Finding love wasn’t top of mind for Dave Wright when he went for coffee in the bistro at White Rock Seniors Village last year.
It was the middle of the pandemic, and the 90-year-old was just starting to venture out following the death of June, his wife of nearly 70 years.
But he couldn’t help but notice a certain lady who was also in the bistro that day.
“Over at the bar, there’s some ladies talking and this one lady in particular looked at me and smiled,” Wright recalled Wednesday (July 27). “I smiled back, and that was it. I didn’t even know her name.”
As he played records for the residents over the weeks that followed, the lady with the smile – Christine Connon – moved closer and closer, eventually sitting next to him on his walker.
Connon, 80, said “it” happened for her when Wright was handling the music. A six-year resident of White Rock Seniors Village, she hadn’t seen him around until that day in the bistro.
“It happened just like that,” she said. “It’s like it was meant to be.”
Now, the pair are the talk of the Maple Street seniors’ residence, as they get ready to tie the knot on Saturday (July 31). It will be the first wedding held at the retirement community since it opened as Christina Place in 1999.
Wright said word of their engagement just about made community relations manager Si Cussen fall out of her chair. Cussen was the first one to learn the news, but “she couldn’t keep it to herself,” Wright chuckled.
In the two months since the proposal – “I couldn’t get down on one knee, because if I got down, I couldn’t get back up,” Wright quipped – Wright said he has noticed a lightness at the residence. More residents are emerging from their rooms, and love has bloomed in other corners.
“We think we’ve been a part of it,” he said. “It shows what can happen.”
He said the pandemic and all of its restrictions, in a sense, actually increased opportunities to find love.
“The tighter is it, the greater the possibility of people getting close and fond of each other,” Wright explained. “It can happen. We’re as young as we are at heart. We’re getting on in years, all of us. It doesn’t matter – it’s how we feel and we feel that it’s right and we’re looking forward to spending as much time as we can together.”
Connon, who worked as a nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital after moving to B.C. from England, agreed, adding that the pandemic made her value the relationship even more.
“It does make you feel more about what’s going on in life, and everything, and how we appreciate it,” she said.
Thanks to easing restrictions, dozens of guests will be able to attend the wedding, including Wright’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“It’ll be lovely,” Connon said, thinking of the day ahead. “I think it’s just being with all my friends and everything. It’ll be lovely to see everybody and be together.”
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