Over the weekend the New York Times printed a wedding announcement unlike those seen every weekend.
Ada Laurie Bryant and Robert Mitchell Haire were wed in Hockessin, Del., Saturday. The bride, a widow, is 97 years old — and will keep her last name — and the groom, a widower, is 86 years old.
The Times reported that the couple met in 2007 when Haire and his then wife, Jean, moved into the same retirement community as Bryant in Wilmington, Del., where the bride had lived since moving there with her late husband in 2001. Bryant and Haire’s former wife became friends.
When Mrs. Haire died in 2011 from Lou Gehrig’s disease, Mr. Haire commissioned a portrait of his late wife from Byrant. After presenting him with the painting, the two shared lunch and, as they say, the rest is history.
Here’s more from the Times’ announcement:
“There was some kind of feeling,” Mr. Haire recalled.
They began going on regular lunch dates and became very close, revealing to each other that both hated going to dinner alone at Country House. Even though they knew it meant they might be labeled a “couple” by the other residents (a “couple” being a widow and a widower who do things together), they started going together.
On Jan. 25, 2012, Mr. Haire, a hobbyist poet, slipped a sonnet vowing “friendship and affection” beneath Mrs. Bryant’s apartment door with a note that said “this represents how I feel in our relationship as a couple.” He was afraid to give it to her in person.
“I was desperately trying to strike a balance between too timid or bold. I didn’t want to mess things up,” he said about the courtship. “I can attest that it doesn’t get easier even in advanced age.”
The romantic relationship between the two progressed and on Valentine’s Day, the Times reported, Haire gave Bryant a sapphire with the intent of having it set in an engagement ring. Bryant refused him at first, saying she would accept it as a friendship ring. To which Haire responded with “I’d very much like you to accept it in whatever way you’d like.”
The romance — and sonnets — continued with some talk of marriage, but it wasn’t until August 2012 that Bryant accepted the proposal.
“There’s a great difference in our ages, as you can see,” the Times reported Bryant saying about her initial refusals. “I didn’t think it was the thing to do because I don’t have that many years ahead of me, but he said, ‘That’s all the more reason.’ I like him very much. I love him. So we’re going to be married.”