Childhood Sweethearts Reunite and Wed After 60 Years
It started in the 1950s with two young teenagers in love. R. Malcolm Eldredge and Patricia Waldron met in Syracuse, N.Y. nearly 60 years ago. Malcolm worked on a dairy farm and Patricia lived right around the corner. The dairy farm was located on top of a steep hill and Malcolm would come within inches of danger just to see his sweetheart.
“I went down the hill on my bike – which was a treacherous ride because it was stone with dirt and you are going 150 miles an hour down this hill with a turn at the bottom – across the valley and down a little bit and that is where Patricia was,” he said. “When I would go home at night – and I didn’t remember this, Patty reminded me – I couldn’t ride up the hill because it was too steep. I stopped and pushed my bike up the hill. When I got to the top I had a flashlight that I would wave ‘good night Patty’ with.”
Malcolm still carries a flashlight around and until he reunited with Patricia he never remembered why the flashlight had value to him.
“I never tied it together just until the other day when she shared that with me,” he said.
The families knew how close the two lovebirds were and called them “Pat and Tiny.”
“He was a very small guy and they called him Tiny and it stuck,” Patricia said.
Patricia knew Malcolm was very special. The two had hours of fun together and formed a tight bond and Malcolm became a permanent staple in Patricia’s household. Malcolm did not have a good home life and spent nights sleeping in the woods so Patricia’s family would invite him to dinner and to family functions. Patricia’s parents, aunts and uncles loved him.
The union lasted until distance came between their relationship. At 15 years old, Patricia moved to Florida with her family and Malcolm eventually moved to New Jersey. The distance proved harsh and the lovebirds fell out of touch.
“It was so far apart. We were lonely, met other people and got married,” Patricia said.
Malcolm married and had two children. He ran a farm where he took in many more kids who needed assistance with drug addiction. The kids were given a place to live and food to eat and a chance at a new life.
“I got married had two kids of my own and 285 others,” he said. “All of them from the drug scene of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Out of the 285, about 85 percent made it.”
After 34 years of marriage, Malcolm divorced and re-married. His second wife passed away 20 years after they wed.
Patricia married and had two children and lived in three states across the country. Her husband died in 1998.
The Discovery Begins
Patricia was rummaging through old attic memories and found some items that belonged to Malcolm.
“I found some things in the attic that were his,” she said. “He didn’t have much of a home life, so he had nowhere to put things. I found his class picture among other things in my attic.”
Patricia found one of Malcolm’s relatives and contacted him. She discovered that Malcolm was still living and obtained his address. She wrote Malcolm a letter asking him what she should do with his belongings. Malcolm replied that he was coming to see her.
Without hesitation, Malcolm flew to Texas to meet with his former lover. Sparks flew at the meeting and after 60 years their love was rekindled instantly. Though Malcolm knew he and Patricia would marry, he was hesitant to pop the question so soon.
“I had to get a cup of coffee first,” he said.
In a matter of days, Malcolm popped the question. He was unwilling to wait any more time. He asked Patricia, “Will you marry me, my precious, precious Patty?”
“I already knew before I left Pennsylvania that I was going to ask her to be my ‘Sweetheart’ wife,” he said. “There were 50 different versions that I thought about and none of them worked.”
“I said ‘yes’ and in a hurry. I didn’t want to wait another 60 years,” Patricia said.
The big day had arrived and soon-to-be bride and groom were “dressed to the nines”, the bride wearing jewelry given to her By Malcolm 60 years ago.
“This is the cameo he bought me 60 years ago, I still have it and these are the earrings (that match),” she said.
The couple wed at the Country Church in Marion with some of their family members in attendance. Patricia’s daughter, Michele, and her husband Bob Fairey, were proud to witness the couple’s happiness.
“I think it is wonderful. It is just so strange to me that she has gotten married after all of this time,” said Michele. “I really think it is wonderful. They are both so happy and I think it is great they will be able to do some things and get out there. I’m really excited about it and really happy for them.”
The two teenage lovebirds found happiness once again and married at a beautiful ceremony performed by Pastor Ken Schoenfeldt. The newlyweds made plans to fly to Pennsylvania to gather Malcolm’s belongings since the happy couple will live in Florida at Patricia’s house.
“He really likes our winter. I am glad he came down in winter,” Patricia said.
“The weather doesn’t matter at all – with this lady at my side, nothing else matters,” Malcolm said.