Karen Sharp

Karen Sharp

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Bride, 88, Marries Her First Crush in Traditional Wedding Dress

Elaine never got the chance to wear a wedding dress when she married for the first time at 18.

But seven decades later, after reconnecting and falling in love with her childhood crush, she got the chance to walk down the aisle in a traditional white dress with a veil that she always wanted.

“I kept saying at 88, maybe I shouldn’t wear a veil. My daughters said, ‘Mom, quit trying not to look like a bride. You’re a bride. We’re going to do the whole thing,’” Hall tells TODAY.com.
“When I got up there to him, he said to me, ‘You look so beautiful.’”

The groom is Roland Passaro who is also 88. The couple got married in Palm Coast, Florida, on March 23, the second marriage for both.

It was 74 years ago when the couple met for the first time in junior high school and were each other’s first big crushes before going their separate ways.

“When I saw her in 9th grade, I thought she was very beautiful and exciting. … I thought she was, I guess in today’s parlance, quite hot,” Passaro tells TODAY.com.
He says he felt the same way when he saw Hall walking down the aisle in her white wedding dress and veil: “All this time later, I thought she was just as beautiful, just as exciting.”

The married couple wants everyone to know that it’s possible to fall in love at any age.

Hall and Passaro went to the same junior high school in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1950.

Hall was a cheerleader and Passaro was a star athlete on the baseball team so they often bumped into each other. Hall remembers Passaro as a handsome and very popular boy, and that she felt butterflies for him.

Strangely enough, they socialized at parties and dances, but never dated.

After high school, Hall married someone else at 18 in a no-frills ceremony. The military was sending him to Germany, and the couple had to get married in a hurry. She wore a blue sun dress that was pretty, but not the white wedding gown she had dreamed of.

They had three children and Hall worked at the local newspaper. The marriage didn’t work out, and they got divorced in 1975. Hall was single for the next 28 years.

“I always had a special place in my heart for Roland all through those years,” Hall recalls. “I often wondered how he was, if he was happy, had a good life.”

Meanwhile, Passaro went to college after high school and played professional baseball, but a spinal injury ended his athletic career. He married another woman, and they had three sons and moved to Miami while he went to work for an airline. In 2002, tragedy struck: His wife and one of his sons died less than one year of each other.

The following year, in 2003, both Hall and Passaro attended their 50th high school reunion in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He flew in from Miami and she came from Atlantic City, New Jersey, where she bought a condo after retiring.

They both recognized each other right away, felt their familiar chemistry and exchanged contact information. At the end of the night, he kissed her spontaneously.

With no time to waste, they spoke on the phone for hours and emailed each other every day. Over the next few months, a romance developed, and she visited him in Florida. By Christmas 2004, Hall moved in with Passaro in Miami.

They were happy in their relationship, but never talked about marriage for almost 20 years.

When people first met them, they always asked the silver-haired couple: “How long have you two been married?”
After somebody asked them yet again in late 2022, Hall turned to Passaro and said, “What do you think about getting married?” He replied, “I think we should.”

They ended up getting married at the gated community where they lived with their family in attendance. Passaro’s son Jim, an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, performed the ceremony. His other son was his best man.

Hall’s son died in 2021, so her two daughters walked her down the aisle and the couple’s great-granddaughters were flower girls.

Neither of them expected to fall in love later in life but emphasized that it’s absolutely possible.

“It’s wonderful” to be newlyweds as they approach 90, Passaro says.
“I feel the same way as I did at 15,” Hall adds. “I still get the butterflies. I just love him so much.”
To stay healthy in their late 80s, they golf at least twice a week and walk as much as they can. Passaro also exercises at home, including push-ups and sit-ups every night. “You’ve got to keep moving,” he says. “The real deal is not to sit down on the sofa and stay there the rest of your life.”

To stay young and sharp they read to each other and do puzzles. Good genes play a role as well since both of Passaro’s parents lived into their 90s, and Hall’s father did as well.

She’s still in awe by the power of love at any age.

“I thought I had my life all figured out. Retire to the beach, (be with) my friends and my family. But when it did happen, to me it was pure and simple chemistry,” Hall says

Source: Today

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