A lot of people claim that high school romances never last, we wonder what they would say about preschool romances. Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel are a clear example of just that. They met in preschool when they were three years old and despite their young age, created a remarkable bond. The two toddlers were inseparable with Matt even declaring his love for Laura in front of everyone. As time went on, the sweethearts grew up and went on to attend different schools and the distance took its toll and the pair lost touch. Luckily, that was not meant to be the end of their relationship…
Matt and Laura Met in Preschool
This story goes back almost a quarter of a century. When they were three years old, Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel both attended the same preschool in Phoenix, Arizona. The two kids hit it off right away and became fast friends.
Matt saw Laura for the first time on the playground and immediately knew that he wanted to be her friend. He decided to let her know by following her wherever she went. Laura took the hint and befriended Matt and they soon became inseparable. Their parents thought that the friendship between them was the cutest thing ever but didn’t pay it too much attention. Kids change their friends all the time after all.
Laura Saw Matt as a Goofball at First
When Matt decided that he wanted to be Laura’s friend, he started following her around the playground all day. In an interview, he told Today, “I don’t remember the first time I saw her, but she was always a girl who let me follow her around.”
Laura didn’t understand why Matt was following her around and thought he was a goofball at first, but soon discovered that he was funny and good-hearted. The duo quickly became the best of friends. They did everything together, from playing hide-and-seek out on the playground to keep each other up when they were supposed to be napping.
Joined at the Hip
Spending time together during preschool hours soon wasn’t enough for Matt and Laura, and they wanted to meet on afternoons and weekends too. Their parents already knew each other by then, so the tiny BFFs started hanging out together outside of preschool as well. They actually planned dates and even went to the movies together, although for obvious reasons an adult had to be present.
Little Matt liked to hold Laura’s hand when the movie got too scary. These two friends were joined at the hip and even though Matt was only four years old, he wasn’t shy about his feelings for Laura and wanted to share them with the world.
Matt Liked to Make an Impression
When we think about all the ways in which we tried to impress our friends as kids, hilarious things come to mind. From letting them cut our Barbie’s hair to showing off our ability to do a handstand. Being impressive was much easier back then and a lot more fun.
One of Matt’s favorite pastimes was trying to impress his best friend Laura. He liked to show her how cool he was by reciting lines from all of his favorite Disney movies such as The Lion King.
Laura Helped Matt Learn Things
Just as Matt had known right away, Laura was a really amazing person. She was always impressing him with all the things she knew how to do, and she was even willing to teach him. She taught him how to swing on the swings, draw rolling hills and maybe most importantly, the correct way to eat string cheese.
Those may not seem like super important things to an adult, but if you’re lucky enough to have a friend teach you those things as a kid, they become something you will always remember.
When the age of four rolled around, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Matt and Laura were best friends. It was easy to see since they were inseparable at preschool and also spent time together every weekend. They had a very special connection and anyone who met them thought that they were each other’s sweetheart’s, especially Matt.
He decided to make it official by standing up in class one day and telling everyone that he and Laura were going to get married someday, saying, “Just you wait!” All the kids burst out laughing, probably because girls are gross but also because who really stays in touch with their friends from preschool.
Although no one really believed that Matt’s declaration would come true, he and Laura stayed best friends all through preschool. They would often spend time together outside of class and made sure to attend each other’s birthday parties every year.
Despite the fact that they were only four years old, their connection was obviously quite special. Maybe there was something to Matt’s statement after all? However, as the end of preschool came near, a big change was coming for the two friends, they were going to start kindergarten.
Heading to Kindergarten
Soon the big day finally arrived – Matt and Laura were about to start attending kindergarten. They had finished preschool and were about to embark on their next big life adventure.
The first day of kindergarten is a bit nerve-wracking in any case, but Matt and Laura were feeling especially excited and anxious. The inseparable friends didn’t know if they would be placed in the same class and began to understand that they might not be able to spend the entire day together anymore.
Matt and Laura Went to Different Schools
Turns out their worries were not unfounded, not only were they not in the same kindergarten class, they weren’t even in the same school. It was not that their parents wanted to separate them, but unfortunately, they were registered for school according to the neighborhood they lived in.
