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  • October 22, 2014

Golden Years Romance - Ladue News: Special Features

Golden Years Romance

Cupid Strikes

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Posted: Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:00 am

It’s good to know that Cupid is an equal-opportunity operator, shooting his arrows with no regard to age. Need proof? A couple of couples who met at area senior living communities explain why it’s never too late for romance.

Margaret Donovan and Robert Blanke, The Gatesworth

    Donovan had been widowed 30 years when she met Blanke. “We were introduced by another Gatesworth resident, who arranged for us to have dinner together,” she recalls. “My first impression was that he was a very fine gentleman of the old school, the type of man who still opened doors and carried packages for a lady.” It didn’t hurt that he also had a sly, dry sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye, she adds.

    Since that initial meeting four years ago, Blanke, 97, has introduced 91-year-old Donovan to a whole new world. “We come from such different backgrounds—he was born and raised into a family of means in Clayton; I always had to watch every penny while I was raising my four wonderful children,” says the former secretary. “Now we dine regularly at the Saint Louis Club, where he’s a member, or we go to the symphony with his daughter and her husband. He’s teaching me about golf, too. It’s lovely, but the best part is having someone who cares, who’s so attentive and helpful.”

    Blanke asks Donovan to call him whenever she comes home from an outing. “If I’m late, he gets worried and waits for me at my apartment,” she says. The concern is mutual: at Donovan’s urging, Blanke was recently fitted with a hearing aid, and she helps him put drops in his eyes. “He once told me he didn’t want to live to be 100,” Donovan says. “I replied, ‘Well, I want you to live to be 100. Don’t you want to be with me?’” Blanke’s answer? “Well, maybe I’ll stick around, after all.”

Peggy Foley and Al Parsons, Brentmoor Place

    Foley, who works at Brentmoor Place, wasn’t quite ready to start dating again when she first met Parsons four years ago. “Some of the ladies at Brentmoor Place saw Al line dancing at one of our group outings,” she recalls. “They wanted to learn, so he volunteered to teach classes.” She and Parsons clicked right away, “but my husband of 25 years had passed away only six months before, so I still felt married,” Foley says.

    For five months, Parsons, 69, kept asking for Foley’s phone number. Finally, she finally gave in. “But it wasn’t easy for me,” admits Foley, who is 72. “I’d come home after our dates and cry, because I felt so guilty about going out with another man.” She eventually adjusted, “and now we’re having so much fun,” she says. “We laugh a lot, and he taught me how to play golf, which I really enjoy.”

    The course of true love never runs smooth, as Shakespeare observed, and this couple is no exception. “We’ve been off and on, but it’s my fault—I have a jealous streak,” Foley says. “He’s got quite a following at Brentmoor Place. All the ladies love him, and they always want to dance with him.” But that’s what attracted her to him in the first place. “He’s so patient and kind, and it really shows when he’s teaching. He loves seeing his students’ faces light up when they master a step.”

    When not dancing or on the links with Parsons, Foley stays busy with Brentmoor Place’s ‘Seniors Giving Back to Seniors’ program. “Each quarter, residents pick a charity they collect for and donate to,” she explains. “It’s an active group that’s completely resident-driven—they decided they wanted to get involved, and they call all the shots.” Between her part-time work at the senior community and her relationship with Parsons, she’s happy and fulfilled. “I wasn’t looking for a romance when I met Al,” she says. “It must have been fate.” 

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