“Believe it or not, we’re in love at our age. I want his hugs and kisses and he feels the same way. It’s just like when we were teenagers,” Joanne Blakkan shared.

Bill Hassinger and Joanne Blakkan met on the school bus 77 years ago.

It was 1947 and they were both students at North Muskegon High School in West Michigan. Joanne was a junior and Bill was a freshman.

They became high school sweethearts, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Not then anyway. Fast forward seven decades and the two have found their way back. To each other.

High School Romance

Bill and Joanne started off as friends. Every day, she would save him a seat on the bus. Despite their two-year age difference, they started dating and fell in love.

“[We] became more and more attracted to each other and then the next year was serious. In those days, you called it ‘going steady,”‘ Joanne told Fox News.

They were smitten.

“One time we got called to the principal’s office for kissing on the school bus.”

Joanne Blakkan

Joanne graduated in 1949. She went off to college at Michigan State and Bill stayed behind, still in high school. She visited sometimes on weekends.

But time and distance can be a cruel mistress and the couple drifted apart.

They both found new loves, married, and each had three children.

They Lived a Lifetime Apart

Bill married a classmate at 19, just six months before being drafted into the U.S. Army. He spent the next two years in Salzburg, Austria before returning home to enjoy a 32-year career with the Michigan State Police.

He was married to his wife for 68 years — until her death in 2021.

Meanwhile, Joanne was busy with her own career and family. After her husband died of a heart attack in 1989 at the age of 57, she was content to be on her own.

For 73 years, Bill and Joanne never set eyes on each other.

“We went our separate ways,” Joanne, now 92, said. “I had lived alone all this time and I certainly wasn’t looking for love or a man. I was content. But he was always in the back of my mind. I loved that young boy.”

And then in 2022, fate stepped in. Part of the planning committee for her 73rd high school reunion, Joanne was searching for her former classmates online when she thought of Bill. Curious, she decided to look him up.

With the help of her daughter, Linda, she found him living 80 miles away.

Seven Decades Later, They’re Reunited

Joanne wrote him a letter. Within moments of receiving it, Bill was on the phone. Not long after they met for lunch.

It was as if time had faded away. Within hours, the flame of first love was rekindled. It didn’t matter that neither one was looking for love, love found them anyway.

“We just went back to the same feelings for each other,” Bill said. “We’re just as much and more in love today than when we were teenagers.”

Now, the two spend as much time as their 80-mile commute allows, walking, talking, and playing cards. “We are having a ball,” Joanne said.

And their families couldn’t be more excited for them.

“Neither one of them were looking for this,” Linda said. “My father died and she never dated after that. I don’t think she would’ve dated anyone besides Bill. Both sides of the family are thrilled.”

And in a sweet homage to teenage love, Joanne is once again wearing the green gem bracelet Bill gave her as a birthday gift, so many years ago.

The couple are still trying to figure out what the future looks like as far as living arrangements. What they do know, is that they want to spend the time they have left together.

Life’s Not Over Because You’re Aging

If there’s anything we can take away from this nonagenarian romance, it’s that we’re never too old for love. And true love? Will always find a way, even if it takes 70 years.

As for anyone questioning whether or not they should get into a relationship later in life? Bill and Joanne have one piece of advice.

Don’t wait.

“If you feel the love for each other, then just spend time together because life is short, and we realize that now, at our age, we don’t know how much time we have together, but we’re just making the most of every day,” Joanne said.

“Just go for it.”