A childhood crush between two toddlers nearly 70 years ago has turned into a fairy-tale wedding and a life lesson about the ability to love.
Julian Robinson and Peggy Moxley, both born in 1940, were childhood sweethearts at the tender age of 4. Julian’s dad was the Church of God pastor at a modest church in Swainsboro, Ga., where Peggy’s family attended in 1942. It was only natural that their son and daughter would become friends since their parents shared a spiritual bond, but Julian and Peggy said they remember that they were a little more than friends. They shared a mutual crush.
Although they have a photo of themselves together as early as age 3, Julian admits his earliest recollection of his bride-to-be was holding her hand and riding her home on his shiny red scooter.
“I remember holding her hand at the corner of Lucky Street and Lewis Street,” Julian said. “We were 4 years old. That was my first recollection. She still remembers me holding her hand and taking her home on my scooter in the summer time. Those are my earliest memories with Peggy. Of course, at age 3 we were already playing together, since our families were friends.”
For Julian and Peggy, it was their first encounter with an innocent attraction. It would not surprise their parents if the two children would seek each other out for a moment to stand together before or after church services. Since his father pastored her family, Julian and Peggy were always excited whenever their families got together. One day, however, it all came to an abrupt end.
Julian and his family moved to serve at another church in Waycross, Ga., in 1945. Julian admits he felt something special for Peggy, but nothing developed between the 5-year olds after his family moved away. In time, the families lost contact, memories of being smitten faded and their lives went in different directions.
Peggy grew up, married, had two daughters and a thriving career with AT&T in the Augusta area, while Julian grew up, joined the U.S. Air Force, married, had two sons and began a life of ministry with the Church of God in Chattanooga and Cleveland. It would be more than six decades before their lives would cross again. But when they did, it seemed less of a coincidence and more by design, according to everyone involved.
“I never dreamed we would meet again after leaving in 1945,” Julian said. “When her sister’s husband passed away in 2007, I had to contact her sister, Lyndell, to set up a pension for her as a widow’s benefit. While I was talking to her I just happened to mention, ‘How’s Peggy?’ I had not seen or talked to her since 1945. She said, ‘Julian, since my husband died I’m having to move. She’s here helping me pack. Would you like to talk to her?’ I said, ‘I would love to!’”
In their brief conversation, Julian discovered that Peggy’s husband had passed away with cancer in 1998. He also shared that his wife had cancer since 2005. Both expressed their sympathies and wished each other well. Another three years and seven months would pass before the two would have any contact again. In February 2009, Julian lost his wife to cancer.
With Peggy having been married for 38 years and a widow for 14, and Julian having been married for 48 years, and a widower for three years, neither of them had any desire to marry again. But Julian explained how their second chance at romance took an unpredictable turn and brought them face-to-face with a future better than either had expected.
“In October 2010, my sister, Nina Ruth, and I were visiting Peggy’s sister in a nursing home. She was 84 years old,” Julian recalled. “We went by to have prayer with her and give her some old pictures that my mother had of her. When I got ready to leave I asked her to give me Peggy’s phone number. I wanted to have some fun. So I called and there was no answer. I didn’t leave a message. Then 45 minutes later my cell phone rang. It was Peggy. We started talking. But we still had not seen each other.”
The two, entering their 70s, agreed to meet. Wanting this meeting to be truly special, they decided to meet for lunch in the same little town where they first met in Swainsboro. On Dec.5, 2010, they were finally in each other’s company — again. Memories of a familiar friend surrounded them as they sat together enjoying a meal and the company of their very first crush.
“It’s scary how much we had in common,” Peggy said.
“We had a good lunch,” Julian said, with a soft smile. “About two weeks went by and we were talking again — wanting to see each other. After about 17 months I decided to propose to her over Easter weekend.”
Julian contacted the church where they first attended and explained to the current pastor that he wanted to bring his childhood sweetheart there and surprise her with a wedding proposal where they first met.
“I asked the pastor, Joyce Williams, if she wouldn’t mind playing a CD I had of Elvis Presley singing ‘And I Love You So,’ when we walked into the sanctuary,” Julian said.
The stage was set. Julian and the church’s pastor even arranged for someone to be gardening outside the church so he and Peggy could “ask” to go inside. The seniors had dinner that Friday night. The following day they got together and Julian told her he would love to drive to Swainsboro to see the little church they first attended together — a church Peggy had not entered since her father’s funeral there in 1957.
She agreed. As they slowly entered the sanctuary at noon on April 7, Peggy started crying. Julian said, “She told me I don’t know if I can do this. All of a sudden she heard the song playing, ‘And I Love You So.’ She said, ‘Julian, that’s our song!’ I said, ‘I know.’ She was crying, then I started crying. We’re both crying while we’re walking down the aisle.”
As Julian escorted Peggy to the altar, he took her by the hand and said, “Peggy, 68 years ago our relationship started in this very church as childhood sweethearts. My daddy was pastor of this church and we were little children. All of these many years have come and gone. I believe the Lord has brought us together for our relationship to continue permanently.”
Dropping down to one knee, he looked into her crying eyes and asked her sincerely, “Will you marry me?”
In this surreal and romantic moment Peggy stood there speechless in a momentary surprise.
“Well, will you?” Julian asked again.
Tears in both their eyes, Peggy said, “Yes, Yes! I will marry you!”
With his two sons, Jeff and Jeremy, both ordained ministers, performing the wedding ceremony, and her two daughters, Crystal and Reneé, participating in the wedding with remarks about their remarkable mother, the childhood sweethearts were married on May 26, 2012, at the Sanctuary of Augusta church in Evans, Ga.
Both families in attendance were overjoyed. During the ceremony, Jeremy stated in part, “The surroundings and events that have led them to this altar today have not been arranged by random chance or fate. In the hindsight of more than six decades, Dad and Peggy believe it was more than mere coincidence that they met as four-year old children with a crush on each other...
“However, today, you look not to the past but to the future, knowing if God has preserved and sustained you for each other at this stage in your lives, He has good things in store for you to do and to experience, not as innocent children with a puppy love crush, or distant acquaintances, but as husband and wife.”
The newlyweds live in Cleveland since honeymooning in New York City. Everyone, including their families are happy and supportive of two wonderful people who found love in their twilight years. As rare as it is for two people to get back together after 66 years apart, Julian and Peggy Robinson said they give the credit to God for bringing them together again. Though it has been many years since they played together as little children, Julian and Peggy said they still hold hands and refer to each other as “sweetheart.”
“It’s Wonderful,” said Julian, regarding their marriage. “It has brought life and happiness to both of us. I never dreamed I could be in love again. Now we’re going for happily ever after.”