RON BLOMSTROM & SANDY PEACHAM

SUMMER 2007

With courtesy of the "Concord Monitor", that published it in November 2008, here is a true great story :

Ron Blomstrom was a 20-year-old airman stationed at a U.S. NATO Air base in Laon, northern France. Sandra Cole was a 15-year-old British school girl, camping near the base with a friend's family. The two met, and love sparked. It took 45 years, however, for those sparks to finally catch fire.
Ron and Sandy's story is a rebuttal to any skeptics who dismiss young romance as mere puppy love. Reunited in their 60s, after years of memories and longing, the couple look as smitten with each other today, sitting on the couch in their cozy Penacook home, as they do in decades-old snapshots, still carefully preserved on their original scrapbook pages.

Here's Ron's memory of the day in 1961 when the couple met.
"I think it was a Sunday afternoon. Me and my buddy went to watch a go-cart race on the base. We saw what we thought were a couple of nice young French girls. Turns out they weren't French - they were English."
One of those girls was Sandy. The couple and their friends spent much of the day together, and Ron and Sandy swapped addresses. Ron visited Sandy in Sandhurst, England, for a week that autumn, meeting her family and friends. The pair met up in Paris the following April. They grew closer over the visits and through their letters. But the correspondence eventually stopped. The prospect of a real relationship seemed out of reach, Sandy says, especially when Ron returned home to Massachusetts after his military service had ended.
"America was so far away," Sandy said. "To fly to America back then - only the rich and famous did that. It seemed hopeless. So life went on."
Sandy married, raised two children and divorced. Ron married twice and raised two children of his own. His first wife died ; his second marriage ended in divorce. He ran the Lazy River Campground in Epsom and moved to Penacook three years ago.
And then, one day, a pale blue envelope stamped "Air Mail" arrived in his mailbox. It was from Sandy.

"I had written many letters, but never ever mailed them," she said. "As you can probably guess, I had always thought about him. Even on my wedding day, my dad said, 'He's never coming back to you. You've got to get on with life.' "
So why did she write to him in 2006 ?
"An old lady's whim. I didn't want to be sitting in a rocking chair wondering 'what if.' "
The story of how Sandy tracked down Ron after all those years deserves its own full telling. Here is just the quickest outline. She had already become an expert in navigating the U.S. military's personnel records for an entirely different purpose: Her father had been an American serviceman in England during World War II. He returned to America after the war, and, as a child, Sandy knew nothing about him other than a name. She spent 37 years searching before she found him in Alabama in 1996. (The discovery also granted her American citizenship, which allows her to live in New Hampshire today.)
So, when she decided to look for her decades-old crush, Sandy already knew where to start. She remembered Ron's service number, except for the last 2 digits, and his family's old address in Canton, Mass., where she mailed those schoolgirl letters. She provided that information to a contact she had at the military records database in St. Louis, and in return was given the addresses for seven R. Blomstroms. Sandy, now Sandy Peacham, sent the same letter to all of them.
It began: "I am writing to you wondering if you are the same Ronald G. Blomstrom that I used to know back in 1961."

Reading the letter, Ron was shocked. He wrote back the next day, describing his surprise and his joy at hearing from Sandy. It turned out that Sandy wasn't the only one with fond memories of those few visits in the '60s.
"I carried your picture with me for years until one day I lost my wallet," Ron wrote to her. The letter ends: "P.S. This feels like a dream!"
The two emailed for a while before finally agreeing to speak on the phone. The first conversation lasted an hour and a half. "There were no awkward pauses, no stifled conversation," Ron explained.
This went on for several months until July of that year, when Sandy arranged to visit from England.
"I remember on the plane, I was crying, thinking, 'What am I doing?' " she said. "If it didn't feel right, I could have just landed, met him, and flown back."
When she did land at Logan Airport, Ron was waiting with a dozen long-stem roses. Sandy was frozen at first. The anxiety and joy made for a paralyzing combination.
"The drive from Boston to here, I don't remember anything of the journey," she said. "The first thing I remember is seeing the quarries" along North State Street.
She's been here ever since. Blomstrom, 68, and Peacham, 63, don't seem to have missed a step in their courtship, despite the decades-long gap. They go dancing on the weekends and plan to travel to Florida shortly after Christmas. Their respective families blend together nicely, they say. They enjoy sharing the unusual story of their courtship with new friends. And they like being together - finally.
"It's so smooth, it doesn't feel real," Ron says.
"I felt at ease, at home here, really from Day One," Sandy says. "My kids miss me like mad. So do my grandkids. But they say, 'Mum, go be happy.' "
There are no plans for marriage, though Sandy says she is working on it.

"He knows I want to die 'Mrs. Blomstrom,' " she says.

Following the link below, you can see also the comments from everywhere that were received by the "Concord Monitor"

  http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081123/LIVING03/811230301/1024

 

On July 6th 2009, Ron sent me the following e-mail, with his permission to publish his and Sandra's wonderful love story :

I, Ron, was stationed at the Base from 1960 to 1962.   My now Fiancee(Sandy) and I had the opportunity to visit France, with the expectations of visiting Paris. I felt that on our trip from Calais it might be nice to take Sandy on a trip to Laon. I knew that a few years after I had returned to America, that the Base had been turned over to the French Military. But I felt, at least we could circle the Base, as that is where Sandy and I met in the Summer of 1961 (This is the beginning of Our Story).
Through circumstances, we met up with a Gentleman called Patrick, who was a Retired French Military Officer, with N.A.T.O.
Patrick, after hearing Our Story, asked if we might like to have a tour of the Base.Obviously we said 'yes' and we were then introduced to Daniel Buret. Daniel picked us up from Patrick's home and after having taken us back to his home to meet his wife,Yvonne, spent the best part of the day with us. He drove us onto the Base and showed us all the facilities, including what was once the Go-Kart track, where we had met in 1961. As you might imagine it was very emotional to us, and even Daniel was caught up in the moment, as he knew how much that 'spot on the Earth' meant to us.We were so moved by the event and our feelings that we never went on to Paris.!!! After leaving Laon, we went to the Normandy Beaches and spent a week there, as well as visiting St Mere Eglise.

 

February 2010 : Ron and Sandy got married on Valentine's day. Congratulations !

http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100308/NEWS01/3080316