Greenfield Daily Reporter - May 16, 2013
Couple who met at library to start new chapter together
GREENFIELD — JoAn Hudson and John Robertson have always been told that old people can’t handle change, but they’re out to prove that adage wrong.
Hudson, 82, and Robertson, 87, will marry Saturday morning at Amity United Methodist Church.
Hudson and Robertson, both widowed, say they weren’t looking for love but found it anyway.
“I’ve had friends say, ‘I don’t know how you found someone,’ and the truth is you don’t,” Hudson said.
“You’re most vulnerable when you’re not looking (for love),” Robertson added.
The couple met three years ago in a Brown Bag Book Club meeting at the Hancock County Public Library, and although it wasn’t love at first sight, their affection for one another evolved as they learned more about each other.
“I came with a friend who was giving the book report, … but for some reason she had difficulty that day. There was this man who just kind of filled in, … and I thought, ‘Well, what a nice man,’” Hudson said. “But I left, and that was the end of it.”
The pair met again, by chance, when Robertson gave a presentation at Hudson’s Christian Women’s Club. They talked briefly after class, but Robertson wanted to know more.
“I knew her name, but she didn’t give me her telephone number, and so, I looked in the phone book, and there were about seven or eight Hudsons,” said Robertson, a World War II veteran and former vice chancellor of St. Louis Community College.
He refused to give up.
“I went up to a woman that I thought knew her, and I thought I was being very subtle and I said, ‘I wonder where JoAn lives,’” he said.
When he got his answer, he worked up the nerve to call.
Hudson was surprised to hear from him, but also pleased when he asked her to dinner, she said.
“But I told him I was so sorry because I’m leaving in the morning for Annapolis, … but I said ‘I’ll be back Friday.’” Hudson, a former elementary teacher, said.
“It was sort of a ‘Dear John,’” Robertson joked.
Robertson wasted no time touching base after Hudson returned, and they’ve been seeing each other since.
“We’ve met each others’ families, we’ve done a bit of traveling together, and we just sort of evolved,” Hudson said.
What first struck the couple is how much they have in common, they say.
They share a love of reading and enjoy exchanging books and talking about what they’ve read. They also both volunteer at Hancock Regional Hospital.
Robertson and Hudson were both happily married for more than 50 years before their spouses died.
They said they discussed whether remarrying was in their best interest before deciding to take the plunge.
“We had good marriages before,” Hudson said. “We were happy, but then, we decided we’d probably be happier together.”
There’s been an outpouring of support from Hudson’s and Robertson’s friends and family.
“… People are so happy for us,” Robertson said. “…Nobody has ever said, ‘You’ll never replace my father,’ and that’s perfect because I don’t intend to replace anyone’s father.”
They hope their late-in-life romance gives hope to other couples, no matter what their age.
“We’ve proved that you can be old, …and there’s still life,” Hudson said. “A lot of people kind of give up, and I think because we both remained active, that maybe helped us…”
Jackie Osting, programming coordinator and leader of the Brown Bag Book Club at the library, has known Hudson and Robertson for five years and is glad they found one another.
“They’re just fantastic people….” Osting said. “They’re both involved in many things around town, …and I’m happy they could be together.”
Collectively, Hudson and Robertson have seven children and 13 grandchildren, most of whom will be at Saturday’s wedding.
They have a honeymoon scheduled for June but have a few things to figure out before then.
“Now, we’re trying to decide what to do with two toasters, four slow cookers and rooms full of furniture,” Hudson said, “but we’ll figure it out.”