VIRGINIA BEACH - 93-year-old Norwood Thomas received a phone call this past fall from someone he didn't recognize. Did the name Joyce Durrant mean anything to him, the caller asked. Norwood considered for a moment, then gasped in recognition.
Seventy years before, in the midst of WWII, Norwood had been a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne, fighting during the Invasion of Normandy (D-Day). During his time in England, he had met a girl and fallen in love with her. Her name was Joyce Durrant.
After Norwood received sudden orders forcing him to return home, he had written to Joyce, saying in one letter, “Why don’t you come and make my house a home?” Joyce mistook this to mean that he was already married and thinking of leaving his wife for her. That was the end of their communication.
Norwood eventually moved to Virginia, where he met and married another girl. His marriage was a happy one, lasting until Christmas Eve of 2001, when his wife passed away.
Joyce also married, had two sons, and moved to Australia. But her marriage was unhappy, and after 30 years, she and her husband divorced. Then one day last year, Joyce saw her son on his computer, and asked him, "Can you find people on that thing?" A few keystrokes later, she had her answer. There was an article online about her long-lost love skydiving for his 88th birthday! Her son contacted the writer of the article, who in turn put him in touch with Norwood.
On November 6, 2015, Joyce and Norwood saw each other for the first time in over 70 years - via Skype. News of the reunion soon spread, and several people donated money to cover travel expenses so the two sweethearts could meet in person.
On February 10, 2016, Norwood was finally able to give Joyce something he couldn't give via Skype - a hug (or a "squeeze" as he calls it). The pair spent Valentine's Day together, thoroughly enjoying their time with each other. Though they realize time may have gotten the better of them, they still plan on keeping in touch.