Everything was coming together in Janice Rude’s life. She had a stable job and was working her way towards a successful career. And she had found her dream man. But her dad didn’t approve of him, so he threatened to stop paying her college tuition. Rude was stuck in a living nightmare, but to most people, the choice seemed obvious. She should have chosen the money. But would she forsake her love and choose college?
Rude’s dad worked day and night throughout the week. He knew that this was the only way to ensure that his diving board company in Reno, Nevada, where Rude was born and raised, would continue to thrive. Rude saw how hard her dad worked and how much he had struggled at the beginning of his career. So, she realized from an early age that achieving her dreams would require hard work. That’s when she decided to study biology at Occidental College. But she wasn’t expecting this derailment in her life goals.
Rude’s family business never made a whole lot of money, but they made enough to live comfortably, and besides, the business didn’t use profit to measure how successful they were. Rude’s dad offered to pay a portion of her college tuition. To cover the rest of the costs, Rude found herself a job in the college’s cafeteria. This allowed her to attend classes and pay off the rest of her tuition. She was exhausted, but she wouldn’t let anything interfere with her goals, except for one visitor.
The odds were already stacked against Rude since she was a woman studying science, which at the time was rare. She also knew that distractions could hinder her success. Naturally, her dad didn’t like the career she chose, but he supported her anyway. At this point, Rude hadn’t shown much interest in guys. She kept her eyes forward even when they glanced at her. Then, she saw one handsome face whom she couldn’t keep her eyes off of.
Rude would always wake up before her alarm clock rang. She even came in early to work to read the station roster. She loved the cereal bar, which contained corn flakes, bran, wheat, oats, fruit, nuts, jams, and yogurt. She also had her apron and hat on before the first customer walked in. It didn’t matter of people looked tired, well rested, hungover, or sad. She greeted everyone with a smile. Then she noticed one guy who accidentally made his bowl overflow with milk.
“I believe we were simply meant to be. I even remember the first time I laid eyes on Janice,” said Prentiss Wilson, a man who came from a good family. Wilson attended Occidental College and joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity, just like his father had done. In fact, Wilson’s path was planned out before he was born, and his parents demanded he achieved the goals they laid out for him. He majored in law and eventually became fraternity president. Everything was going according to plan. But to stay on track, he needed a healthy breakfast. But he didn’t know that the lovely woman behind the milk would capture his heart. Ironically, Rude knew who he was from the school paper.
Wilson was mentioned on campus all the time. His actions even caught the attention of Rude, who was a sophomore at the time. When the Kappa Sigma fraternity rejected Gene Grigsby simply because he was black, Wilson quit. After leaving Kappa Sigma, he created his own fraternity and his first pledge was Gene Grigsby. Like most people, Rude was quite aware of Wilson’s strong ethics and nobility. But his actions didn’t win everyone over.
As time went by, Rude and Wilson would glance at each other and look away. He always showed up each morning, despite the fact that he hadn’t mustered up the courage to formally introduce himself. “I just wanted to see her and have our little early morning exchange. I actually didn’t think I had a chance with her. She was a year ahead of me and just so beautiful,” he said. Eventually, Rude looked forward to the college’s pre-Thanksgiving dinner, which was held for students every year. She waited patiently for her handsome visitor, but as the other students walked in, Wilson didn’t.
Rude feared the worst. Had he been in an accident? Was he hurt? Had he quit college? Then, one of Wilson’s friends told her that he had gone home, which was 160 miles away in Santa Maria. Despite the distance, Rude was determined to see Wilson again. So, she did something unexpected and drove three hours to see him. But once she got to his doorstep, she started to second guess her decision. Then, before she could turn around, get in her car, and drive away, the door opened, and Wilson was standing there, looking at her with intense eyes.
Rude had made the right move. From that point forward, the bond between her and Wilson grew stronger. Then, he proposed to her a few weeks later. Rude decided that this distraction was harmless, and for a while, everything seemed perfect. Wilson was making plans for their future together. The local paper also announced their engagement. But Rude’s dad drove them apart. However, her mother recognized true love when she saw it, so she kept the newspaper clipping. Years later, after her mom passed away, Rude discovered the clipping. It seemed that then end of their love affair was only the beginning.
Rude recalled how her father had driven her and Wilson apart. “My father forced us apart the following January by refusing to pay my tuition if I didn’t stop seeing that boy.” The couple was devastated. Rude wouldn’t be able to pay her tuition and support herself without her dad’s help. But Rude’s mom believed in their love and took out a second mortgage. Was this couple meant to be?
Sadly, the second mortgage didn’t provide enough money, so Rude chose to put her college education first and end things with Wilson. It left her heartbroken. They’d gone back to giving each other longing stares, but they remained friends. Eventually, they drifted apart and started their lives with other people. But fate still had a plan for Wilson and Rude.
Rude took control of the family business after graduation while Wilson headed off to attend Harvard Law School and became a well-respected lawyer. But Rude never forgot about him. “Prentiss and I should have taken his mother’s advice at the time, which was to elope. I became fearful that Prentiss would be attracted to smarter women if I didn’t get a college degree. He did not understand my angst, and so we went our separate ways.” 50 years after ending their engagement, Rude and Wilson’s moms passed away within a few months of each other. At this point, Rude and Wilson were also recently divorced.
Rude and Wilson learned that their moms had kept the clippings of their wedding announcement. This felt like a sign. So, Rude met Wilson at a restaurant in San Francisco. The two had finally gone on their first date after spending decades apart from one another. Ironically, Rude was as nervous as the time she drove all the way to his home to meet him in her youth. But given how much time had passed, would there be any sparks?
Rude and Wilson picked up where they left off and they still had plenty of sparks. Wilson had also decided not to let Rude get away again. So, he got on one knee and proposed after dating for six months. They ended up getting married at their old college campus, Occidental College. These two lovebirds were finally together after decades of being apart. It was clear that these two were always destined to live happily ever after. Just ask their mothers, who wouldn’t have kept the newspaper clippings if they didn’t believe in their love.