WALLA WALLA - That was then, this is now.
Kathy Grose and Gene Michaels were married decades ago and Feb. 14, they will remarry. Now, both in their 50s, older and wiser, they reawakened the love they discovered so long ago.
"We met at work in 1974 in Culver City Calif.," he said. They married July 5, 1975, and moved to Fontana, Calif. They divorced July 5, 1977, after exactly two years of marriage.
They went their separate ways and each eventually remarried. They spent 25 years in these marriages, but over time the marriages came apart.
After the recent turn of the century, they found themselves on their own again. Each had given up on ever finding love or trying marriage again.
"My sister, Karen Larsen, found Gene on Facebook back in February of last year," she said.
Then Grose and Michaels were reintroduced. After about 37 years they began to communicate with each other and amazingly enough, the spark was still there.
"When we first met in 1974, I was working at Ideal Metals in Culver City," he said. "She was newly hired. When I saw her walk in I thought ‘I'm going to marry that girl.' I was just knocked sideways but back then I was real nervous around her."
They agreed that even though they were in their 20s, they were still children.
He said, "I wasn't ready. I still wanted to party. I was immature."
"We were immature," she added.
For both of them, much has changed but so much remained the same.
"It's so remarkable. We are exactly the same people but with maturity. He is such a gentleman," she said.
"For me she's the same. Those beautiful eyes that I remember. She's the ultimate human being, so kind and caring. We were good then, we were great then. But I was immature," he said.
"We were immature," she reminded.
So, decades and worlds away from the past, they began talking to each other on Facebook. After this they communicated by email.
"I'm not a computer guy, but I learned how to send email so I could talk with her. I had a camera on my computer; she went out and bought a camera for her computer so we could see each other."
He made a trip up here to see her in person and after so many years it felt comfortable, real and right.
"I was just like a teenager, just love struck," he said.
"We talked daily," she said.
He proposed to her in November and she said yes. They chose Valentine's Day to be married.
"It's perfect, romantic, and I'll never forget my anniversary," he said.
He says once he allowed God into his life, he suddenly got Kathy back. They are both awakening to their spiritual nature and allowing the good things to happen that are meant for them.
When he visited in May he was entranced.
"All this time went by and we reconnected. Time just stopped and we started right back up on the same axis, the same plane," he said.
"We know each other," they said.
And because they each know themselves now and are comfortable with who they are, they are comfortable with each other. Their comfort with one another is a big part of it.
"I'm a sports nut and she's a great mother. I can't say enough about her," he said.
They have family here. She has a daughter who just turned 21. He brought his mom here with him and her dad lives in a portion of their house. He is a retired postal worker. She has two businesses: managing guest houses and K & K Kleaning Services.
They had each given up on love and finding a marriage that would last. Just as soon as they each gave up and stopped struggling, trying to make a relationship happen, such as going to bars or online dating, then suddenly this relationship blossomed.
"I gave up. She gave up. Then a higher power stepped in," he said.
"I didn't move up here to make a new friend. I came up here to get married. I've never had it so good; I'm the luckiest man in the world," he said.
"We both have a life now," she said. "I can live my life now."
They agreed they have found their spiritual and earthly purpose. They have dreams, optimism and a whole new life to live in love.