It surely couldn’t have been the first time Ma Bell had worked her magic on long-lost lovers, but it seems to have worked better than usual on Lynn Stevens and Aubrey Lynwood Williams. The love bug had bitten them back in the ’40s in Norfolk. He was in the Navy during World War II, she was his sweetheart, and he proved his love with an Evel Knievel-esque walk along a narrow building ledge several stories up. He won her heart, but her parents gave him the old heave-ho. “They didn’t approve of servicemen,” Stevens said, and her sailor boy said ship ahoy. But in 1988, Stevens and Williams got a second chance, reported the Culpeper News.
Stevens had wound up in Princeton, West Virginia. In the intervening 40-odd years, both had married, Stevens twice (she even had a grandson named Aubrey, after her not-forgotten beau), but both found themselves alone again. Soon after Stevens’ second husband died in 1985, her thoughts turned once again to Williams, and she commenced to sleuthing. But even the ads she took out in the papers of the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars couldn’t do what the grapevine could. Acting on a tip from a friend, Stevens dialed information and found the number for Williams in Stevensburg, Culpeper County and rang him up immediately.
The call proved that the spark was still very much there. That first night they talked three times, totaling three hours—not such a cheap date at the time. As they chatted, Williams recalled his nail-biting promenade along that ledge and avowed that he’d gladly walk it again, but instead asked Stevens to visit him in Culpeper, a less risky step for a re-enamored sexagenarian. Down went her receiver and out came her suitcase. “I let him get away once,” she said. “I wasn’t about to let it happen again.” She gave a friend $100 to drive her the 250 miles to the Culpeper police station. Dispatcher Mabel Crawford said that the “teeny-tiny” Stevens came into the station with an oversized piece of luggage, her pocketbook and a carton of cigarettes. She asked where she could get a hotel room, preferably near a beauty shop so she could get “all dolled up” for Williams.
It appears, however, that 40 years was wait aplenty for Williams, and he wanted to see Stevens ASAP. He high-tailed it to the station to find his long-lost love dressed down in stone-washed jeans and high-heeled boots, with “rollers in her hair covered with a scarf.” Unconcerned that she had not been able to spruce up, Stevens said she had “never done anything this daring” and was “just as excited as she could be,” Crawford told reporters.
When the once-interrupted lovebirds saw each other, “there was no hesitation,” just hugs and kisses. “They are finally back in each other’s arms,” said the dispatcher. They left the police station arm in arm, “like a romance novel.” Somebody call Fabio.