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The Longest Wait, Part I

I carry this story around in my heart and knew one day I would include in a blog if I ever started writing one.  It is a true story written by Robert Kurson in 2001.  As my dad, James Baldwin Nelson, Randal Hylman Nelson, is my hero.  Hylman, as I knew him, was my Uncle and my dad’s only brother and sibling.  This article refers to Hylman as Randy so hopefully this will help you keep the story straight.

Robert , the author of the article in Chicago, October 2001, did not know my uncle.  Robert heard about the story and was intrigued.  This Love Story did get around so I am guessing Robert might have read a Midwestern newspaper article written about Randy (Hylman) and Jacquelyn and eventually landed an interview with Jacquelyn in her hometown of Montgomery in early 2001.

I am so happy to have “met” Robert.  It makes the story ever more personal.  He told me this story of Randy and Jacquelyn is one of his all-time favorites so, of course, if I didn’t respect Robert enough as a writer, I am far more fond of him and his writing knowing his personal attachment.  We both think it is Movie Material.  Enjoy this blog series provided by Robert’s beautiful article entitled The Longest Wait.

“When they met in 1943, she was a knockout Southern belle and he was a dashing young officer about to ship out to Europe.  Their short, intense romance made it easy for her to wait for him.  But after he was blinded by German Shrapnel in 1945, he turned his back and told her to forget him.

She never did.  And 50 years later, they found each other again.”

“On a sultry Alabama morning in 1995, a teenager plucks weeds from an elderly woman’s garden.  She has hired him to keep her flowers beautiful, because weeds grow quickly in Montgomery, and gardens left unattended become something different over time.  From her window the woman studies the boy.  Sometime around lunch, she open the front door and starts for the garden.

Though she is nearly 70 and gray-haired and relies on a cane, she move elegantly, the way some princesses do, the way all Southern belles do.  She tells the boy that he reminds her of someone she loved a long time ago, a man she almost married.  She shows him a black-and-white photograph, and there they are…he as handsome as Clark Gable, she as beautiful as Katherine Hepburn…a couple Hollywood couldn’t invent.  The boy asks what happened to this man and the woman says that she does not know, that she last spoke to him 50 years ago, but that she thinks of  this man every day.  “You still love this guy?” the kid asks.  And the woman says she does.

A few months later, the woman’s telephone rings.  She reaches for her cane and makes her way to the phone, where her Alabama “Hello?” is a five-syllable musical adventure.  A man on the phone asks if this is Jacquelyn Yvonne Jackson.  Strange, she thinks… the last time anyone used her maiden name must have been 50 years ago.  The man says that he is the brother of her lost love.  He is looking for you, the brother says.  He lives near Chicago.  Here is his telephone number.  Call him.  “It has been 50 years!” the woman gasps.  Call him, the brother says.”

To be continued!