.
In 1995, Peter and Elise, both recently widowed, reunited. Although their love had been put on hold for over fifty years, they got a second chance--they got a second act for their lives.
- Nancy Rossman, May 2011
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