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Onlookers usually think Peggy, 84, and Frank Brooks, 92, have been married for 50 or more years when they pass holding hands, but they just celebrated their 10-year anniversary last October.

“If we’re out some place and people see us, they’ll say, ‘Oh my goodness. That’s wonderful you look so happy. And how long have you been married?’ And we say, ‘10 years,’ and they’re really shocked,” Peggy said, laughing.

After moving to Asbury-Solomons Retirement Community in Solomons and losing their first loves, neither of them expected or planned to marry again. They both said they feel “very fortunate” to have found love a second time.

“It just seemed it was just supposed to be,” Peggy said of meeting and later marrying Frank. “It’s been a wonderful 10 years.”

Frank moved to the community with his late wife, Miriam, who died shortly after the move, he said. They were married for 57 years, he said.

Peggy moved into the community shortly after her husband, Jim Webster, died. They were married for 42 years.

“We have a conscious agreement that what happened before is one thing and what happens now is ours,” Frank explained, “and we would not mix them up, we would not criticize, we would not get involved in it.”

“But we feel free to talk about them if the occasion comes up,” Peggy replied, adding that both of their first marriages were happy and they were each content in them.

Peggy and Frank met shortly after Peggy moved in when one of her friends invited her to play cards with a group of about six or seven other people — one of them being Frank.

“I had been a widow for three years when I moved here. And, in the meantime, my daughter had died, and that was really traumatic. And this friend of ours was the one that said, ‘You’ve got to play cards,’” Peggy explained. “I said, ‘I do not want to come over and play cards.’ … This kept on with the protesting for maybe a month or so. And so, finally, I just got tired of her badgering me and I said, ‘I’ll come over and play cards.’”

At the time, Peggy lived in one of the cottages on the Asbury-Solomons campus and would have to walk back alone, although in the sight of the group.

Frank explained that when construction began on a new building, her usual path was closed and so he would walk her home.

“We were just friends,” Peggy said of that time together. When Easter came, she said she was going to Solomons United Methodist Church for a Good Friday service but she didn’t want to go alone. Her other friends had told her they didn’t want to go, so she asked Frank “just as a friend.”

“So, we went to church and we went out to dinner after that, and then we started occasionally going to dinner and various things,” Peggy said.

That summer, they began walking the campus together at dusk and “it just progressed from there,” she said.

“It’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Frank said of meeting Peggy.

Peggy and Frank explained that they were a little apprehensive about how their children would respond to their relationship and their desire to get married, though Frank said they were going to marry regardless.

“I think the kids kind of knew,” Peggy said, noting that she had brought Frank to a family event at one point and she joined Frank and one of his granddaughters at lunch before. “They were a little bit prepared.” Peggy has one son and two grandchildren; Frank has two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Even though Frank and Peggy have their own activities and their own friends, Frank said they do “everything” together. They both serve on committees and groups together, but Frank has his amateur oil painting and Peggy plays cards with some of the other women.

“We have been very good together,” Frank said, adding that he and Peggy have a lot in common “and that helps.” For example, he said, they both have interest in the same politics and politicians, they both moved to Maryland, they chose the same church and they both have experiences and history with the U.S. Air Force.

“No mistake has been made,” Frank said of marrying Peggy.

When asked if she had any advice for other people finding or looking for love a second time around, Peggy said, laughing, it was hard to give advice “because there’s only one Frank Brooks.

“I could honestly say that if the right person comes along when you’re older, it’s a wonderful thing to be married again,” Peggy said. “It’s been a wonderful 10 years and it’s been perfect.”

aharrison@somdnews.com