Shanica Blair, Gleaner Writer
After 30 years of being separated, Cecil Harrisingh and Yvonne Richards finally tied the knot and said their 'I dos' at the Hope Temple Pentecostal Church of God, Waterford, St Catherine on July 20.
It was love at first sight whenYvonne and Cecil met during the summer holidays of 1976. She was a student at Maggotty Secondary School in St Elizabeth, and he was a student at the Grange Hill Secondary School in Westmoreland. They met while he was spending summer holidays with family in St Elizabeth. "We met from school days and we have been in love ever since," Yvonne tells Flair.
They spent their summer holidays going to football and cricket matches and stealing away to attend fairs and house parties.
For them, their glorious summer romance from 1976 to 79 was filled with love and laughter. That was until at 18 Yvonne got pregnant, and Cecil, in a bid to provide for his soon-to-be family, moved to Spanish Town to find a job.
After a few letters, the love birds lost touch and moved on with their lives.
"Things moved so fast. We used to correspond via mail, but after a while the mails kept coming back because he was not living at that address anymore," she lamented.
In 1997, Cecil went back to her community in Holland Bamboo, but was told that Yvonne had got married and had moved away. "That was a lie," she told Flair "We lost contact and I moved to Kingston but I didn't get married. He
later told me that he was heartbroken and didn't try to pursue me any longer."But Cecil never stopped hoping that he would see her again. "He said that deep down he was not convinced that I was married and he hoped and prayed to God that he would meet me again," Yvonne revealed.
After 30 years apart and three more children, they found each other. "To tell you the truth, I was not planning on ever settling down with anyone. After I had my last child in 1987, I haven't had a relationship. But I remember last August my church prophesied that I was going to get married, and I laughed. But then I remembered Sarah in the Bible when God told her that she would give birth and she laughed, but it came through in the end".
In 2012 just as Yvonne and her son Duwayne were making plans to finally go to Westmoreland to find his father and her first love, they reconnected. "Last year my son was on Facebook searching for other persons with his last name. It wasn't a popular one, so he figured more or less that the few he would find would somehow be related to him. He found this girl from Green Island High School in Westmoreland near to where his father was from. He told me about it and he started to inbox her about her father."
It turned out that they were brother and sister. "I could not believe it," she squealed.
"She told my son that her mother had told her about her father's first child - a son who was born in St Elizabeth. She gave him his father's number. It was after we had talked over the phone and met up that my husband told me about that call. He said he was riding home on his bicycle when he got a call from Duwayne saying, 'Hello, this is your son Duwayne Harrisingh from St Elizabeth. Is this Cecil Harrisingh?". My husband said he was so shocked he dropped his bicycle and hang up the phone. Then he ran into the nearest bar, ordered a drink of rum to calm down and called him back'," she recalls laughing.
"I love so many things about my husband. He is not fussy - he is a reserved type of person who doesn't let anything bother him. He is just adorable. He loves that I am jovial and always telling me that I am always there to cheer him up," she adds.
While it was not her intention to ever get into another relationship, she told Flair that Cecil always had intentions of someday marrying her.
ceremony was officiated by the Reverend Donald Walters. Their beautiful
three-tier wedding cake was decorated in their wedding colours of
fuchsia, lime green and turquoise.