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  • In case we begin to expect life to move in a predictable progression—from birth to school, school to career and marriage, those things to retirement and, finally, death—there is the story of Alma and Van.

    When Van met Alma, they were both 17 years old. She played the piano, he violin.
  • Every week, they’d play music together. Sounds like a recipe for romance—but no. Van had a girlfriend in Montana, Fran, who would become his wife. They were married for 61 years, and had two sons. Alma got married, too, and had three daughters. Life proceeded, as it does. Van was a public school music teacher in Bismarck, North Dakota for decades. Alma taught music as well, and played the organ at her church in rural Michigan.

    They retired, and watched the passing of their partners. They reached the time in life that's often described as if it were a hill gently sloping downwards, the horizon's end point clearly in view.

    But not these two...
  • When they were both in their mid-80s, they met again.

    And, on a November weekend six years ago, Van and Alma got married.

    They still play music together. He’s on violin, she on piano.
  • Photo of Van & Alma by Kevin Gift.

    For another story of a surprise happy ending in Van's life, listen to this one of his symphony, 70 years in the making:
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