When most people hear of “love at first sight,” they will quickly dismiss the notion. But, others, believe that “love at first sight” happens all the time and that’s it’s the real deal. While accounts of this type of love are often reserved for romantic novels, one young couple proved that it is certainly possible.
After meeting in college, they thought they were destined to be together and quickly started planning their future. However, there was one hiccup, one of the parents’ at the time disapproved, causing the demise of their blossoming relationship. Little did the couple know, they would be brought back together 50 years later in an ironic twist of fate…
Janice Rude was raised in very humble beginnings in Reno, Nevada. Her parents raised her to be a hard worker, despite her father being unable to comprehend her need for intellectual pursuits. In the early 1960s, Janice enrolled in Occidental College to study Biology, and she had no idea she would meet the love of her life there.
Occidental College, known for its liberal arts and science programs, was a small college in Los Angeles, California. It was established in 1887 by a group of Presbyterians who wanted to learn in Southern California. The College Board originally wanted to turn Occidental into a men’s school, but luckily for Janice, they kept it a co-ed college…
Job At The Cafeteria
In order to cover her expensive tuition, Janice took a job working the morning shift at the school’s on-campus cafeteria. She diligently woke up every day at around 5:30 a.m. to make it to her early shift. When she arrived at the cafeteria, she was greeted by all the athletes, eager to fuel up on breakfast before heading to practice.
East Coast Upbringing
One year after Janice started her studies at Occidental, Prentiss Willson arrived at the school in 1962. Unlike Janice, who was raised in a humble family, Prentiss was raised by wealthy parents who groomed him to become either a doctor or a lawyer. Being that Prentiss had lofty goals and was eager to please his parents, he immediately pledged the fraternity, Kappa Sigma…
After one month at Occidental, Janice was just getting into the swing of things with her job in the cafeteria. She got in early every morning and checked the scheduled stations on the bulletin board to see what was available. Working the cereal station was the least messy job, and often the one that Janice chose.
Their Eyes Met
One day while at work, Janice saw a young, attractive man waiting to be served. The man was Prentiss, who, just starting his Freshman year, was eager to wake up early and begin his day with a run. He headed to the cafeteria and served himself eggs, bacon, and toast. He locked eyes with the pretty server, Janice, and both equally felt that it was love at first sight…
Time Stood Still
At Prentiss and Janice looked into each other’s eyes for the first time, they felt an overwhelming surge of emotions. Janice blushed as Prentiss looked at her, and at the same time, he felt like he couldn’t breathe. Almost in a trance admiring Janice’s beauty, she broke the gaze by serving Prentiss his food.
His New Morning Routine
The following morning and every morning after that, Prentiss also woke up at 5:30 a.m., but only so he could be the first person in line during Janice’s shift. Whenever Janice would see Prentiss, her eyes lit up, and his presence alone made her entire morning. While she was shy in the beginning, Janice began to open up to Prentiss…
Covering The Basics
Their long stares turned to small talk and soon Prentiss managed the courage to say, “Hi.” After three and a half weeks, Prentiss finally learned Janice’s name, and she too learned his. Still, Prentiss continued his daily, early morning visits to Janice in the cafeteria and he learned more about her and her upbringing. When he learned she was a Sophomore, he thought that there was no way she’d ever date a Freshman. Still, the notion didn’t deter Prentiss, and he consistently showed up every day to the cafeteria at 6 a.m. just to see Janice.
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
She got used to his visits and one morning, when he didn’t show up, Janice panicked. It was just before Thanksgiving break and Prentiss was nowhere to be found. While most students headed home to their families before the holiday, Janice planned to stay on campus. It wasn’t until that morning that she realized how much she really liked Prentiss. His absence made her feelings crystal clear.
She decided to ask her fellow classmates if they had seen Prentiss and someone told her that he had already gone home to his parents’ house. One of his fraternity brothers even offered Janice his home address. Often erring on the shy side, Janice suddenly became compelled to do something spontaneous and visit Prentiss at his family’s home. She headed on a long drive alone from Los Angeles to Santa Maria and didn’t know what to expect when she arrived three hours later at Prentiss’ door.
A Thanksgiving To Remember
Thankfully for her, Prentiss was sitting in his parents’ living room reading a book, patiently awaiting a home-cooked meal. When he heard a knock at the door, he ran to answer it, but never in a million years did he expect that Janice would be there to see him. When Prentiss answered, Janice said, “Hi,” and he couldn’t believe his eyes. The girl of his dreams was standing on his doorstep and Prentiss pinched himself…
Meeting The Family
Janice apologized for showing up unannounced and without having called, but Prentiss immediately introduced her to his parents. Janice instantly connected with both parents, but particularly Prentiss’ mother. The family welcomed her to Thanksgiving dinner that evening and when the lovebirds returned to Occidental College after the weekend, everything was different.
That One December
They were attached at the hip, rarely seen without each other, and it was apparent to everyone just how in love they were. They couldn’t go a few minutes without looking at each other and smiling for no reason, and they knew that this was real love. As their feelings deepened with each day, in early December, Prentiss decided to ask Janice to marry him…
It Was Supposed To Be The Happiest Time In Their Lives
When Prentiss asked, Janice immediately said yes! This was the man of her dreams, and it didn’t matter that they had only been together for a few weeks. But sadly, her elation turned to sadness when Janice learned that her father did not approve of the marriage. The couple’s engagement was announced in local newspapers, but with one line saying, “No date has been set for the wedding.”
He Disapproved Of Prentiss
Janice’s father was a blue-collar businessman and it seemed he couldn’t relate to Prentiss’s parents, even though they had never met. Her father went as far as to threaten to stop paying for Janice’s tuition if she didn’t break up with him. Meanwhile, Janice’s mother fought to come up with a plan. In order to help out Janice, her mother applied for a second mortgage for their home, hoping it would provide the family with enough extra income that Janice could continue her studies without her father’s monetary contributions. When this didn’t work out, Janice ultimately decided to break up with Prentiss…
Continuing On With Their Lives
Janice feared he wouldn’t respect her as much if she dropped out of college to be with him. She also worried his eye may eventually wander to find a smarter girl. Prentiss, distraught over Janice’s decision, respected her choice and he carried on with his life without her. The lovers went their separate ways, both marrying different people.
Janice went on to run her family’s diving board manufacturing business in Reno, and Prentiss continued on to Harvard Law School, where he later became a top tax attorney. Although they both married other people, they stayed in each other’s minds for many years. Fast forward to a few decades later, both Janice and Prentiss’ marriages fell apart. Then, in an odd twist of fate, both of their mothers passed away within months of each other…
Twist Of Fate
The pair hadn’t seen each other in nearly 50 years, but as each was going through their mother’s possessions, they found something strange. Prentiss found a clipping of his and Janice’s engagement announcement in his late mother’s possessions, and Janice found the same announcement in her late mother’s wallet. Apparently, her mom had carried around the reminder of her daughter’s true love for all of these years. While Prentiss wanted to reach out to Janice during this time, he wondered how she would receive him.
Their Mothers’ Had It Right All Along
After finally connecting over a brunch in San Francisco on June 20, 2010, the couple felt like they had never been apart. Although 50 years had past, they learned that their mothers got it right all along and they felt destined to be together. Six months after their reunion, they were engaged once more. This time, their invitation included a clipping of their original engagement announcement all of those years ago. Today, they are making up for lost time and enjoying every minute of their years that have left together.