Matt and Laura were extremely unhappy when they found out that they wouldn’t be able to spend as much time together. Their parents didn’t understand how deep their connection was and assured the two best friends that they could still play together during the weekends.
They Still Hung Out Occasionally
Although their parents made promises about the kids being able to play together on weekends, this turned out to be only partly true. Life has a way of filling up and over time, Matt and Laura began to see less and less of each other.
Matt and Laura, however, still tried to spend as much time together as they could. One year they even took an adorable picture of themselves with two other friends for this Christmas card. Sadly, as kindergarten ended and elementary school began, the pals began to see even less of each other. They had no idea that eventually their only contact would take place through Christmas Cards.
Christmas Card Connection
While Matt and Laura were growing up, they saw each other less and less frequently. They had once played together every single day and even taken their Christmas card photos together but were now communication only through the yearly Christmas cards their families exchanged in the mail.
Although the two friends missed each other at first, over time they became busy with school, family, homework and of course new friends, and got wrapped up in their everyday lives.
Although in some cases absence makes the heart grow fonder, in many cases people drift apart. It seems like that was the case for Matt and Laura, who after several years had gone by, no longer eagerly anticipated the yearly Christmas cards from the other’s family. They were too busy growing up and living their lives.
Growing up is all about learning new things, meeting new people, and experiencing new things, which makes it easier to leave things from your childhood behind. It was easy to dismiss Matt and Laura’s adorable childhood friendship as a nice memory and move on.
Ten years had gone by in a flash and Laura and Matt were all set to start high school. They were once again enrolled in different schools and thoughts of their old friends rarely even crossed their minds. That was not surprising, since it had been almost an entire decade since they were genuinely close.
So, it was even more surprising when in the fall of Laura’s freshman year something remarkable happened. She was playing around with her friend’s phone when a familiar name suddenly popped up - Matt Grodsky!
Bringing Back Memories
Laura couldn’t believe it when she saw Matt’s name, just looking at it brought back many happy childhood memories. She wondered how her friend even knew Matt and it turned out that they had met in middle school. Talk about a small world.
Laura told her friend all about her and Matt’s special preschool connection. She felt that it was a nice memory but decided not to dwell on it, but her friend felt differently...
Laura’s story about her and Matt’s preschool romance got her friend thinking. She decided to recreate the romance by setting Matt and Laura up! The more she thought about it, the more she felt that they could be a good fit for each other.
She told Laura about the idea, but at first Laura wasn’t sure what to think. She hadn’t seen or spoken to Matt in years, who knew what he was like now. There was no way that their relationship could go back to what it was. Or could it?
The Friend Gave Matt Laura’s Number
Not only was Laura super nervous about being set up on a date with Matt, which is understandable, she was also not sure if this was even a good time to have a boyfriend.
She explained this to People saying, “I was a freshman in high school so I was like, ‘I don’t think so!’” Her friend decided to ignore Laura’s reservations because she had a really good feeling about the whole thing. She gave Matt Laura’s number and she couldn’t believe his reaction.
He Didn’t Wait to Text
Matt didn’t wait long to reach out. He texted Laura soon after he received her number and after chatting for a bit they decided to get together. They made a plan to go to the movies for their first date.
Amazingly, as soon as they met up it felt like no time had gone by. In an interview with People, Matt even claimed that he knew it was love at first sight. The old friends went right back to their preschool ways in an instant.
They Still Had It!
Although Laura and Matt were best friends in their preschool days, there was no guarantee that they would still like each other as teenagers. That made it even more surprising that they hit it off right away. Their first date was a great success and not long afterward, they officially started dating and became boyfriend and girlfriend.
Despite still attending different schools, they were older now and could drive themselves, which allowed them the freedom to pursue the relationship. They were once again joined at the hip and were each other’s dates for school dances and other events. However, college was coming up and would throw everything for a loop all over again.
A Difficult Decision
During their final year of high school, Laura and Matt had a difficult decision ahead of them. They were planning on attending colleges in different states, but they didn’t want to lose each other. After already being separated once, they didn’t want to sacrifice their relationship, but they didn’t want to miss out on the college experience either.
