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A Husband And Wife Blessed Late In Life

Feb 15, 2013
Originally published on February 15, 2013 8:39 am

Harriet and Louis Caplan's love story began 20 years ago in a college town in Kansas. Harriet was 48 and working at a bank. Louis was a 56-year-old physicist.

Both assumed they'd be single for the rest of their lives — until their paths crossed.

It began with Wednesday evening outings when a group would meet after work.

"We went to football games and concerts, and I still don't quite know how it happened, but instead of going in two separate cars, you and I would start going in the same car," Harriet remembers. "I don't think we ever had a date."

"Why didn't you ever marry?" Harriet asks Louis.

"Never found you," says Louis.

Harriet had never married either, but suddenly, she says, it was like it seemed right. Louis proposed.

"I said yes," says Harriet.

"She said yes," says Louis.

They married in 1995.

But the couple is confronting issues that are going make the next two years "different for us," says Harriet. "I found out I had colon cancer. And in all likelihood, I have a life expectancy of about two years now," she says.

Harriet tells Louis: "I want to tell you in this period that of anything that I have been blessed with, you are the biggest blessing of my life, and that I intend to spend this period of time — as long as I can — living."

"Well, you hold the same position in my life, and I expect to live it with you and help you live it," says Louis.

"Thank you. You know how much I love you," says Harriet.

"And you know how much I love you," says Louis.

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Katie Simon.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And it is time, now, for StoryCorps, the project recording the lives of everyday people across the country. On this morning after Valentine's Day, a love story that began 20 years ago, in a college town in Kansas. Harriet Caplan was 48 and working at a bank. Louis Caplan was a 56-year-old physicist. Both assumed they'd be single for the rest of their lives - until their paths crossed.

LOUIS CAPLAN: A group of us met after work on Wednesday evenings, and it was an eclectic mixture of people.

HARRIET CAPLAN: We went to football games and concerts. And I still don't quite know how it happened but instead of going in two, separate cars, you and I would start going in the same car. I don't think we ever had a date.

LOUIS CAPLAN: That is true.

HARRIET CAPLAN: How did you decide you were wanting to love me?

LOUIS CAPLAN: That is not something that is decided. It's something that happens. I had been unmarried all my life.

HARRIET CAPLAN: Why didn't you ever marry?

LOUIS CAPLAN: Never found you.

HARRIET CAPLAN: (LAUGHTER) I had never married, either, and neither of us were exactly children. But suddenly, it was like it seemed right.

LOUIS CAPLAN: And I asked her to marry and...

HARRIET CAPLAN: I said yes.

LOUIS CAPLAN: She said yes.

HARRIET CAPLAN: We're confronting, now, some issues in our lives that are going to make the next two years different for us. I found out I had colon cancer. And in all likelihood, I have a life expectancy of about two years now. But I want to tell you, in this period, that of anything that I have been blessed with, you are the biggest blessing of my life and that I intend to spend this period of time - as long as I can - living.

LOUIS CAPLAN: Well, you hold the same position in my life. And I expect to live it with you - and help you live it.

HARRIET CAPLAN: Thank you. You know how much I love you.

LOUIS CAPLAN: And you know how much I love you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: That's Louis and Harriet Caplan, at StoryCorps. The couple still meets with the group of friends that originally brought them together. Their interview will be archived at the American Folk Life Center, at the Library of Congress. You can read more conversations from StoryCorps in the book, "All There Is," out now in paperback. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.