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Longtime Friendship Turns to Late-Life Romance

Sanford residents Ruby McLellan and Paul Roberts met 76 years ago after Ruby and her husband, Bob McLellan, moved into their first home in Alfred. Paul stopped by one day to welcome the newlyweds to the neighborhood. At the time, Paul’s girlfriend Alicia Hall lived across the street from the McLellans.

The four young people became good friends. Since neither couple had much money, on Saturday evenings they would often pick up some hotdogs and rolls and have a little cookout at Parson’s Beach in Kennebunk. Ruby recalls how, one night when it was raining, they had their picnic on the kitchen floor of Paul’s apartment.

In 1948, Paul and Alicia got married. As they each raised their families, the two couples remained close and often spent time together. Alicia passed away in 2004 after she and Paul had been married 55 years. Ruby and Bob were in their 65th year of marriage when he passed away in 2011.

The following year, Ruby came to live at Mayflower Assisted Living in Sanford. One day Paul came to call and asked if she’d like to take a drive with him to Kennebunk, where he had an appointment at a hearing aid clinic. More appointments followed, and they would have lunch afterward at a Chinese restaurant. Friendship blossomed into love.

One evening in 2013, Paul came to visit Ruby with a question on his mind. He got down on his 88-year-old knees and proposed. “I couldn’t say no!” she says with a big smile. They were married a few months later with her granddaughter as maid of honor, and his son as best man.

He moved into Mayflower with her, and they recently celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary. “It’s been eight good years for both of us,” she said. Paul is now 96 years old and Ruby is 95 – just a couple of kids in love.

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