Laura explains their feelings in an interview with People saying, “Right after we graduated from high school, we were pretty hesitant. We were like, ‘Do we stay together? Do we try to make it work?’” Although they had attended different schools before, this time there would be over 1,000 miles between them.
Going the Distance
After a lot of deliberations, Matt and Laura decided to attend the colleges of their choice, but also chose not to give up on each other. They wanted to give long distance a try, Laura from Northern Arizona University and Matt from Chicago where he was attending Columbia College. All in all, they ended up 1,600 miles from each other.
And although they couldn’t keep their relationship alive when they were small children, this time was completely different. They were 100% committed to staying together.
Making It Work
Matt and Laura realized that living their lives so far apart would be incredibly difficult, but they cared for each other so much that they decided that they would do whatever it took to make it work. So, while they made sure to enjoy and fully participate in their college life, they always made sure to save some time for each other.
Living in different time zones, that was not always an easy thing to do, but thanks to Facetime and social media, they made sure to “see” each other every single day. The pair also visited each other in their new homes as often as they could.
They Didn’t See Each Other For Six Months
Even though they used social media and Facetime to talk to each other and keep up with the other’s lives, there were still plenty of times when they couldn’t spend time together face to face. One time, the couple even went six long months between visits.
During their college years, Matt and Laura made an important discovery, they truly wanted to spend their lives together. Unfortunately, the distance between then was getting harder and harder to bear, especially for Matt and he decided that he was going to have to do something about it.
The Final Year
The couple had been toughing it out and it was finally their senior year again, but this time of college. Matt decided to plan a special celebration to mark the beginning of their last year of school. The two were both home for the summer and Matt came up with an incredibly sweet date idea.
They both deserved a break after working so hard during the school year, so Matt wanted to surprise Laura with something both romantic and relaxing. He planned a picnic at their old preschool. That is the most adorable thing ever, but Matt still had more surprises in store.
Matt Had A Plan
Matt did intend to take Laura for a romantic and relaxing picnic at this special place, but that was just the beginning of his plan.
Matt told the Huffington Post, “I convinced Laura that we were going to a picnic at the preschool. We had just finished up our junior year of college, so I framed it as a nice relaxing date.” Despite the fact that they had been dating for quite a few years at this point, Laura still had no idea what Matt had up his sleeve.
The Surprise Location
Although Laura knew that Matt had planned a special picnic for them to share, she did not suspect he was taking her to the very preschool in which they had met almost 20 years before.
Matt couldn’t wait to surprise Laura with this thoughtful gesture. He believed that the preschool was the perfect symbol to help celebrate their love. He felt that their story was special, and it was important for him to take Laura to the place where it all began.
Matt Was Acting Nervous
On their way to the preschool, Laura noticed that Matt was acting nervous. He fidgeted in his seat during the entire car ride. She thought he was just excited about finally revealing the surprising location of their date to her.
When they finally pulled up to their destination, Laura was awestruck by the incredibly thoughtful gesture. She was so happy to have Matt in her life and seeing the place where they met made her extremely emotional.
Laura was already extremely surprised that Matt had orchestrated a picnic for them at their old preschool, but she was completely blown away when he suddenly got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. The surprise proposal took her breath away.
Laura told People about the experience, “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, is this happening?’ I saw the ring and was like, ‘This is gorgeous. I’m so happy with it.’ I had no idea.” Although it was not very surprising when she said “YES!” How did Matt manage to plan this surprise engagement with Laura none the wiser?
Months of Planning
Although Matt actually proposed to Laura on May 23, 2015, he had been planning the occasion for months. He bought the beautiful engagement ring months before the actual proposal and even went so far as to ask for Laura’s dad’s blessing before popping the question.
Matt also got his brother to hide out at the preschool so that he could snap a picture of the surprise engagement and used the old picnic basket his father had used to propose to his mother, which was an incredibly sweet touch. His parents packed the basket full of wedding magazines and sparkling cider. Although Laura didn’t know it, the day’s surprises were not all done.
Starting Their Future Where It All began
Despite the fact that Matt and Laura had not finished college yet, Matt decided that he didn’t want to wait until graduation. He knew in his heart that Laura was “The One” and wanted to put a ring on her finger. Therefore, he went ahead and acted on his preschool pledge.
