Elderly couple celebrates first date, again


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An elderly couple isn’t letting health problems stop them from having a date. 83-year-old Orval and 86-year-old Ellen have been married for 36 years. They both were married once already. They lived in the same apartment complex when they met outside, watching a fire that was happening across the way. But then they got distracted.

“There was a good looking blonde over there,” Orval said. “But he didn’t know I was wearing a wig,” Ellen joked.

After that, Orval tried a handful of times to catch Ellen so he could ask her out. He wasn’t having any luck, so he left a rose at her door. That would become the first of many.

“I got a rose every week until he got sick and couldn’t bring me one,” Ellen said.

Fast forward to today, they’ve ended up here at Heritage Park. Orval won resident of the month and with that comes what they call a dream through the Hospice Heart to Heart Foundation. He lives in the group area and Ellen is in a garden home down the street. Orval’s dream was to leave his room for the day and go down to his wife’s home. There, they’d re-create their first date.

“They had a nice plant in the window. Oh, I remember those,” Ellen said. Orval said the only sweat he had was if he had enough money to cover the bill.

They remember having steak at Don Halls Gas House. Orval thought it was strange Ellen ordered cottage cheese and put sugar on it. She still has her cottage cheese with sugar now. They have a loving marriage, even through deteriorating health and a tough battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

“I just wish I could put it into words,” she said. “You put it into action, with all those things good things that you’ve done for me,” Orval said. Ellen responded with “Well, I wish I could do more. I wish I could take care of you.”

But for today, they put those worries aside and enjoyed their first date.

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