Meredith Gardner and Fred Merckson grew up in Florida. Their families were very close and planned activities together. Meredith and Fred were around each other frequently and went through elementary school together. He was ahead of her and in high school began dating. Fred wanted to go into the military. Meredith was still in high school and decided it would be best if they went their separate ways and if it was meant to be, things would work out for them later.
Years later, after his discharge from service, he came back to Florida to seek out Meredith, but he was told she was dating someone. Meredith was at the soda shop one afternoon when she saw Fred hugging someone he had run into. She assumed that was his girlfriend.
The guy Meredith was dating went to Fred and told him to stay away from Meredith because he intended to marry her which he did but after a long relationship they separated. She moved to Lincolnton, North Carolina, and met and married another man and had two sons. Fred also married and had two daughters and a son.
Many years later, both attended their class reunion in Florida. Meredith was walking down the hotel hall and saw Fred. Love blossomed in an instant. Meredith had been widowed for 10 years and Fred had lost his wife two years earlier.
They spent a lot of time catching up. Meredith returned to North Carolina and they texted and kept in touch on Facebook. Fred visited her from time to time and they talked on the phone. A year later, they married.
From a story by Paulette Ballard in the Lincoln Times-News, Lincolnton, North Carolina.