Matt looks back on the fond memory in an interview with the Huffington Post stating, “I proposed to her at the place where it all began … our preschool classroom. When you like someone, you just kind of stand up and say it.” Seems like Matt really hadn’t changed all that much in 20 years, he wasn’t afraid to declare his love then or to ask Laura to be his wife now.
Matt and Laura Get Married
Matt and Laura tied the knot on December 30, 2016 at the Arizona Historical Society. The preschool sweethearts chose Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” for their first dance to commemorate Matt’s singing Disney hits for Laura when they were kids. Just when you thought they couldn’t be any more adorable.
Matt’s uncle officiated their wedding and found the perfect words to describe their amazing story saying, “For most kids in preschool, it’s about finding your snacks and your sleeping mats, but for them it was about finding their soulmates.” Matt and Laura’s life together was off to a great start.
After all those years, Matt and Laura had finally gotten married, but that was no reason for the fun to end. After they said their “I do’s” the pair set off for the beautiful island of Maui for their honeymoon. They spent two wonderful weeks enjoying the island, but more importantly got to spend time relaxing and enjoying each other.
Laura was incredibly happy and decided that she wanted to share her and Matt’s amazing love story with the world. The newlyweds could have never expected what was going to happen next.
Laura Sent “The Way We Met” Their Story
Laura and Matt were used to hearing how special their relationship was from everyone around them. Now that Laura was an official Grodsky, she decided the time had come to share their story.
Laura sent an adorable picture of her and Matt at preschool along with a more recent photo and the story of their love to “The Way We Met.” This is an Instagram account that shares romantic stories about unique and adorable ways in which couples got together. They knew immediately that they just had to share Laura’s post.
Matt and Laura Break the Internet
In Laura’s post, the couple talks about their twenty-year relationship that began when they were only three years old. Matt talks romantically about Laura and says, “I was enamored with Laura as a child, and I still am to this day.”
Not long after “The Way We Met” shared the story, the couple’s story went viral! Many people enjoyed reading the story of Matt and Laura’s journey. Although the newlyweds thought people would get a kick out of their story, they had no idea that they would be getting such an amazing response.
Their Story Reaches Hundreds of Thousands
Matt and Laura’s story on the “The Way We Met” received over 30,000 likes and almost 1,000 comments at first. Laura was notified that their story had been shared with almost 400,000 followers. And if this wasn’t overwhelming enough, a number of media outlets were contacting the couple and wanted to learn everything they could about the unique story of their love.
Among the media outlets that reached out were The Today Show, The Huffington Post and People, who decided to run a full-length story on the newlyweds.
Plans for the Future
So, what does the future hold for Laura and Matt Grodsky? They have been married for nearly two years and are making the most of their lives. They are currently living in their home state of Arizona. Matt works as an account executive at a digital marketing firm and Laura works for a non-profit that focuses on helping foster children.
The couple bought a new home not long ago and are spending their free time filling it with little touches to make it their own. There has also been a special addition to their little family!
During the last couple years, one of the most important things that have happened to Matt and Laura is that they have become parents... of sorts. Soon after their marriage, Matt and Laura became puppy parents to a dog named Kirby who is cute as a button.
With full-time jobs, a new house and a puppy to raise, Laura and Matt are living busy and happy lives, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet in the future. Maybe even sooner rather than later. The pair discussed their feelings about becoming parents sometime soon in an interview with People.
Want to Have Kids, Someday
Matt and Laura are still quite young and have a lot going on, but they are sure that kids will be a part of their future. Laura told People, “We would love to have kids at some point. Right now we are focused on our new puppy Kirby and our new house.”
It’s no wonder that the two want to wait for a bit before expanding their family. They have had quite a few full years in which they graduated from college, got engaged and married, bought a home and adopted a furry friend!
Grateful For Each Other
Matt and Laura’s love story is unbelievable. They became best friends in preschool, didn’t see each other for eight years, reconnected through a friend and went on to fall in love and get married. The two understand how special their relationship is and are determined to never take it for granted.
“The best thing about our relationship is we are just silly and we appreciate each other every day,” they said to People. “Having gone through a long-distance relationship, you learn really quickly how much the other person means to you and we value our time.”
