Great-Grandmother Marries Ex-Fiance After 64 Years Apart

By Sarah Le, Epoch Times
November 17, 2018 Updated: November 17, 2018

Janet Skillingstad, an 82-year-old great-grandmother from Minnesota, recently got back together with the teenage boyfriend she rejected more than six decades ago, and the pair couldn’t be happier.

“Not too many people get a second chance,” said 81-year-old Gene Ertel in a touching video from “Boyd Huppert’s Land of 10,000 Stories” by KARE11.

Ertel proposed to his girlfriend in 1954, and at first she said yes. However, she started to think about her desire to go to school and become a nurse, and she soon gave the ring back.

“I didn’t want to tie him down for three years,” she said. “I thought I was doing the right thing at the time.”

The couple went their separate ways, but Ertel never forgot her.

Janet & Gene just got married – 64 years after Janet broke off their engagement to go to nursing school. Both married…

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Boyd Huppert's Land of 10,000 Stories‎‏ في الأربعاء، ١٤ نوفمبر ٢٠١٨

Skillingstad and Ertel both later wed other people and had children. Skillingstad eventually lost her partner, and Ertel lost two spouses.

In December 2017, Ertel, a great-grandfather himself, was told he had prostate cancer, and he began thinking hard about his life—and the girl he once loved.

He talked to a friend who had experience as a private investigator and asked for help. Soon, Ertel had a phone number. Although he was nervous, he found the courage to make the phone call to his former flame.

“When I call her, I says, ‘Don’t hang up. This is not a prank call,'” Ertel said.

Their conversation lasted for 90 minutes. From then on, they spoke nearly every day.

Land of 10,000 Stories: Janet & Gene

A Benton County great grandmother has just married her boyfriend – 64 years after breaking off their engagement. "I never stopped thinking about her," Gene Ertel, 81, said about Janet Skillingstad, 82, his new bride.Here's the full story: https://kare11.tv/2zXuwTo

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Boyd Huppert's Land of 10,000 Stories‎‏ في الأربعاء، ١٤ نوفمبر ٢٠١٨

The couple found out they had lived within 30 minutes of each other their whole lives. They soon met up in person and started dating again.

“She called me and she said, ‘Well, Eugene wants me to go with him to such-and-such. Is that okay?'” said Ruth Beniek, Skillingstad’s daughter.

Beniek is a middle-school teacher, and she could tell by the way Skillingstad and Ertel behaved around each other that they were falling in love again.

“It was very much like two teenagers,” said Beniek, laughing.

Just two months after that first phone conversation, Skillingstad had a new ring on her finger.

“Could have been quicker,” said Ertel.

They finally married in a beautiful ceremony on Oct. 26.

“‘I couldn’t turn him down a second time,’ she said. ‘That’d be devastating,'” Beniek said her mother told her after the repeat proposal.

However, Ertel’s prostate cancer diagnosis remained on the minds of everyone. He’s now receiving treatment, and he and his new wife are taking life one day at a time.

“It doesn’t matter if they’ve got one day, ten days, or 100 days left. They’re going to just love,” said Beniek.

Although the couple has not yet taken a honeymoon trip together, their happiness and contentment is clear in the smiles on their faces.

“Every day is a honeymoon with Janet,” said Ertel.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @dadasarahle
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