I read this heart warming story in the book Stories for the Heart. This book is a collection of different inspiring stories. And this particular one I shared here, The People with the Roses was written by Max Lucado. I am grateful for my cousin for letting me borrow this book.
It is about a young man John Blanchard who was deployed overseas to serve during the World War II; who after the war went back home to finally meet the girl he has learned to love without seeing her face. Their love story started in a library in Florida where he saw a book that is quite intriguing. He saw some notes in the margin of the book written by somebody whom he thought have a “thoughtful soul and insightful mind.” Flipping the book, he saw the name of its previous owner. She was a woman named Miss Hollis Maynell.
He made an effort to learn about her whereabouts. Finally, he located her address and learned that she is living in New York City. He wasted no time to write her. He introduced himself and invited her to exchange letters with him. He was sent overseas the next day to serve in war. In the span of thirteen months, they learned a lot about each other and soon romance started to grow between them. He wanted to see her; so he asked for a photograph of her. But she refused saying that if he really cared for her, her looks would not matter to him.
After a year and a month in Europe, he was finally able to go home. They agreed to meet at 7p.m. at the Grand Central in New York. The only description she gave to him was that she would be wearing a red rose on her lapel. As agreed, he waited for her at the Grand Central Station. And this is what happened.
As he was waiting for the girl he loves, he saw a young woman coming toward him. She was slim with curly blonde hair and blue eyes. She looked so perfect in her pale green suit. Captured by the beauty in front of him, he forgot about the rose the girl told her as part of her identity. He walked toward the young woman only to be greeted with “Going my way, sailor?” He has no choice but to step aside and let her pass. Behind the girl, he saw Hollis Maynell standing and wearing the red rose on her lapel.
As described in the book, she is a woman past 40 with “graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes.” The girl in pale green suit quickly walked away from them. The young man’s heart was torn. A part of him wanted to follow the young woman but there before him stood a woman with her pale, plump face yet gentle and sensible and gray eyes that exuded warmth and kindness. This was the woman who had been filling his thoughts for the past thirteen months. Without any hesitation, he showed the book that has started it all for her to know that it is the same man whom she exchanged letters with. This time he felt something far better than love. It is some kind of special friendship that he felt so grateful for.
He saluted the woman and gave the book to her. He could not hide the sound of bitterness and disappointment in his voice as he spoke. He introduced himself and invited the woman for dinner. Then she smiled at him and told him that she did not know what it is all about. Only that the lady in the pale green suit begged her to wear the rose on her coat and told her that in the event the man would asked her out for dinner, she should go and tell him that the young lady in pale green suit is waiting in the big restaurant across the street. And this is but just a test.