Annette Callahan and Bob Harvey, both 80 years of age, went their separate ways as teens are reunited after decades.
Annette Callahan was smitten by Bob Harvey, a boy on Gar-Field High School's football team, in Woodbridge, Virginia. She often wondered if the boy she liked from afar perhaps had his eyes set on someone else when she noticed him passing notes to her friend in the study hall. Fortunately for her, Harvey was interested in striking up a romance with none other than Callahan, and as a result, the two high school sweethearts recently tied the knot after more than 63 years of being apart.
80-year-old Callahan recalls going "steady" as juniors while attending school dances and many double dates together. "I remember I liked watching him play football, I liked walking off the field with him and holding his hand," she told PEOPLE. "It was just kind of an innocent time. … I remember Bob and I would sit in the back seat of the car, and Bob would hold my hand, and we would talk and everything, but he would never kiss me. So this one evening, I thought, ‘I’m going to kiss him.’ He was all the way against the car door and I just leaned over and kissed him on the lips, and it was like he couldn’t believe it."
After breaking up 63 years ago in high school, Annette Callahan and Bob Harvey, now both 80, officially became man-and-wife in a ceremony held Saturday.— Journal (@newsjournal78) 22 October 2019
That summer, their love affair dissipated away after Callahan went on a vacation with her uncle and aunt after she met John Callahan, who she went on to marry in 1961. During this phase, Harvey would often call her, but when school resumed, Callahan knew she had to end things with him and she did when Harvey welcomed her with open arms at her locker. "I look back on that and think that was just terrible, it was so cold and blunt," she said. "But I didn’t want to lead him on if I didn’t think I really loved him. His face really dropped when I told him I don’t want to date you anymore, but he didn’t say anything. He just turned and walked away."
Eventually, Harvey met another girl from school and the two got married in 1959. While Harvey had two children with his wife, Callahan went on to birth four kids. Although the thought of her school sweetheart did cross her mind from time to time, she couldn't do anything about it as she had no address or phone number to track him. Everything changed in 2018 when Harvey’s wife passed away and he was diagnosed with blood cancer. After a grueling battle with the deadly disease and a strenuous year of intense chemotherapy, he was given a three-week treatment break by his doctors. That's when he decided to set off on a trip aimlessly to clear his mind.
"On the way back from that, he had his radio on the ‘50s music, and they were playing music that we used to dance to, like ‘Chances Are’ and ‘Wonderful, Wonderful’ and ‘The Twelfth of Never,'" said Callahan. "And he said, ‘I had to pull off the freeway and just sit on the side of the road and just cry, because it made me think of you.'" Reminded of his unrequited love, Harvey decided to look for Callahan and track her down by any means possible. After returning home he googled her name and found John’s 2015 obituary. "When Bob saw it, my husband had been gone for four and a half years. He thought, now he’s lost me again because I’m probably remarried," added Callahan.
Callahan, who didn't remarry was thrilled to receive a letter from Harvey, who managed to find her address by contacting the church listed in John’s obituary. "I had really been trying to find him for about two years," she said, adding that a cousin had recently shown her many pictures of her and Bob attending prom together that she had never seen previously. "But I didn’t know where he was. I’d really been praying that God would help me find him again." Immediately, Callahan dialed his number which to her dismay went straight to voicemail. However, she received a phone call that very evening from Harvey, who told her that he wanted to meet her the very next day.
63 Years Between Kisses - Annette Callahan and Bob Harvey dated in high school, broke up and married other people. Now, at 80, they’re dancing together again. https://t.co/9Spi5MLnZW— Matt Willemsen (@mattotcha) 10 November 2019
"He called me and said, ‘Are you home?’ And I said, ‘Yes, where are you?’ And he said, ‘I’m on your driveway," she revealed of the visit that took place in July. "So he got out of his car, and I opened the front door. He had pink and white carnations, and then he looked at me, and he said, ‘You’re beautiful. I love you.’ And he took my face in his hands and he said, ‘I’m going to kiss you whether you like it or not.'" Of course, he stayed that night, which soon turned into 10 days of blissful dates. In August he visited her once again and asked her to marry him during a trip to the beach.
"We just wanted to keep it real simple," she said, talking about her wedding, which happened on October 19 at Central College Presbyterian Chapel in Westerville, Ohio. "But some of the family and other people and friends wanted to come, so we said okay. We had about 35 people there maybe." Harvey popped the question with ’50s-era sparkler which featured three diamonds on either side. "Bob says one side is his past, present and future, and the other three are my past, present and future," she said, adding, "and the center diamond is our future together.