May 15, 2012

Our Neighbors: Years and years left to be together

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Their connection had been lost for 32 long years. Terry and Edward “Ed” Creech, who dated in their 20s, reconnected and married in March after half their lifetime apart.

Ed, 67, and Terry, 63, dated on and off for years in their 20s as they worked side-by-side at a factory in Illinois.  Ed left the company and Terry stayed. And the merry-go-round of I “do’s” and “don’ts” began as each had separate growing families of their own.  

“We were so young,” she said.

“We lost track of one another,” he said.

Years passed and a mutual friend phoned Terry telling her that she had a dream that Ed had passed away.  Terry was worried, and so her friend sought out his phone number to find out if her suspicions were true.  In fact, they were not, but she discovered the phone number was correct and passed along the digits to Terry.

For a month, the couple talked over the phone, and slowly re-connected the frayed threads of their relationship, which began to intertwine again.   They decided it was time to finally meet.

“The more we talked, we just decided we needed to meet sooner to see if we still had a connection,” Terry said.

On March 16, Ed, a Laurel native, drove for four hours; Terry, who continued to live in Illinois, drove for three; and they met in the middle at a Kmart parking lot.  

“I sat there for about an hour and a half,” Terry said.  “I got there early.”

She was shaking like a leaf.  Many thoughts ran through her mind — of aging, their past and the heart-racing moment they would see each other again.  Ed called Terry’s cell phone seven miles out, asking her to look for his gray truck. He too admitted to nervousness.

“I was nervous all the way. It’d been 32 years, just kind of unreal,” Ed said.

A gray truck pulled in next to Terry’s vehicle, sitting idle.  Terry knew that was the defining moment, and she turned her head away in tears while Ed did the same.

“Do we move or do we sit here?” Terry asked herself in a panic.

“Then we got out and we hugged,” she said with a sigh of relief.

They married at Sinking Creek’s London Community Church three weeks later.

The two were always close enough to turn around and see each other throughout the years, but never knew how close.  Ed moved back and forth from Illinois to Kentucky three times. This weekend, the couple packed up for another move to Illinois.

“Everybody has to make their own life, and I promised her I’d go to Illinois for at least a year. That’s the least I can do,” Ed said. “If we’re together, that’s all that matters. As long as we don’t lose any more time in this life.”

With two dogs and two cats between them, the couple have made their lifetime vows to each other and the love they had buried in their hearts for so long is still alive and strong.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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