14 Feb Valentine’s Love
|Valentine Cards for servicemen in World War II|
Happy Valentine’s Day! Can you feel the love in the air? In a few short hours, 130 people will be enjoying the National D-Day Memorials Annual GI Jive Dance at the stunning Trivium Estate. The night is sure to be memorable.
70 years ago, many cheerless sweethearts were spending Valentine’s Day on their own for, in some cases, the fourth year in a row. Even though the Allies were gaining an advantage in Europe; many months of fighting were still ahead of the battle hardened men regardless. To make matters worse for both parties, the German Army had nothing left to lose and thus began a fierce campaign to halt the Allies from entering deeper into Germany, but was ultimately unsuccessful. Soldiers struggled in their attempts to keep in touch with their families and loved ones back home, as did those on the home-front, but communication was extremely limited by that point in the war. As if being alone for the holidays was not already bad enough, lovers on either side of the pond had no way of knowing if their significant others were doing, or even if they were surviving. They had no choice but to wait for the next word.
|A woman saying farewell to her soldier, 1943.|
Love stories from the 1940s era have always inspired me to be thankful for what I have today. One particular story I came across in the news makes me profoundly aware of how difficult it would have been for young love to survive amidst a global conflict and technological difficulties of the time. Now and again our generation forgets the ease of which we communicate with one another. We have taken for granted our fortunes, but history is a reminder of what we should be thankful for in the world today.
Betty Hove and John Grosch were two teenage sweethearts who were separated prematurely by the duties of war. Before a mature love could blossom, John enlisted into the Navy and was unable to stay connected with Betty.
|Betty Hove as a young woman|
John and Betty met in Santa Monica, California while John was working for a local grocery store. Betty had a feeling this boy was special the first time she laid eyes on him, she thought, “He was just so sweet. They don’t make them like him anymore.” Both were absolutely smitten with each other, so much so that Betty would visit the store multiple times a day to talk with John and after his shift, he would take her for a long walk back to her home. Despite his strong emotions for Betty, John could not disregard his duty to his country. Shortly after their first meeting, John enlisted in the Navy and had to prepare for his new occupation. Because their romance was so new, John left Betty with only his name and his picture, but no address to stay connected. Once he left, Betty would not hear from him for most of her life, until now.
Betty continued on with her life, knowing it would be foolhardy to love a vanished man. She married twice in the last six decades and currently resides in Idaho with the family she has created. But when her second husband passed away, Betty could not help but think about John. All of the unanswered questions came flooding back to her. She had many unanswered questions since she was never able to find out whether or not he survived the war or, if he did, where he settled down. Betty’s good friend took on the task of researching his whereabouts, utilizing the technological advances we have today, and discovered he was alive and well in Georgia.
|Betty and John reunited after 70 years, Valentine’s Day, 2012|
At 85 years old, Betty reconnected with John, 87, reaching out to him by sending a Christmas card. He immediately reciprocated with a phone call on New Year’s Day. The two have been in constant contact since, usually talking at least eight times a day, and made plans to get together for the second time in their lives on Valentine’s Day three years ago.
Betty and John’s remarkable story reminds us all to never give up on love, no matter the circumstances. Their story is a lesson that it is never too late to reconnect with a long lost love and to never give up on a flame that has been lit for such a long time. Life leads us through a mysterious maze, but somehow life always seems to find what our hearts truly desire, even if it seems like a lifetime away.