High school sweethearts reconnect in Carmel
This is a story of love and hope for anyone who broke things off with a girlfriend or boyfriend and parted ways but always wondered about the possibility of getting back together…some way, somewhere down the road.
Bob Stoup and Juli Hall were high school sweethearts, but were separated in the 1940s and forced to make life choices that took them down different paths.
Eventually, they made their way back into each other’s arms years later.
Bob and Juli, both 86, have a uniquely wonderful story with a happy ending and can offer advice to those currently seeking a soul mate or wondering what Cupid has in store for them this Valentine’s Day.
Married in 2005, they live life to the fullest and are always seen together at The Barrington of Carmel, where they are known as “the fun couple” around campus.
“We have an interesting story all the way back to how me met initially,” Juli said. “We lived in different towns, went to different schools, but the summer of 1942 we met at a church camp. My pastor worked with Bob as a camp counselor for a group of the boys and introduced us – if it weren’t for him, we would have never met.”
Juli remembers keeping in touch with Bob mostly by writing each other after that introduction at summer camp. Little did she know, at the beginning of her sophomore year in high school, her family would move, and she would end up attending the same school as Bob.
“It was just fabulous!” Juli said. “I was apprehensive switching high schools when everyone already has their own group of friends, but then I ran into Bob, and he got me plugged into his great group of friends. I felt very fortunate, and we dated all through school and had a great time. In fact, as we were packing up and moving into The Barrington recently, I found my childhood diary; it was funny to see how many times Bob’s name was throughout my entries and how much he meant to me then.”
Because this was during World War II, most high school boys knew their time to be drafted was rapidly approaching. Bob finished high school early so that he could get started with college before he was drafted. When his draft notice came from the Army, he decided to enlist in the Navy instead.
Bob and Juli continued to write each other and talk occasionally. Juli stayed very close to his family, especially his mother and sister, as she finished school. She even traveled to Chicago with his family to see him after boot camp, but in 1946, they faced some life-changing decisions that would lead them down different paths.
“I got a call from Bob at my dorm one night saying he was in San Francisco and the Navy had sent him back to take a test for the Naval Academy,” said Juli. “Because of his typing skills and knowledge, the Navy wanted to put him through IBM school and work with computers. It was around that time that we ended up breaking things off because we realized we were headed in different directions.”
Bob went to work for the Navy several years and got married to an art teacher he met while in Pennsylvania. After the Navy, he worked in aerospace/aviation for GE in Pennsylvania for 24 years. Though he and his wife never had children, they enjoyed life together and shared hobbies like bicycling and bird watching.
Juli worked through college, got married as well and had three children.
Juli and Bob would run into each other at class reunions, and Juli kept in touch with Bob’s sister, but as far as their relationship was concerned – that was in the past.
Over time, Juli’s husband passed away and she remembers Bob’s sister telling her that his wife had as well. She and Bob then began keeping in touch more, and on November 25, 2005, they finally made vows never to leave each other again.
“We’re so happy to be together,” said Bob. “We feel truly blessed and have enjoyed the past few years together traveling and just living life. It’s also been great to feel like I’ve acquired children when I married Juli. We travel to see them and the grandchildren often, and I feel we have a strong family.”
When it comes to finding love, Juli’s advice is to have patience and hope. She believes it is a matter of timing and the right circumstances. To finally be united in marriage with her high school love in her late 70s, it certainly is never too late to happen to anyone.
“We love seeing such precious couples like Bob and Juli together around campus here at The Barrington,” said Janine Short, Move-In Coordinator for The Barrington of Carmel. “They are always seen together – whether working out in the mornings or enjoying a glass of wine in the evenings. They remind us of what true love looks like and how to enjoy life each day you’re with someone you love.”