Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Romantic Moment in my Life

In June of 1948 I went to London England for some R & R. On the Sat evening I went to a dance, & afterwards was invited to the National Hospital Residence for afternoon tea. It was a warm sunny day, and after the tea I asked one of the young ladies if she would go for a walk with me to nearby Hyde Park. At first she said no, adding that she would rather read a book. I suggested that I toss a coin, & if it came up heads she should come with me. She agreed & I tossed an English Penny. I won the toss, and we went for a walk, and thus began the kind of relationship that one dreams about.  We had a wonderful afternoon, enjoying each others company. Her name was Maureen Cronin & she had a delightful Irish accent. Maureen agreed that I could call her Penny, and that has been her nick name since that time.

At the time I was in London I was serving in the Royal Air Force on a short 3 year contract, & was stationed in northern England at RAF Station Kirkham, a Base near Blackpool, so our communication to Penny was by telephone, post cards, or short week-end visits to London. On Nov 12 we travelled to Rochester Kent by bus to visit my cousin Jim Langford & his wife Joyce. At some distance before we arrived at our destination, I went down on my knees at the back of the bus and asked Penny to marry me.  Penny said Yes, so we had lots to celebrate that weekend.

My brother Carl was in the Canadian Navy serving on the Aircraft Carrier "Warrior", & Penny & I arranged to be married in London on Jan 29th, 1949 while the "Warrior" would be docked in Portsmouth. Carl, and some of the ship crew, & some of my Air Force friends came to the wedding. Penny's Uncle Jack and Aunt Peg also attended. Penny's sister Josie was bridesmaid & she also sang at the wedding, & both Penny and Josie sang during the reception. After the Reception Penny, myself and brother Carl went to Dublin Ireland to meet all the Cronin family.  Our honeymoon in Killarney was delayed until several months later.

Penny passed away with congestive heart failure on July 30th, 2012 at age 84. She was an elegant lady with a kind and gentle soul. We did love, care, and support each other, and I will always remember with pride that first Romantic Moment when I found my lucky Penny, my Irish Rose.

We had a tremendous marriage that spanned 63 years. I think the strongest bond that held our marriage together was being of the same faith. Penny had a great faith and trust in Jesus, and to keep us on tract, if things went wrong in our marriage we tried to fix it. The good lord blessed us with five children that we love dearly and we stay in contact with them by means of Skype.


  1. What a lovely, lovely story. Thank you for sharing!

  2. What a powerful image Bob at the back of the bus kneeling and proposing! So romantic!!!

  3. Oh are a very rare person, and I am so happy I met you and knew you and Penny for all these many years!!! In this crazy day and age in which we live now...a romantic man is such a breath of fresh also leaves a huge lump in my throat, and, although I know he loves me very much, it has been my wish that the love of my life had that flair for saying such beautiful things that warm the heart and send the spirits soaring! Penny and you were so blessed to have such a lovely marriage - with its trials, no doubt...but the love and respect you had for each other made your marriage a very special one, and one of a very few! God bless you, and thank you for writing this beautiful blog!

  4. Thank you Bob for sharing!
    You have experienced an amazing life - led by the hand of God.
    It's refreshing to see a husband remember with love, the details of your courtship all those years ago. I am blessed to know you (and have known Penny).

  5. This is such an amazing story. I didn't know how you and Penny had met. I think you have a gift of writing. Thanks for sharing
    and God bless,

  6. Amazing story...and a lucky life I would say. Strolling through my Uncle Cliff Reed's Lancaster diaries it seemed most of his happiness at that time was found at the Saturday night dances. Set amidst a page was the name and address of an English Lass and within quotation marks read "has potential". Uncle Cliff was shot down over Berlin a few months later on January 16, 1943. And that potential went with him.