An affirming conversation


photo via No Sidebar

On Oct.19, prior to Hoban’s homecoming dance, my group was enjoying dinner at Papa Joe’s in Cuyahoga Falls. As we were eating, an elderly man came to our table and started talking to us. At first, we were a bit concerned by the approach of a stranger, but after we had an opportunity to talk with him, he proved to be kindhearted man with great advice. 


He first asked us how old we were. When we told him we were juniors in high school, he immediately launched into an anecdote about how he met his wife during his sophomore year at Copley High School, and how they’ve been together ever since. Now married for 53 years, he gave our group some insightful advice on relationships and how to manage them over long periods of time. 


As high school students, we are always told relationships with both friends and significant others don’t last through the chaos of teen life and the many inevitable changes stemming from graduation. However, this man and his wife defied the odds. He was there to prove to us that, with dedication and hard work, love can persevere. 


He told us not to give up on the relationships we have formed in high school, because there is a chance they can go the distance. Giving up on a relationship too soon simply throws away a chance at a lifetime bond. Relationships aren’t easy, but the happiness and memories that come with them often outweigh the hardship and strain. 


Naturally, people drift apart during college as new relationships are formed and old ones frequently wilt. However, with dedication, relationships can persevere through life’s changes. 


Although not all relationships can go the distance, the ones that are meant to be will last. This random, happy man testified to this. High school relationships are valuable. Most of them do not work out, but the truly special ones can lead to 53 years of happiness and love.  


According to this man, the secret to sustained relationships is simple: selflessness and gratitude can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to show people how much they mean to you.


As he finished his story, he gave us one more piece of advice. He told us to enjoy our high school years. Enjoy our homecomings, football games and all other memorable high school events. It will be over before we know it. Enjoy the relationships we have, and keep those people close in our hearts. 


As we each looked around at the other members of our group, we slowly realized that, in 53 years, it could easily be one of us talking to some random high schoolers about how we met our significant other or lifelong best friend at their age. You never know…