As Gary, 26, sat at a stoplight in 1967, he wasn’t expecting to be rear-ended by a drunk driver. And when his doctor later prescribed physical therapy, Gary also didn’t expect to fall in love with his therapist, Phyllis, 24. The two married April 12, 1969. Gary, of Matthews, tells their story.
The one good thing: The accident happened while I was living in Deerfield, Ill. I didn’t break any bones but I learned real fast what whiplash was. Afterwards, I was in tremendous pain and my doctor prescribed stretching, medication and physical therapy twice a week at the hospital. I was game for anything that could possibly make me feel better. Phyllis was my physical therapist and I thought she was a very nice-looking young lady. I got to know her and eventually got up the nerve to ask her out.
McDonald’s date: Phyllis turned me down and said it wasn’t proper for her to date patients. So I waited almost three months till I finished therapy, and with lots of coaxing, finally got her to accept a date with me. Afraid of “overdoing it” on the first date, I took her to McDonald’s for a hamburger and a coke and then brought her straight home. Phyllis has never let me forget that.
So similar: As we continued to spend time together, Phyllis and I discovered we liked many of the same movies and music. We enjoyed going into Chicago together for concerts like Glen Campbell and Peter, Paul and Mary.
Unexpected blessing: At the time, Phyllis and I lived in adjacent towns and didn’t have the same social circles, so I don’t think our paths would have ever crossed if not for the accident. We’ve now been married 43 years and are blessed with three grown daughters and three grandchildren. Hilary Trenda
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