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European Odyssey of the Heart

Dear Rudy,

My wife Francie and I met in June 1960 at JFK (then known as Idlewild Airport) while waiting for an Alitalia flight to England. We were both taking a two month "grand tour" of Europe with the Kneller Tour. Professor Kneller was a professor from California who ran student tours of Europe, usually with about 40 college women and 40 men. Each tour member had to be recommended by former tour members.

I had just graduated from college and Francie was entering her junior year. We were introduced by our respective parents (hers from Lexington, Kentucky, and mine from Rye, New York) as we sat together waiting for the flight. I spent most of the 13-hour flight asleep, sprawled over three seats. Francie, meanwhile, was squeezed between two football players behind me wondering how she could engage me in conversation.

It wasn't until we landed and were going through a lunch buffet that we both tried to figure out how to sit next to each other. Francie went ahead of me in line while I waited for my corn beef and cabbage. She made sure she sat down at a table with an empty seat next to her. I sat down beside her and asked her if she would like to go to the Tower of London with me. I was taken aback by her enthusiastic reply. We hit it off immediately and were together every day of the two-month trip. We were married a year later and have been in love for the past 39 years.

The big advantage of the tour was that each student had to pay for their own extra meals, so I had a "Dutch treat" courtship. Of course, I've been paying ever since. The only disadvantage was that we have 200 duplicate pictures of European sites. Every time I took a picture of some building, Francie was right next to me taking a picture of the same building.

We now have four beautiful daughters and seven grandchildren. We often think of that wonderful summer in 1960 and how we fell in love.




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