Matt and Laura Are Relationship Goals
Matt and Laura have only been married for a short time, but they have been together for years and have learned a couple of things about making a relationship work. They feel that one of the most important things to them is drive and positivity.
“My favorite thing about Matt is his humor, he always makes me happy and he is the most driven person I know,” says Laura. “He is always moving forward.” Matt chimes in, “My favorite thing about Laura is her infectious smile and her desire to help those who are less fortunate. She is a force for good and it’s inspiring to be around her every day.” If Matt and Laura made your heart feel tingly, just wait until you read about this next couple that will make you believe in the enduring power of true love.
Her Father Called Off Her Wedding, But Something She Found in Her Mother’s Purse 50 Years Later Changed Everything
College sweethearts Janice Rude and Prentiss Willson fell in love at first sight. The two spent weeks stealing shy glances at each other in the cafeteria before falling in love. The lovebirds were so smitten that they would end up engaged to be married. Things seemed to be on the right track, until something intervened which cause the pair to break off their engagement and go on to live two completely different lives.
After almost fifty years, a personal tragedy would astonishingly reunite them, and they would not let the mistakes of the past dictate their future together.
The Story Begins
Janice Rude and Prentiss Willson were both going to school in the early 1960s at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. They had no idea that they would end up falling in love.
At the time, Rude was a sophomore who was studying biology and Willson was a freshman who was still adjusting to college life. They had no idea the other existed until one day Willson spotted Rude at the cafeteria on campus. From that moment on, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. He did not suspect that this was the beginning of an epic love story. Willson was intrigued by Rude, but he had no idea that the two were quite different.
Love at First Sight, Naturally
Prentiss and Janice’s first real encounter took place in that exact cafeteria. They accidentally bumped into each other in 1962. Rude was covering her shift at the cafeteria when Willson turned up, looking for something to eat.
They had no idea that the other was going to be there, but when their eyes met, something special happened – they fell in love at first sight. Although Rude and Willson were both so shy during this meeting, that they didn’t even exchange a single word. The two of them couldn’t even meet the other’s eyes without blushing.
Rude’s Father Taught Her an Important Lesson
Let’s go back to their background a bit before delving into the romance. Janice Rude was born and raised in Reno, Nevada to a humble family. When she was just a little girl, Rude’s father taught her that if she wanted to be a success in life, she would have to work very hard.
Rude held the deepest respect for her father and took his lessons to heart and carried them with her into adulthood. Although her parents didn’t pressure her into going to college, they did support her decision once she made it. She felt that being successful meant having a college degree. Rude barely knew anything about Willson, until she ended up reading about his exploits in the local paper.
Prentiss Willson Had a Bright Future
Prentice Willson came from a very different background. His family was well off, so it was not surprising that they had his future all planned out for him. When he began attending Occidental College, Willson joined the fraternity of Kappa Sigma, as one of the first steps in his plans for a bright future.
Willson’s wealthy family expected great things from their son. He was studying to become a lawyer was soon made president of his fraternity. His future seemed to be on the right track, of course, that was until he saw Rude for the first time.
Willson Was on His Way Up
Before Rude made an appearance and shook things up, Willson was already building up his reputation at Occidental College. When a black student by the name of Gene Grigsby wanted to join Kappa Sigma, his pledge was refused by the national fraternity union due to the color of his skin.
Willson, who was president of the fraternity, felt this was unfair and decided to take the frat out of the national fraternity union and turned it into an independent chapter to ensure that Grigsby would be able to join. He had already made history by becoming president in his freshman year but was now becoming known for rocking the boat. He was also doing well in his studies, the only thing he didn’t seem to have a handle on was falling in love.
Willson Started Waking Up Early to See Rude
While Willson was making a name for himself, Rude was living by her father’s example and working hard. Her family did not have much and although her father was helping her with tuition, it simply wasn’t enough. To help keep up with her expenses, Rude started working an on-campus job at the school cafeteria.
Rude came in very early in the morning to start her cafeteria job. At this point, Willson and Rude had laid eyes on each other. When Willson noticed that she was getting into work extra early, he began waking up earlier in order to be the first one in line at the cafeteria when it opened in the morning.
