2017-02-10 / Neighbors

Friends find love 40 years later

VALENTINE’S DAY Pair met as kids at Crestview Elementary in 1969
By Alicia Doyle
Special to the Acorn


LOVE OF A LIFETIME—Randy and Dawn Weisbaum recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary. The couple, who met as children more than four decades ago at Crestview Elementary School in Simi Valley, reconnected in 2014. At left are yearbook photos of Dawn and Randy when they were in the third grade. LOVE OF A LIFETIME—Randy and Dawn Weisbaum recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary. The couple, who met as children more than four decades ago at Crestview Elementary School in Simi Valley, reconnected in 2014. At left are yearbook photos of Dawn and Randy when they were in the third grade. What are the chances of a third-grade crush turning into a marriage?

For Dawn Grasty and Randy Weisbaum, who met in elementary school and exchanged vows at age 53, it may have taken a while, but the stars ultimately aligned for their fairy-tale romance.

“It’s amazing how things would line up exactly right,” Dawn said. “It just can’t be coincidence.”

“At our age, you think life is over and you’ll never meet anybody,” her husband of two years added. “The moral to our story is to never give up on love and hope.”


Photos courtesy of Randy Weisbaum Photos courtesy of Randy Weisbaum The couple’s love story began in 1969 at Crestview Elementary School in Simi Valley, where the two met at age 8.

“The thing I remember most is that he would chase me and pull my hair when he caught me,” Dawn said. “I would let him catch me and he swears that I didn’t. But I did. I remember I really liked Randy. I thought he was cute.”

The two were among a group of children who all “chummed around,” Randy said.

“She was the silly, bubbly one that stood out the most,” he said. “We weren’t the class clowns, but we had that little chemistry as children. We had a lot of fun together. The most notable thing was me pulling her hair, and we’d kick each other under the table — just typical kid stuff.”

The two spent third and fourth grade together at Crestview and part of fifth grade. That year Randy moved to another home in Simi Valley and transferred to Park View Elementary, about 3 miles away.

“Suddenly the word was I was moving to another school and that was that,” he said. “I had no way of communicating with Dawn after that.”

The two went their separate ways and didn’t reconnect until more than four decades later.

Separate paths

In adulthood, Randy served with the U.S. Army, later became a truck driver, married and had one son and one daughter. His family lived in Idaho for many years.

At age 11 Dawn moved with her family back to their native North Carolina, where she graduated from high school and later earned a master’s degree in postsecondary and higher education.

“I never got married and I don’t have any children,” said Dawn, who works in college admissions at the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham. “I had a few long-term relationships, but for some reason I never felt like I wanted to get married. Then, when I reconnected with Randy, that all went out the window.”

That happened on Super Bowl Sunday in February 2014.

Randy was then divorced and living in Las Vegas.

“I had just gotten a laptop and my son was helping me set up a Facebook page,” Randy said.

He soon found friends from childhood on the social media site.

“I saw one of the kids Dawn and I hung around and saw that Dawn was one of her friends,” he said. “So I clicked on her and sent her a message and said, ‘I don’t know if you remember me, but I used to chase you and pull your hair.’”

Love connection

When Dawn, living in Durham, N.C., saw Randy’s message on Facebook, she thought she was simply reconnecting with an old friend.

“I didn’t think much of it, so we just chatted and he told me he was divorced, and we kept talking back and forth on Facebook for a long time,” she said.

Their online communication soon turned into phone calls. And what they thought was a simple reconnection quickly turned into a love connection.

“When we spoke on the phone, it felt like no time had passed,” Randy said.

In a matter of weeks, the two agreed to meet up in person. On May 14, Randy flew out to Durham for a weeklong stay with Dawn. About six weeks later, he returned to Durham and moved in with her.

The couple exchanged wedding vows on Dec. 10, 2014 at a courthouse in Durham.

“I was like, what are we waiting for?” Dawn said.

The following spring the couple threw a big party celebrating their union.

“He’s got a great family and my family loves Randy, too,” Dawn said. “And his daughter has adopted three children, so we have three grandchildren.”

While connecting the dots of their love story, Dawn believes it was serendipity. Everything seemed to line up in terms of timing, she said.

“I was just finishing up my master’s degree,” Dawn said. “If Randy had contacted me a month earlier, I would have been too absorbed because working full time and getting my degree was everything. So it was just two weeks after I finished my degree that things lined up perfectly.”

Dawn said she has no regrets about waiting until her 50s for Mr. Right.

“I didn’t settle and that would be my message to people,” she said. “Don’t settle and don’t give up. I always tell Randy that he is my prize for never giving up hope.”

In March, the couple plans to take a short vacation to Simi Valley to visit Crestview Elementary School. And they hope to reconnect with classmates from the past.

“We’ve been wanting to get back to Crestview, where it all began,” Randy said.

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