Doug and Ellie

Shared by Doug Church

In the January/February issue of Village Life magazine, in celebration of Valentines Day, we asked our residents to share with us their stories of finding their true love. I hope you enjoy reading about these special couples as much as we did! Click here to read more from our residents.

Ellie and I first met in the fall of 1965 on stage at Nether Providence High School in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. I was a stagehand and Ellie was a stand-in keyboard player for an otherwise all-male band; we were preparing for a rehearsal of the school variety show. She was a sweet sophomore and I was a senior!

The band dressed in white shirts, black trousers, and black ties. Ellie was struggling to tie her tie. A damsel in distress! I swooped to the rescue of fair maiden with the long bright red hair. It was love at first sight! I asked her if she could use some help; she agreed, and I struggled to tie her tie from the front. After what seemed like forever, I failed miserably; so I suggested and she agreed that I might be much more successful if I could reach around her from the back.

I proceeded to wrap my arms around her; in that moment I knew she was the most divine creature I had ever met. It took EVERY ounce of restraint I could muster to keep my delirious self from squeezing the heck out of her! Oh, man! It was a moment sublime!

After my eventual success at tying a right proper Windsor knot, we introduced ourselves. I asked if she would like to accompany me to the cast party; she agreed. We dated through my senior year and the following summer. But as fall of 1966 came, so did my leaving to attend Penn State. In a thoroughly adult manner, we agreed we needed to experience college for me and high school for her. What a moron I was!

Over the next five years we dated on and off when I would return from Penn State for holidays and summer vacation.

Ellie eventually went off to college. Though we never discussed marriage, I always assumed that was where we were headed.

After my graduation in 1971, I invited the love of my life to dinner at my parent’s home. I cooked us dinner with wine and candlelight and music. Strangely enough I do not actually remember popping the question! Just her answer.
It wasn’t YES!

We discussed it instead. I was not a happy camper! Ellie felt we really needed to get to know each other better before taking such a big step. What do you mean, “Get to know each other better!” We had been dating on and off for almost seven years!

And I had known the moment I wrapped my arms around her on that stage.
Now I can admit she was absolutely right. Though I was most certainly in love with Ellie and she with me, her incredibly correct instincts put up large caution flags. We really did not know each other, but more importantly we did not know ourselves.

In a huff, I drove Ellie home and walked her to her door; we went in and argued a while more. Then, in an even greater huff, I walked out and slammed the door!

That was the last time I saw Ellie until May 2018. Though 1971 was the last time I saw her, it was not the last time I thought about her. I drew a sketch of Ellie in 1970 and kept it with some other of my works in a file drawer in my offices. Each time I moved I saw that sketch and thought of what could have been.

Ellie and my younger sister Dee were in the same class in high school. So in 2018, I called Dee to ask if she had a list of her classmates’ contact info for their 50th high school reunion. She said she did, and I asked her if Ellie’s info was on the list.

It was. I was excited, to say the least! I called Ellie. We talked for hours and hours many times over the next month or so. FINALLY, I queried, “Hey, why don’t we get together so we can talk…in person? We did and here we are! Together again! After 47 years! It is a beautiful thing!