A misunderstanding pulled a couple of high school sweethearts apart for 50 years - but they've finally found each other again.
In the late 1950s, Diane Harris and Rodney Day were inseparable high school sweethearts in Napa Valley, California. One of their favorite date night activities was going to drive-in movies—though they probably didn’t pay much attention to what was on the screen.
But one night in June 1959, the couple was driving back from the drive-in theatre late at night when Day’s car drifted off the side of the road, and flipped over into a ditch. Both Day and Harris were badly injured: many of Day’s teeth were knocked out, and Harris suffered several broken bones.
After the accident, the two teens were taken to separate hospitals. Harris spent a long time in the hospital, recuperating from her injuries. Her friends crowded around her bed to cheer her up, but Day never came to see her.
Harris’ mother, who had never liked her daughter’s boyfriend, told her a lie: that Day wanted to break up with her. Harris was devastated.
Meanwhile, Day was longing to visit his injured girlfriend—but while he was in the hospital, Harris’ mother had come to see him. She had told him that Harris never wanted to see him again.
Both of the teens fell for the story, and were heartbroken. Neither made an effort to contact the other, and eventually, they moved on with their lives.
Harris got married and had three children, but the marriage ended. A subsequent marriage also ended in divorce.
Day, who’d been enlisted in the Navy at the time of the accident, was deployed soon after graduation. After leaving the Navy, he got married and became a deputy sheriff in Southern California. His wife passed away in 2007, after 43 years of marriage.
After his wife’s death, Day found himself thinking about his old high school girlfriend, wondering what had gone wrong. So, of course, he Googled her—and found a physical address for a woman with the same name. He wasn’t sure whether he had the right woman, but he decided to send her a letter, just in case.
“I wasn’t sure if it was her, and I’m not good on the phone, so I just wrote her a letter,” Day told the New York Post. “I figured that if it’s not her, she can just wad it up.”
Sure enough, he’d contacted the right Diane Harris—he received an email from her just days later. It soon became clear what Harris’ mother had done—but rather than dwell on regrets of the past, they became eager to rebuild their relationship. They were soon writing and calling one another every day, and, within two weeks, they’d arranged for a reunion in Calistoga, where Harris now lived.
Although both Harris and Day were apprehensive about seeing one another again after so long, “it was like 50 years apart hadn’t happened,” said Day.
On the 4th of July, Day gave Harris his high school class ring for the second time—now, as an engagement ring. They got married last Saturday.
“At last, it’s happening,” said Harris. Only 50 years behind schedule.