Well, well, well. One of the major developments since the end of my trip west this past July is that I am no longer single. But to tell you about it, I need to go back in time 30 years.

After I graduated from high school, I decided to get a B.Ed. at Concordia College (now Concordia University College). I joined the choir, and met many new friends, some of which are still friends to this day. But one person in particular that I became particularily close to – Debbie Nielsen.

Concordia had, and still has, one of the best college choirs anywhere. I joined the choir as a tenor, she as a soprano. We began dating while on a choir tour, and continued seeing each other for a few months after that.


But, as often happens when people are so young, there was some uncertainty about what we wanted, and our plans for the future, so we decided to break up.

Over the years, we had some occasional contact. Debbie married, and changed her last name to Bourne; I went out with a few girlfriends during the same time, but never married. She lived in Nanaimo, where she grew up; I lived mostly in Edmonton.

When I was doing theatre at Chemainus, she discovered I was there and sought me out to say hello. I knew she was married and didn’t want to seem overly interested, which she took to be complete lack of interest, even in friendship. (Yes, I’m an idiot.)

The next time we saw each other was in Edmonton. She had been divorced for a while, and now it seemed possible that we might get together, but this time I felt it was too soon to express interest, and again I refrained from saying anything, but it took a lot of willpower. (Still an idiot, but at least a gentleman idiot.)

Fast forward to last July. I sent out a notice on Facebook that I was visiting the west coast on business, was planning to extend my stay, and would any of my friends be interested in visiting? Debbie was one of the ones that replied, and we eventually worked out that I would come to Vancouver Island for a couple of days to see some old haunts and catch up, and she would act as tour guide. She had had a few boyfriends since her divorce, but wasn’t currently seeing anyone.

On that visit, in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons in Mill Bay, I looked into Debbie’s eyes and saw a deep appreciation and admiration, a look that I remembered seeing 30 years ago in those same eyes, and I could no longer resist. I kissed her, for what seemed like a very long time, and from that moment, the trip took on a very different character.

It was only for two days, and we left things in mid-air, not really sure what would become of the connection between us, mainly because of the distance. We did agree that we would keep in touch, and as long as we were both free, would keep seeing each other.

Two weeks after I returned to Edmonton, Debbie sent me what turned out to be a pivotal email. She wanted to come visit me for two weeks in Edmonton, to see if there might be something more to what we had experienced together, to get to know each other all over again. I happily agreed. During those two weeks, we went tent camping, sang at a karaoke bar, and talked for hours about our dreams, plans, and what we were looking for in a partner.

I am happy to report that we are now boyfriend and girlfriend again, after a 30 year hiatus. We are also both deliriously happy. I am going to visit her in Nanaimo this Thanksgiving to spend some more time together – and meet her family. Stay tuned…


15 thoughts on “One journey ends, another begins

  1. So happy for both of you – you two have always been two of my favourite people and to be together is just splendiforous!

    Yeahh from a lowly Alto.

  2. I sure think she's one of the brightest, most happy, joyful and positive ladies I've had the fun of enjoying time out with mutual acquaintances recently…(from another Nielsen)Jo.

  3. How wonderful! I love Debbie dearly, and I am so happy she found someone (again!) who can accept all the love she gives! You will also be meeting Debbie's friends in October…. watch out!

  4. You're welcome, Persona. All the best with your situation. I always gathered hope from stories like Harpo Marx's, who married for the first time at around the same age I am now, so there's indeed hope for us all.

  5. Remarkable romantic and utterly lovely for you both, no matter what happens. And…great fodder for a play. But I won't steal it! xo Lucia

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