Bob Albright and Joy Brindle first met back in 1943. Joy worked at the soda fountain where Bob’s dad was a pharmacist. Bob, who is five years older than Joy, had been out of high school and was preparing to serve his country. Joy was the only one, other than Bob’s parents, who wrote to him while he was overseas. Bob served in the Army as a combat photographer (see atFishers.com archives for July 2013 issue for his WWII story) and claims it was the letters from back home that truly helped morale.
Once back from the Pacific theater, Bob and Joy dated for two years. She was finishing high school when he returned from the war and Bob attended her Tech HS senior prom. Joy was to attend Indiana University, where she majored in education. Bob began working for the Eli Lilly clinic as its first professional photographer. Being in two different worlds, it was challenging for Bob to maintain a long-distance relationship, and one day during the fall of Joy’s sophomore year at IU, the letters stopped coming. “He broke my heart,” said Joy of Bob’s end to their relationship. But Joy continued her studies, where she met her husband, Richard, whom she was married to for 50 years.
In April 2013, I had the privilege of interviewing Bob for the July Fishers Community Newsletter article. Upon my second visit to his home for clarification of details for his article, Bob announced that he “missed out on marrying the love of his life, and he couldn’t stop thinking about her since our first meeting because our last names are similar.” Bob added, “I don’t know if she is alive or dead, but I need to find out and ask for forgiveness.” My first question was, “What did you do that needs forgiving?” His answer: He only wished to ask forgiveness for breaking her heart.
Bob is now 90 years old and has macular degeneration. Upon getting as many of the details about Joy as Bob could share, I set out to find her. Thanks to the Internet and some divine intervention, the task was relatively easy. Both are widowed and live in the same city, which helped the logistics of their reconciliation.
Upon given Joy’s phone number, Bob called her almost immediately. His first words after all these years were, “Joy, this is Bob Albright. Don’t hang up!” It didn’t immediately register with Joy who was calling her, so she asked for clarification: “Who is this?” When Bob repeated his name, Joy, who had been standing by her phone, quickly sat down.
“It was quite a shock,” says Joy. “To hear his voice after all these years, I just couldn’t believe it.” After the call, it wasn’t long before Joy drove over to Bob’s to meet him after all these years. “It was like we had never been apart,” says Joy. “We just talk forever and are having the best time,” adds Bob.
The love story continues. Joy still has a ring that Bob gave her 65 years ago on Valentine’s Day. The couple are now engaged and living together. “I’m 90 years old!” says Bob. “I know who I want to spend the rest of my life with.”