20. A Love That Was Not Meant To Be

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When Janice Rude and Prentiss Willson set their eyes upon each other the first time in 1962, they knew theirs was a love meant for a lifetime. Yet, soon after their engagement, the pair had to break up. They would reunite later, but it would take them 50 years to cross paths. What truly brought them together surprised everyone and their journey continues to inspire all.

19. Alumni Of Occidental College

www.oxi.edu

Janice and Prentiss met at Occidental College in Los Angeles when they both were young students. It was a private liberal arts college established in 1887 by a group of Presbyterians in the Eagle Rock neighbourhood. There was something very special about that time, and about that age.

18. All Men’s College Or Not

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The College Board had considered converting the college into all men’s  school not once, but twice–first in 1912 and then again in 1931. Fortunately, the decision wasn’t accepted and it remained a co-ed college – a factor that led to the meeting of Janice and Prentiss, fate if you will.

Their love was magical and instant, yet an outside force was about to do anyting in its power to tear them apart.

17. A Country Girl

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Janice was a country girl raised in Reno, Nevada. Her father was a street-smart Southern man who had no interest in education. Yet, seeing his daughter’s interest, he agreed to fund her college education until the day he regretted it.

He wasn’t shy about what he wanted for his daughter, and he wasn’t afraid to be vocal about it, either.

16. Working Shifts

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Janice enrolled at Occidental College in the early 1960s as an undergraduate student of Biology. She had to do odd jobs in order to meet her other expenses, but she knew it would all be worth it. She worked the morning shift at the campus cafeteria while also taking tutoring privately. The morning shift was busy since athletes arrived at the cafeteria, ravaging everything in sight after practice.

Years later she would be grateful she took that job.

15. An Academic Boy

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Prentiss Willson had a completely different background. His father was a doctor in the East Coast and was a strong believer in the education system. Prentiss was sent to Occidental in order to pursue either law or medicine and his parents expected nothing less. He arrived at the college in 1962 and was ready for his own adventure loving his new found independence.

 14. Settling Down

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Prentiss was enjoying his freshman year and seemed to have settled well in the campus. After a month of the semester, he decided to go for a run before his morning classes. This routine was leading up to something more significant as he would start to love it for a different reason.

13. Eyes Meet For The First Time

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The first morning, as he headed over to the dining hall, and served himself a tray of eggs, bacon, and buttered toast, his eyes couldn’t help notice a pretty looking waitress. She diligently served him when his turn came. For the first time, the two lovers laid eyes on each other. Later, they would recall the intense feelings they experienced in that moment.

12. He Couldn’t Breathe

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Janice felt her stomach squirm as Prentiss looked at her. He couldn’t breathe. But Janice was a typical Southern country girl back in the 1960s, so she wasn’t going to make the first move. She blushed and broke his gaze, flirtatiously looking about. It would take one special gesture before they would finally confess their love and begin their romance.

11. Rush Of Emotion

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The next morning and several mornings after, Prentiss and Janice exchanged glances during the cafeteria routine. Both felt an immediate rush of emotion and woke up early to make sure they didn’t miss seeing each other. She was sure it was love at first sight, but then one morning, everything changed.

10. That Fine Morning

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The college semester went about uneventfully with both of them exchanging a ‘Hi’ each morning. The campus was now abuzz with Thanksgiving potpourri, and excited students ready to visit home. Prentiss had to return to his family home for the weekend, so that morning, he didn’t show up.

Janice didn’t know where he was, but she wasn’t going to just sit around and wonder. She went on an adventure.

9. Driving Up To Meet Her Love

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Janice felt an ache in her stomach when she didn’t see Prentiss that morning. She asked his whereabouts from his fraternity brothers. It turned out, Prentiss had returned home for Thanksgiving, and on a whim, She decided to drive to Santa Maria that very day to see him. It was a bold move for a girl in that time, but for Janice, nothing at the moment was more important than knowing if he really liked her. The road from Los Angeles to Santa Maria was unfamiliar and it took her three hours to reach. Janice was now about to have a panic attack because after three hours, she was there.

8. Love Comes Knocking

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Meanwhile, Prentiss had settled on his living room sofa with a book and snacks to munch. Janice was very much in his thoughts but he knew it would be three more days before he could finally see her. Janice almost re-considered before knocking on the door but she just took a chance. When he opened, her face had gone crimson. But to Prentiss, it was the most beautiful sight. He quickly led her inside the house to introduce her to his mother.

Everything seemed to be going perfectly. Until it all drastically changed.

7. One Obstacle

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The next week the whole college knew Janice and Prentiss were an item. Only after a few weeks, Prentiss proposed to Janice during a romantic-getaway and she said yes. They released an engagement announcement in the papers, and everyone was filled with joy–well almost everyone. The engagement clip in the paper had everything else except the date of the wedding, something that would take years to set.

 6. The Inevitable Happens

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Her father didn’t like the sophistication of Prentiss’ family. He was a Southern man, rough and uncouth. He wasn’t happy with their engagement and he had an ultimatum to give. He gave Janice two choices – leave her studies and marry Prentiss or break up with the love of her life and continue her education. Janice didn’t know what to do. She loved him, but she didn’t want to give up her dream.

5. Moving On With Their Lives

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Janice felt like Prentiss wouldn’t respect her if she left her education in the middle. He wouldn’t find her smart and attractive. After much thought, she broke up with him. Heartbroken, Prentiss and Janice eventually moved on with their lives. He went on to study Law at Harvard and became a celebrated law practitioner, marrying another woman. She went back to her family business instead of becoming a biologist and eventually married.

The two never forgot about their young love, however.

4. Miserable In Separation

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Neither Janice nor Prentiss had expected that their first love would have such a deep impact on their lives. They certainly didn’t know that it would affect their future relationships. And it did. Both of them eventually divorced their partners, but their paths didn’t cross until an unfortunate incident. Prentiss’ and Janice’s mothers both passed away within months of each other, and in their belongings, they would find a spark that would ignite an old flame.

 3. An Old Piece Of Memory

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Prentiss, now in his 60s, was going through his mother’s old things when he found an old newspaper clip. Sure enough, it was the clip of his engagement with Janice. Why had his mother preserved it all those years? He decided to contact Janice.

2. When Tragedy Brings The Two Together

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Coincidentally, Janice’s mother had also preserved the newspaper clipping. She realized this wasn’t a mere coincidence. She must see Prentiss, she thought. But she couldn’t muster up the courage. So when she got a call from Prentiss, she couldn’t help but feel grateful. She agreed to meet him at once.

 1. United In Love Again

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It was obvious now that both were meant to be together. They marvelled at the wisdom of their mothers who had preserved that small piece of paper as a beautiful memory. Prentiss and Janice realized that fate had brought them together. They soon got married in a small ceremony and have been living happily ever since.