Overcoming Their Shyness
It took time, but eventually Rude and Willson managed to get over their shyness. Their bashful stares quickly turned into small talk which over time turned into actual conversations. Willson, who remembers that whole thing as “love at first sight”, continued to wake up early each morning in order to see Rude.
He looked back on this time when taking to the press and said, “I believe we were simply meant to be. I even remember the first time I laid eyes on Janice.” Their morning chats became part of their routine, and if Rude didn’t see Willson in the morning, she would become concerned. Willson made their morning meetings a priority, but the two were still surprisingly ignorant about some important information about the other.
They Looked Forward to Their Morning Meeting
Willson was so enamored with Rude that he would regularly head to the school cafeteria “every day, at 6:00 am, because I just wanted to see her and have our little early morning exchange,” he remembered later on.
He did not suspect that during those days Rude was looking forward to seeing him as well. In the morning when she was getting ready for her shift in the cafeteria, she would inwardly hope that Willson would end up in her line. She liked to work at the cereal bar, because she knew that she would definitely run into him there.
Rude Inspired Willson
Although Willson was just a freshman, he was not having a hard time adjusting to college life. He was both a law student and the president of a fraternity, which was a much bigger workload than what your average freshman takes on. He was also keeping in shape by going running every morning.
He found the energy for these early morning runs by hoping to see Rude in the cafeteria later that morning. He usually headed there after his run for breakfast, and a nice morning chat with his crush. It’s hard to believe, but they had been going on like this for weeks and neither even knew the other’s first name. However, when they did learn them, things took a drastic turn!
Willson Didn’t Think He Had a Chance with a Sophomore
Even though he was a freshman, Willson was already a bit of a “Big Man” on campus. However, that did not make him overly confident in his ability to get the girl. Truthfully, he didn’t believe he had any chance with Rude.
He looked back on that time and said, “I actually didn’t think I had a chance with her. She was a year ahead of me and just so beautiful.” He had no idea that his crush was also starting to have feelings for him. The time they spent together each morning, even though it was only a few minutes, was making Rude fall in love with Willson.
They Learned Each Other’s Names After Almost A Month
After following each other with their eyes and some cautious flirting for three and a half weeks, Prentiss Willson finally learned that the name of his crush was Janice Rude. He was sure that he would never forget that name for the rest of his life and wanted her to learn his name as well.
By then, Rude had already learned his name, while reading the newspaper article about the way in which Willson had helped Grisgsby join his fraternity. The story and Willson’s groundbreaking behavior made Rude fall even harder for him. Her infatuation grew and grew until by Thanksgiving break it caused her to do something crazy. Not many women would have the courage to do what Rude decided to do...
The Thanksgiving Dinner No Show
The Thanksgiving break is usually the first time off the students get each year. At Occidental College, there was a traditional pre-Thanksgiving dinner for the students as a way for them to mingle and get to know each other better before heading home for the break.
In her Sophomore year, Janice Rude was especially excited about this campus get together. She was hoping that the dinner would give her a chance to get to know Prentiss Wilson a little better. She went to the cafeteria for her dinner shift but was in for a severe disappointment when Prentiss Willson didn’t show up.
She Decided to Track Him Down
Janice was extremely upset by Prentiss’s absence. She was worried that something had happened to him and decided that she had to find out where he was. Fortunately, she met one of his friends who told her that he had left the campus early to go home and spend time with his family.
At this point, Rude felt that she just had to see him. She went to a lot of trouble and found out where Willson lived but wasn’t sure what to do once she had his address. Should she try and meet him at his house, or should she just wait until after the break to talk to him?
Rude Goes All Out
Janice Rude had been following her gut all night and she wasn’t going to stop now. She was falling for Willson and decided to go see him. Willson’s home was in Santa Maria, California, 160 miles from school. Rude just jumped into her car and started driving.
The distance was nothing to her and she felt like the three-hour drive took no time at all and suddenly she had arrived in Santa Maria and was rolling up to the Willson residence. In that moment, realization of what she had done finally hit her.
