Debbie and Clyde Keller

10/12/2008 12:00 AM

10/08/2008 7:15 PM

Debbie, 50, met Clyde, 54, when he worked for her grandfather at Chimney Rock more than 40 years ago. They got married last year, and Debbie explains what happened in between.

The lonely girl: I was 8 years old, and my parents had just divorced. We moved to Chimney Rock to be with my grandparents. I was a very lonely and unhappy little girl. Clyde was 12 and always took time to listen to me. He was always patient and kind and never made me feel like a bother. He was my very first crush.

The nice guy: As we got older, Clyde always saved me a seat on the school bus. We sat together in choir and danced together at the local square dances. When he left for college, we both went our separate ways. We married other people and occasionally saw each other through the years. There was always a bond between us. He was the nicest guy I had ever known.

The phone number: In 2002 I was looking up a friend's address and came across Clyde's phone number. I called, and the minute he heard my voice he knew who I was. I was divorced with a daughter and a troubled teenage son who needed guidance. Clyde was separated and offered to help my son as he had helped me all those years ago.

The old emotions: As Clyde spent time with my son and me, we rekindled all the old emotions. I found he was still the kindest and most wonderful man I had ever met. He told me he'd had a crush on me way back then, but I was too young for him to admit it. We decided to really start seeing each other, and he asked me to marry him on Valentine's Day 2004. He agreed to wait until my son's senior year to get married. After knowing each other for 41 years, we were married in April 2007.

Kathy Haight

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