Can you imagine waiting for someone for 75 years? Meet K.T. Robbins, a proud World War II veteran who celebrated his 100th birthday in July of 2021! About 75 years ago, during the Second World War, he was part of the 95th Bakers Battalion stationed in Briey, France and that’s where he met Jeannine Ganaye, the love of his life. Robbins had set up their tents, a mobile bakery, and set some large cans of lard by the fence when a young woman approached him along with her brother and sister.
Young Ganaye had walked all the way to ask Robbins if they could take the cans of lard. That was the first time they talked that paved the way for something much deeper than friendship. Not only did they spend a lot of time together, but Robbins was also often invited to her house for meals. But Robbins was a soldier and as fate would have it, it wasn’t long before he was being transferred to Baston, France.
Robbins and Ganaye loved each other, and he cherished the moments they spent together but a transfer meant that he had to move over 750kms away from her. The last time they spoke was over the phone for less than a minute before the phone was snatched away from Robbins as he got transferred. Ganaye waited five years for Robbins to return, but it wasn’t long before both of them were married to different partners.
While Ganaye mothered five children, Robbins and his wife never had children, but they were happily married for 70 years. During his time with his wife, Robbins owned a hardware store for 35 years and lived a good life; Ganaye lived in his heart, and no one knew anything about her. Ganaye, on the other hand, lost her husband 30 years ago and still lived in Briey, France. Robbins never shared his sweet secret about Ganaye until his neighbor, Linda Tosh, accidentally stumbled upon Ganaye’s picture while helping him sort through his things.
When she asked who the lady in the picture was, Robbins instantly said that she was the first love of his life, Jeannine Ganaye. Robbins would often tell Tosh how he wanted to go back to France, and now she knew why; his heart was with Ganaye. One day Tosh came across an online story by a non-profit group called Forever Young Senior Veterans about veterans going back to Normandy. She immediately told Robbins about it who was thrilled and ready to go! Robbins wanted to find Ganaye and listed her name in the questionnaire he was provided by the group.
About 24 hours later Tosh received a call confirming that they had found Ganaye living in a nursing home in Metz, France. Only Tosh knew about Ganaye’s whereabouts, and since she wanted to surprise Robbins, she planned a trip to the nursing home. On their way there, a nurse told him that Ganaye was still alive, leaving Robbins speechless. When they reached the nursing home Robbins instantly recognized Ganaye who was in the lobby in her wheelchair.
After 75 years, Robbins sat down beside Ganaye and the two looked at the photo of themselves that he had kept close to his heart. Robbins confessed his love for Ganaye and that’s when he learned that she waited five years for him to return. They spent two hours talking and had dinner together and when it was time for Robbins to leave, Ganaye got out of her wheelchair to escort him to his car with the help of a walker. They hugged tight and Robbins knew she didn’t want him to go.
Not long after they met again for three days and during this trip Robbins and Tosh met Ganaye’s family too. Robbins and Ganaye walked the same streets they walked the first time they saw each other. He remembered everything, including where she lived and even how her front door looked! Robbins stays in Olive Branch, Mississippi while Ganaye lives in Metz, France, and although Robbins doesn’t plan on moving to France, he knows that he loves Ganaye to the moon and back!
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