College couple reunites & reminisces, with help from the library
When they were attending Rutgers-Camden in the early 1980s, Lida Maria Lazor and Frank Townsend had a picture-perfect romance. That wasn't just their opinion, or that of their friends. The editors of the campus yearbook, the Mneme, prominently featured a photo of the couple arm-in-arm, standing near the steps of the Paul Robeson Library, in the 1983 yearbook and again in the 1985 yearbook (when they graduated)!
Lida and Frank first spotted each other as they walked near the library. A friendship developed and soon blossomed into a strong romance. As Lida recalled recently: "Frank and I would often meet in front of the library, share a kiss, and socialize with our friends. We studied together at the library, took a Red Cross class together, and enjoyed participating in Campus Activities Board events, where Frank was an active member. Frank treated me to breakfast almost every morning at the campus cafeteria with the money he earned at the bookstore. You could often see Frank walking me down to Victor Hall, while practicing his chivalry by carrying my books."
Sadly, Frank and Lida broke up after graduation and parted ways. Lida moved out of New Jersey and Frank remained in the area, first pursuing a musical career and then, later, he took a job in the stock market on Wall Street.
Lida had two wonderful sons, Ryan and Mark, and they lived in Las Vegas, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Florida. When they got to Florida, Lida thought back to the romance of her college years and wondered what had become of Frank. Recalling that Frank had been very attentive to his mother Sonia, who'd lost her husband and Frank's father in an accident in the 1960's, Lida decided to call Sonia. When she did, she learned that Sonia was ill and Frank had put his music career on hold to take care of her. Lida wished Sonia well and asked her to send greetings to Frank.
Lida called back to check on Sonia in January 2012 and this time she reached Frank, who informed her of his mom's recent passing. Lida expressed her condolences. The two talked for a while and agreed to talk again soon. A subsequent phone call led to more phone calls and, soon, their romance rekindled.
In the summer of 2013 Lida visited Frank in Haddonfield, NJ and together they decided to visit their old campus. While there, they walked into the Paul Robeson Library, met Librarian Theo Haynes, and asked if they could see the old yearbooks that featured a photo of them. Theo helped them locate the yearbooks, congratulated them on reuniting, and then Reference Associate Jean Madden took a few photos to commemorate their visit.
Lida and Frank talk often these days and their second-chance romance is rich with good humor, mutual affection, and heartfelt appreciation. Lida still lives in Florida where her sons attend Florida Atlantic University and she works as a teacher of ESE/autistic children in the area. Frank is semi-retired and still works from his home in Haddonfield. The two of them look forward to the day when Frank will relocate to Florida and they will establish a life together, while supporting her sons on their own adventures.