A Late Love That Burns Brightly

Jo Ann, 82, and her husband, Bob Chew, 70, recorded their conversation in Little Rock, Ark. i i

hide captionJo Ann, 82, and her husband, Bob Chew, 70, recorded their conversation at a StoryCorps booth in Little Rock, Ark.

Jo Ann, 82, and her husband, Bob Chew, 70, recorded their conversation in Little Rock, Ark.

Jo Ann, 82, and her husband, Bob Chew, 70, recorded their conversation at a StoryCorps booth in Little Rock, Ark.

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When she was heading to college, Jo Ann Chew's father gave her two choices: She could take secretarial courses, so she'd have a career; or study home economics — because, her father said, "You'll be somebody's wife. You're too cute not to be somebody's wife."

She chose home economics, explaining, "I wanted to be somebody's wife."

Since 1995, that somebody has been Bob Chew. The two met in 1994, and after Bob overcame Jo Ann's resistance — she didn't think it was a good idea for him to marry an older woman — they got married.

Jo Ann is now 82; Bob is 70. And in December 2004, Jo Ann was diagnosed with dementia. One year later, she was told she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

As a result, Jo Ann says, "My doctor told me he did not want me to cook, and that was music to my ears."

So, Bob does most of the cooking now. "He's turning out to be quite a professional," Jo Ann says.

With their 12th anniversary arriving in October, the couple discussed how they met, and how they're coping with Jo Ann's condition.

As for regrets, Jo Ann only has one.

"Not having control of everything, of my thoughts, or my actions," she says. "And I don't think it's fair to you, either."

"You know I'm going to take care of you, don't you?" Bob asks.

"I do know that," Jo Ann says. "But you could have some cute little chick that you could be running around with, 10 years younger."

Bob's answer: "I have my princess right now."

"You're wonderful."

"You know I still love, you, right? More than ever?"

"I like to hear it."

Produced for 'Morning Edition' by Katie Simon. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Sarah Kramer.

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