LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Time again for StoryCorps. This project is recording conversations between family and loved ones as they talk about some of the most important moments of their lives. Today, we'll hear how Jim and MaryAnn Fletcher got together. Jim begins their conversation by remembering when he first saw MaryAnn.
JIM FLETCHER: It was the first day of first grade. And there was this kid who said to me, that's MaryAnn Lando. She can read. And I just fell in love with her right there.
MARYANN FLETCHER: Nine years later, when we went to the new high school, we started dating. And then we went through college. And I think we were trying hard to grow up and mature, in different ways. And so we decided that it was time to try out life apart.
FLETCHER: Yes. I asked you to please not get in touch with me because I knew if I saw you again, I couldn't help myself.
FLETCHER: That was the hardest thing I ever did. And so we went our separate ways for 22 years. And then in 2009, I checked my e-mail and there was a message from Facebook. And it said, Jim Fletcher has sent you a message. And my heart stopped. We exchanged one message each and then I said, this is crazy; there's no reason we shouldn't talk.
FLETCHER: I knew five minutes after we talked the first time that I was still in love with you. We decided that we should meet. So I got to O'Hare and, you know, I've not seen you for years, I'm seeing people with the same hair color – maybe that's her, maybe that's her.
FLETCHER: I heard somebody call my name. And I turned around, and you were there. And you dropped everything - you dropped your coat, you dropped your suitcase, everything - to the ground, and just enfolded me in the biggest bear hug. And you looked at me and you said, you are every bit as beautiful now as you were when I first fell in love with you. And that's when I knew I never, ever wanted to let you go again.
FLETCHER: And we've been together ever since. And every morning I wake up, and I know that I'm with the woman I was always meant to be with, and always will be with.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: Jim and MaryAnn Fletcher at StoryCorps in Atlanta. Their conversation will be archived with all the others, at the Library of Congress. We've got a picture from their junior prom, at npr.org.
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