15. An Extra-Ordinary Tale
Love will find a way. For Janice Rude and Wilson Prentiss, this old saying held no meaning for about 17,500 days, until one day, they finally started believing in it. It took them so long because their’s was not a love story you come across too often and they had certainly never expected it would ‘happen’ to them.
14. Cupid At Work
In 1962, Janice Rude and Wilson Prentiss were students at the Occidental college in Los Angeles. They both first met at the cafeteria, where Janice was working part-time while pursuing her studies. The two now call that first meeting as “Love at first sight.” Wilson says, “I believe we were simply meant to be, I even remember the first time I laid eyes on Janice.” It wasn’t as easy as that though.
13. The Lady
Wilson was a year below Janice and though he was clearly enamoured after their first encounter, he never thought she would give him a chance. He was convinced that the bright-eyed beauty was out of his league. But, keeping up with his reputation as a hard-working student, he started to wake up at 6 am every day to go see Janice. While she went about her work in the cafeteria, he tried to catch her attention and made their “morning exchanges” something special.
12. The Man
Wilson was a straight-A student, and held a leadership position in his fraternity, Kappa Sigma. He wasn’t in just any old, obnoxious frat—in fact, his chapter even parted ways with the national organization due to the latter’s racist and outdated standards. Janice found it hard to ignore the charming young man. His intolerance to any injustice made her even more attracted to him. Things were going smoothly. But on Thanksgiving, Janice surprised everyone, including herself, by something that she did.
11. Thanksgiving Surprise
Wilson left to spend Thanksgiving weekend with his family. Janice, a young girl in love, found out his address from a friend and drove 150 miles to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with him and his family. When finally she reached there, uninvited, unannounced and scared though she was, she was still excited to meet her love. Wilson was surprised, not shocked, and was excited to introduce his love to his parents. The couple announced their engagement soon after that love filled the weekend of December of 1962. They could not announce a wedding date because of something that was bothering both of them.
10. A Big Issue For The Couple
According to Janice, her father was “a street-smart, rough guy who didn’t think intellectual knowledge was worth anything”. When she informed him about her plans to marry Wilson, he wasn’t pleased. Wilson was Jewish, and Janice’s family was Christian. Mr. Rude made it clear to Janice that she had to end her relationship with the love of her life. He gave her a choice, sort of.
9. A Hard choice
Although Mr. Rude didn’t value intellectual knowledge, yet he knew the most important thing to Janice was her college education, and ironically, that’s what he chose to use against her. The engagement announcement was the last straw for Mr. Rude. He threatened to cut Janice off financially if she didn’t agree to end the engagement. He was going to make her choose between her intellectual development and the love of her life, something no person should have to make. She desperately wanted to finish her studies and as time went by she started to realize her father wasn’t making her life easy.
Janice’s mother, thankfully, had a different opinion.
8. Mother To The Rescue
Janice’s mother realized that she needed to step in and help. She tried everything to stick up for her daughter, even pulling out a second mortgage in order to fund her college expenses. Her mother saw something in the relationship that her father obviously didn’t.
Even with all of her mother’s efforts, Janice couldn’t swing the relationship if she wanted to continue her college career. There was no way she could pay her tuition. Also, she didn’t want to cut ties with her father, all she wanted from him now was a legitimate reason why he was so against the union.
7. The Seperation
For Janice, the worst part of it all was that her father never gave her a legitimate reason. With a broken heart, she returned the ring to her devastated lover. Wilson said later that they tried to figure it out at the time, but due to how young, naive, and financially unstable they were, they failed. Slowly, life took them to their separate paths and the two drifted apart. It wasn’t the fairy-tale ending everyone thought they’d have untill..
6. The Fault In Their Stars
The young couple, who so recently had decided to spend their life together, had to move on. Wilson went on to attend Harvard University and became one of the top tax attorneys San Francisco has ever seen. Janice graduated and took over her parents’ diving board manufacturing company in Reno, Nevada and was inducted into the USA Diving Association’s Hall of Fame for her work.
5. Life Goes On
Many years passed by and they both kept trying to move on with their life. Wilson and Janice, both divorcees now, crossed path a couple of times, but it was not quite the right time. They both had shared the grief of the break-up and were scared to touch the spot lest they find the other person was healed.
4. An Unexpected Finding
One day, while going through the belongings of his recently deceased mother, Wilson found a newspaper clipping from 1962, it had his engagement announcement with Janice. Wilson was in a state of grieving, and knowing fully well that Janice was going through the same pain as him, as she too had recently lost her mother, he decided to call her for a brunch thinking that they may ease each other’s pain. But there was something he did not know.
3. Nervousness And Apprehensions
Like Wilson, Janice also had found the same clipping in her mother’s belongings, and it kept reminding her how much it meant to her mother. But it also reminded Janice of all she and Wilson had gone through. Although she accepted the invitation, she was nervous of the outcome. Wilson was nervous too. Both of them did not know if it’s going to be a closure or a new beginning.
Janice told her daughter that she wanted to see if the spark was still there, but she was also afraid that, ” This might be a goodbye forever”.
2. Getting Back Together
On their first date, the couple went to San Fransico’s Cliff House, and the first thing Wilson said to Janice was, “You’re wearing the same colored slacks you wore to Thanksgiving in 1962”. The two reconnected and within six months they were engaged and ready to finally be married.
Wilson is actually quite the romantic–he even knew how many days they had been apart when asked,”We lament every day that we missed being together. That’s about 17,500 days — but who’s counting?”.
1. The Epic Announcement
Janice’s mother had kept the clipping laminated and kept it in her wallet for all these years and Wilson’s mother had kept it safe with her dearest family treasures. Wilson thought it was fate after 35 years that brought them together and that, “The mothers got it. The mothers simply knew, and I think we also knew”.
The wedding invitations used were the original newspaper clipping of their engagement from 1962, the same one which happened to bring them back together. On August 19th, 2012 the two finally got married in the student-union of the Occidental College, the place where they had first met.
The wedding also featured six songs that the couple put together, perfectly telling the story of their romance.
The two now live in Napa Valley and enjoy spending their retirement years together. In an interviews since their story hit the news they have been reported saying, “We feel like we’re 18 again,” and that they are “blissfully in love.”
So in their case at least, love did find its way.
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