She Knocked on The Door Anyway
Janice Rude walked up to Prentiss Willson’s doorstep and froze. She suddenly realized how crazy she was acting, driving so far to see someone she had only shared a few conversations in the cafeteria with and without even a phone call to let him know that she was on her way.
At that point, maybe most people would have turned back, but not Janice Rude. She decided that she had not driven all that way with nothing to show for it! She figured she’d knock on the door and see what happened. Even so, when the door opened, she was completely overwhelmed. Rude was blown away by the Willson family’s reaction to her sudden appearance.
Rude Met the Whole Family
Janice Rude knocked on the Wilson family’s door and none other than Prentiss himself answered her knock. Her heart started beating faster the moment she saw him, and he couldn’t believe his eyes, but in the end, he was actually happy that she had made such an effort just to see him.
It turned out that he had been thinking of her at the exact moment that she knocked on his door! The whole thing could have been incredibly awkward but became a pleasant affair in which Willson’s parents invited Rude to spend Thanksgiving dinner with them. Things were finally on the right track for these two lovebirds, but unfortunately, the good times wouldn’t last.
Prentiss Willson’s Family Genuinely Liked Janice Rude
In a fortunate turn of events, Willson’s parents became quite fond of Rude. His mother, especially, had an immediate connection with the young woman who had turned up at their door. Something for which both Prentiss and Janice were grateful for.
Rude’s courageous gamble had paid off. She thanked the Willson family for a wonderful meal and made sure not to overstay her welcome. She then headed out for the three-hour drive back to campus. Willson came back a few days later, but little did they know that their relationship had changed after that Thanksgiving night. The change in their romantic status would lead Rude and Willson into a surprising decision that not everyone would be able to accept.
Rude and Willson Were Now A Couple
On campus after the Thanksgiving break, everything changed between Rude and Willson. Their casual flirtation had become a real relationship. Talking to each other for a few minutes every morning was no longer enough, they were now part of an actual couple.
The lovebirds spent all of their free time together and were practically joined at the hip. No one and nothing could come between them. They were an item on campus and everyone knew they were together. Always walking along and looking at each other with huge grins on their faces. The new couple felt that they were destined to be together, which may have led them to make a crazy decision.
Prentiss Willson Decided to Get Down on One Knee
Janice Rude and Prentiss Willson fell for each other so hard that out of the blue one day, Willson decided that he just had to ask the love of his life to marry him. When Rude saw Willson get down on one knee, there was no doubt in her mind that she would say yes.
Unfortunately, the proposal made very little sense, but clearly, they were both young and in love. The two had only known each other for a few months but they still decided to get married even though for almost a month out of that time they had mostly exchanged stares and chit chat and didn’t even know each other’s names. The couple was happy and excited about their engagement, but it didn’t take long for someone to show up and tear their happiness to shreds.
The engagement between Prentiss Willson and Janice Rude was so exciting, it even made the local paper. The couple was over the moon about the engagement, even though they had only known each other for several months before deciding to take the leap.
As the young couple spent more and more time together, they invariably learned more about each other. Luckily, the more they knew about each other, the harder they fell in love. Their future happiness seemed like a sure thing, at least until Janice’s father learned of the engagement and decided that he had to take a stand.
Rude’s Father Issues an Ultimatum
Mr. Rude was less than happy when he found out about his daughter’s decision to get engaged. He felt strongly that the whole thing was a bad idea. Janice was far too young, and she shouldn’t even be considering such a thing while studying for her biology degree.
Janice’s dad gave her an ultimatum – either she would break things off with Willson or he would stop helping her with money for her college tuition. Janice had to decide what was more important to her. The education that she cherished or the young man that she had fallen in love with. Clearly Mr. Rude had not reacted well to the news, but maybe Mrs. Rude would see things differently?
Rude Faced Some Tough Choices
Janice Rude was at a loss when confronted by her father’s response to her engagement. There was no way she could keep going to college without his help, but she was also deeply in love. For a short time, Rude was not sure what the right decision was.
The engagement announcement in the local paper made things even more complicated because everyone already knew about it. If the two called it off, they were in for a lot of social embarrassment. When Rude looked at the announcement again she noticed the final words: “no date has been set for the wedding.” At the time it felt like a warning but over the years it could be taken as a sign.
