courtesy of: The Morning News
By Rosalie Klein
Some may think that a Nicolas Spark book (or the movies made from them i.e.: “The Notebook”) are kind of corny, but when that sort of poignant romantic drama actually take place in real life, it touches all who witness it.
So it was for the regular stream of islanders who stop by the Alto Vista Chapel to say a small prayer and meditate a moment. On Monday afternoon, April 23, they were surprised by a vacationing couple in white, with the invitation to join them in a quiet moment of reaffirming their love and marriage of 30 years.
Linda and Bill Albrecht of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have been spending around two weeks on Aruba annually for the last ten years, and with the advent of the 30th wedding anniversary, they wished to renew their vows at the place which has renewed their spirits each time, the Alto Vista Chapel. A short visit to the site and a moment of contemplation has always been a must-do with each vacation.
Linda and Bill had known each other all their lives, growing up in the same neighborhood. “All that time, we both had crushes on each other, but were to shy to say or do anything about it,” reveals Linda. After high school, they had gone there own ways, but Linda went to live with her aunt while attending college, and it turned out Bill was living right across the street.
One day, Bill invited her to be a spotter while he and a friend went water skiing on his boat. “I was sitting there looking up at him, so handsome and well built; I couldn’t help thinking that you could travel all over the world looking for that special person, and sometimes they are right there in front of you-or living next door.” Bill was obviously having similar thoughts, and they have been blissfully wed since 1982.
“This was kind of a tough year for us,” observed Bill, “we had both spent time in the hospital, and felt we needed something special.” Their son had gotten married, which was a good thing, but he moved far away for his work, which made it bittersweet.
“We felt we needed to do this, renew our vows and renew or spirits,” explains Linda, “and we were suggesting all sorts of places to go to do it, when we looked in each others eyes and it just clicked-we were of one mind-the only place that was right was the Alto Vista Chapel on Aruba.”
They may have started out with only the two of them, but they had brought bubbles and favors, in hopes that anyone at the chapel would join in the spirit of the moment, and they were not disappointed. Those coming to worship were so touched by their devotion they were more than happy to join in; and two island ladies, Roxanne and Eveline, were honored to be asked to be their official witnesses.
“This could not have been more perfect,” agreed Linda and Bill after reciting vows to the background of their “their song”: Stevie Wonder singing “Ribbon in the Sky.” “It was everything we ever hoped it would be. We have traveled all over the Caribbean, but a friend who owns timeshares on Aruba told us it was the best of all the islands; after one visit we had to agree, we love everything about it, but particularly the friendly people. It was certainly the best choice for us to do our renewal of vows, we couldn’t ask for more.”