By Elise Franco
Some believe that true love happens only once in a lifetime, but Paul Achey and Rose Marie Enderton are happy to prove the theory wrong.
Achey, 86, of Youngstown, and Enderton, 80, of Austintown, both joined the Austintown Senior Center when it opened last fall and never dreamed that in just a few short months they’d gain anything other than a few friends and a place to socialize.
Enderton said they finally met in March during a game of bingo.
“We never noticed each other because we sat on opposite sides of the room,” she said. “But one day, I got up to get a bingo card, and I saw him, so I said, ‘Hello.’”
Enderton said she joined Achey at his table, and the pair spent the day talking and getting to know each other. The next day, Achey invited her to a dinner and dance at the Saxon Club.
“I thought I’d give it a try, since the worst she could say was no,” he said. “She said yes so fast, she almost knocked me off my chair.”
The couple, who affectionately refer to each other as “Honey,” have been together since that night.
Achey said he was married for 60 years before his wife died in August 2005, and he didn’t come to the senior center looking for a woman.
“I knew that if I didn’t find another woman to really love, I wouldn’t go with just any girl,” he said. “But this just happened. We made a connection right off the bat.”
Enderton credits the senior center for bringing the couple together.
“Thank God for the center, or we would have never met,” she said. “I wish other widows and widowers our age could meet here and be as happy as we are.”
Enderton, whose second husband died in March 2010, said being with Achey is like a fairy tale.
“To me, it’s like a fantasy and a true love story,” she said. “I love his personality because he’s such a gentle man and funny. I’m laughing all the time.”
Achey said being with Enderton makes him feel young again.
“She’s just so sweet, and she’s always looking out for me,” he said. “I just love her so much. I feel like a teenager, and I’m living my life over again.”
Achey said it’s important that he and Enderton stay active and involved in the community. He said they visit casinos, go to church functions and spend Mondays and Wednesdays at the senior center.
“We want people to know there is life after you get older,” he said.