Mike Mansmith and Nancy Conner were dating in secret for a handful of months when they decided to make their love public.
Their plan was simple: Go to lunch at 11:30 a.m., sit at the same table, act cool and wait for someone to ask the question. And just as they suspected, a few minutes after the pair put their scheme into action, Nancy’s friend — a member of her “gaggle” as Mansmith so deemed them — approached. Are you two an item, she asked?
“I hesitated for a minute, for a second, really,” Conner said, “and I thought, ‘Oh, the heck with that. Yes!’ and that’s all it took. Word was out.”
Although a similar situation has undoubtedly played out in countless high school cafeterias, Mansmith and Conner aren’t teenagers looking to make a statement or college students planning their decadeslong future or even young professionals eager to tie the knot. At 81 and 77, respectively, they’re in their golden years and, like many other seniors, they’re looking for companionship, which they found in each other after their spouses died.
Valentine’s Day is a time when people nationwide may find themselves contemplating the meaning of love. And for those in the second half of their life, Mansmith and Conner are living proof that new love can — and does — bloom in old age.
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