They Parted In 1954, Found Each Other At Age 70

Full story: Hartford Courant
On today's date two years ago, Joyce Ritchie pulled into a driveway in Atlanta to see a childhood playmate. Full Story
Jen

Danbury, CT

#1 Jun 10, 2008
That is one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard! It gave me goosepimples!

Congrats to them!
Ellen in NC

Raleigh, NC

#2 Jun 11, 2008
This is a wonderful story of two wonderful people. I know this for sure because Joyce is my cousin and was my idol/ideal as I grew up behind her. She was always so beautiful, so gracious and I was so intimidated!

That said, I am most pleased that she and Bob have received this recognition. Their story is definitely a keeper and an inspiration.

Thanks and kudos to the Courant for a super human interest item.
Joyce B

Victorville, CA

#3 Jun 14, 2008
I want to say that I hope Joyce’s daughters are more vigilant than I was after Mr. Collins married my mother. After they were married in June 1999, I was not, and did not, feel welcome in my mother’s home. He managed to run off her family, friends, and take her from the church she had belonged to for over 40 years.
Shortly after they were married, I was transferred across the country to California for my job. My mother would only call me when he was not home. If I called her and he was home, she would not talk to me.
In early 2001, my mother was put into a nursing home for “rehab”. Mr. Collins never called to tell me, and I only found out when, after many attempts to call, I called another family member to find out where mom might be. Mom came home in a month, but still was not well, and went back and forth from home, to hospital to nursing home for several months. Mr. Collins brought her home for the last time in November of 2001. He immediately left for 3 days to visit his son in Massachusetts, leaving her to fend for herself. At that point, she could barely walk, could not cook for herself, and was confined to the living room couch. She managed to call a neighbor who came to take care of her and stay with her until Mr. Collins returned. The neighbor begged him to take her back to the hospital, but he refused. Finally, he decided to call 911 and have her taken. She never came home again, going instead to a nursing home in Manchester.
In June of 2002, I received a call from a good friend of my mother’s telling me that Mr. Collins was taking a good share of mom’s financial resources. I did some checking, and found that his income was 1/4 of hers, yet he was spending money at an incredible rate, and sending quite a bit of money to his children. I was able to transfer the part of the money that was my mother’s into a different account, and was only found out when Mr. Collins went to write a check for a large sum to pay off his new car.
The one time Mr. Collins took mom out of the nursing home was to take her to her bank to close her accounts and transfer all the money into his name only.
In July of 2002, I initiated a conservatorship hearing for my mother. What a day that was! The room was packed with her family, and her friends and their families, some who had known her almost her entire life, while Mr. Collins had only his lawyer with him. Mr. Collins fought returning the over 17 thousand dollars he had had her put in his name, but in the end returned it to her estate.
In May of 2003 I received a call from the nursing home that I needed to come to Connecticut, my mother was dying. My mother died on May 12, 2003. Mr. Collins agreed to me arranging the funeral so he would not have to pay for it. At the cemetery, he made a remark about the name Collins not being on her headstone. When he found out he would have to pay for a new stone, he decided it was not important, just like my mother had not been important when he could no longer get his hands on her money.
Mom left him the right to live in her house for the rest of his life. The house now belongs to me and my sibling, but we have no rights to use it, or to even go in and make sure it is maintained. It is to this house that Mr. Collins has brought his new wife. What kind of man brings a new wife to a house that belonged to his deceased wife, and now to her children, and that he has no ownership rights to? I do not even know if she realizes this is not his house, and that if something happens to him, she will have to find a new place to live.
This is the man you made sound like such a good guy. I am sure the current Mrs. Collins has no knowledge of how he treated his previous wife, or she may have thought a lot longer about marrying him.
As I said at the beginning of this letter, I hope Joyce’s daughters are more vigilant than I was.

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