Romance blossomed at Carolina Meadows over the last 18 months without the help of Cupid’s Valentine arrow. Six widows and widowers found each other in very different ways and are now happily married.
Ed and Shirley Mammen hadn’t seen each other in 72 years when a chance phone call reconnected them.
“I was trying to reach an old friend when it was suggested Shirley might know the address,” Ed explained. “As soon as she heard my voice she said she knew I was a Paducah, Kentucky boy!”
“We’d attended the same grade school and high school. She was a drum majorette while I played in the marching band. Her father was a doctor who treated my father. We knew all the same people.”
A four-month telephone romance culminated in a wedding on July 29, 2010, in Shootout Mountain west of Asheville, where Shirley had retired. The Mammens now live in the best of two worlds – six months during warm weather in Shirley’s mountain house and the other six months in Ed’s Carolina Meadows apartment.
Guy and Phyllis Sickmond met on the internet. “I was living in Wilmington, NC, when my spouse died,” Phyllis explained. “Shortly thereafter Seniors Meet People Social Networking popped up on my computer screen. I became curious and eventually posted my photo and profile.”
“Coincidentally, the same thing happened to Guy at about the same time. We connected in late June. After exchanging E-mails and phone calls, Guy drove to Wilmington to take me out to lunch. A week later my grandson was getting married in Raleigh and we met each other again.”
The Sickmonds married October 22, 2011, and now have a huge combined family. Each had a first marriage that lasted ten years and a second marriage that lasted 30 years until the death of their spouses. Between them, they now have 6 children, 12 grandchildren, 2 great grand children, 6 stepchildren, 11 step grandchildren and 5 step great grandchildren! In addition, Phyllis developed a deep bond with a Swedish exchange student and her family, all of whom who she now considers part of her extended family.
Joe Mengel and Candy Owens became good friends through a common hobby — photography. They were founding members of the CM Photo Club in 2006 and have worked closely together ever since.
The club focused at first on learning how to use digital cameras, then moved on to sponsoring photo competitions and mounting displays throughout the campus. More recently members redecorated the Health Center Study walls with their photographs of campus scenes and are now working on the new Maintenance Building walls.
With both of their spouses deceased, friendship turned to romance last fall. “We found we had so much in common,” Candy observed. “For one thing we’re both native North Carolinians and UNC graduates.”
Fellow resident and UCC Minister Myles Walburn married them on New Year’s Eve, 2011. “It’s really special to marry one of your best friends,” Candy and Joe agreed.
By Rita Borden