Rude Wasn’t Sure If She Should Follow Her Dreams or Her Heart
Both Rude and Willson were broken up by her father’s interference. Her education was extremely important to her, especially because she was trying to live up to her father’s teachings that you can only reach success through hard work. She was not willing to give up on her dreams.
On the other hand, she loved Willson with all of her heart. Anyone who has ever been madly in love will tell you that it is a hard thing to walk away from. It leaves you changed for the remainder of your days. The decision felt impossible, but Rude’s mother tried to suggest a possible solution. She wanted to help the lovebirds out and made a big sacrifice to try and make that happen.
Her Mother’s Help Fell Short
Rude’s mother was determined to save the day and took out a second mortgage on the family’s house so that she could help pay for her daughter’s tuition. She made that sacrifice so that Janice could be with Willson without giving up on her education.
Despite all of Mrs. Rude’s efforts, the money was not sufficient, and her daughter was once again forced to choose between the man of her dreams and her academic future. She made the sensible choice and decided to pursue her dreams. Although it was tremendously painful, Rude eventually broke off her engagement to Willson.
Willson Didn’t Empathize with Rude
Janice Rude looks back on those days and says, “My father forced us apart the following January by refusing to pay my tuition if I didn’t ‘stop seeing that boy.’ Prentiss and I should have taken his mother’s advice at the time, which was to elope. I became fearful that Prentiss would be attracted to smarter women if I didn’t get a college degree. He did not understand my angst, and so we went our separate ways.”
The fact that Willson did not understand Rude’s dilemma was what really ended things. That was the moment she made the decision to finish her degree and end their relationship. She may have left Willson, but she never forgot him. They were both heartbroken, but their lives went on...
They Grew Apart
After they broke up, Rude and Willson went on the have separate lives. Ruth got her biology degree and in time took on management of the family business, a company that operated diving boards. The company was so successful, that Rude was inducted into the USA Diving Association Hall of Fame in Seattle.
Willson continued on his path to become a lawyer. From Occidental College, he went on to Harvard Law School and became a tax attorney. He returned to the west coast and ended up settling in the Bay Area. Both Rude and Willson had succeeded in their occupational goals, but they had no idea that fate was going to reunite them.
Rude and Willson would still see each other occasionally on campus after the breakup and acted in a friendly manner. Their whirlwind romance became a thing of the past. When they graduated from Occidental College, their life paths took them even further away from each other.
After they had established successful careers for themselves, they went on to marry other people. Forty-seven years later, the two of them were divorced but they had never run into each other since their college days. Surprisingly, it was after they had both suffered a loss in their personal lives that they would discover something that would suddenly reconnect them. What they found would lead them to an encounter that would once again change everything.
Their Mothers Had Kept the Engagement Announcement
Rude and Willson’s mothers sadly passed away within a few months of each other. Both were left with the job of sorting through their mothers’ personal things when they stumbled upon something that brought all the memories tumbling back.
They both found out that their mothers had kept the engagement announcement which had appeared in the paper all those years ago, Rude even found it laminated in her mother’s purse! Rude and Willson had not thought of each other for years, but finding the clipping reawakened something they had buried long ago. “The mothers got it. The mothers simply knew, and I think we also knew,” they looked back and said.
With all the memories from their special time suddenly fresh in his mind, Willson reach out to Rude. They agreed to meet at a restaurant called Cliff House in San Francisco. The date of their reunion was June 20, 2010.
Although almost fifty years had gone by, as soon as Rude saw Willson she felt the old spark ignite. He felt something too and the couple just picked things up from where they had left off. They began dating and after six happy months, decided to get engaged for the second time!
They Married Where It All Began
The date for the wedding was finally set. Janice and Prentiss were not going to waste any time on their second chance and tied the knot on August 19, 2012. They chose to celebrate their special day where it all began, holding the wedding on the Occidental College campus accompanied by friends, family and even their former classmates.
Rude talked about their lost time in an interview, “We lament every day that we missed being together. That’s about 17,500 days – but who’s counting?” This story is a real testament to true love. It may have taken them 47 years, but Janice Rude and Prentiss Willson found their way back to each other.