This is a true and documented story.
The year was 1972. I was sixteen years old, dragged along with my mom and little brother aboard a cruise ship I had no interest in being aboard. I wanted to stay home alone and have the house to myself to host a party with the hopes of meeting girls.
Instead, I was sitting down to dinner aboard the Sea Venture as it slowly motored it's way toward Bermuda. Suddenly, there she was. A little miracle in a pony tail. The wait staff brought her to my table as if to fulfill my life long dream. She was stunningly beautiful. Out of my league. But one look into the warmth of her green eyes and I could sense something I'd never felt before. The brick wall of love about to fall over on top of me. For reasons I'll never know, we fell in love. No, it wasn't a stretch to think I'd fall in love with her. It was the other way around. I couldn't believe she'd taken an interest in one shy country boy who'd never had the pleasure of being with a girl in his life.
Seven days later, standing hand in hand as the Statue of Liberty came into view, I asked her to marry me someday when we were old enough. She promised she would. We were minutes away from our final goodbye before she went off to Long Island and I headed for the countryside of Connecticut. A hundred miles apart might as well have been a thousand. But love letters and phone calls kept us in contact. We fell even more in love through our love letters than I could have envisioned. Four months later, the first girl who ever loved me wrote her final goodbye. I never knew why.
Years passed. Other girls had come and gone through my life, none ever living up to the level of love and romance as my first. I did everything I could to find her again. The first place I drove after getting my drivers license was to her home in Long Island. But her family had relocated. I convinced my friend, a DJ on WABC radio, to send out our love song to try to reach her. It didn't work. A few years later, I married someone else.
Nearly thirty years passed without hearing from my first love. I never forgot her. During the low points of my marriage, and every time I'd see a romantic movie, I'd think of my first love. With every episode of the TV show "Love Boat", I'd renew my wish to have a romance aboard the Love Boat that would lead to a happy life together. One day, I decided to use the internet to locate my first love. But searches using her maiden name would bear no luck. Then, almost exactly thirty years from our last moment together, I received a single line of email. "Have you ever been to Bermuda on the Sea Venture?" Surely it must be her!
I responded. It was her. Surely she must have known I was looking for her. But she didn't. It was fate she was trying to find me on her own, at about the same time I'd been looking for her. It was in one of her emails I discovered something of interest. The Sea Venture we had met aboard had been sold and renamed the Pacific Princess. It was the very same ship used to film the TV series, Love Boat. We literally met and fell in love aboard the Love Boat, thus fulfilling the dream I had most of my adult life.
It only took one round of email exchanges to realize we were still in love. But was it real? Seeing her face to face would be the only way to confirm this. So a few months later, we reunited in Grand Central Station in New York. I hired a violin to play our love song as we fell into each other's arms for the first time in three decades. In less than a New York minute, I knew our love was real.
In the year that followed, I sold my business, gave my ex-wife the condo and moved a thousand miles away to live nearby my first love in her new home town in Florida. Turns out I was right the first time. My first love was the one that was right for me. We've been together ever since, and it turned out to be the best relationship I've ever had.
I named my new boat the Sea Venture. One July afternoon, in a secluded lagoon off the Loxahatchee river, I asked her to marry me. I guess she felt thirty five years later we were old enough. She said yes, and our Florida wedding day is planned for April 24th of 2010. And it seems fitting that our honeymoon will be a cruise to Bermuda aboard the Princess cruise line.