Life can take unexpected twists and turns, as Jennifer and Darrell Lovejoy can attest.

On Friday, Jennifer came by the Democrat Journal, after making an appointment, to research through the bound editions of past publications, trying to locate her wedding announcement. She did, and just seeing the 1993 photo brought back a flood of feelings and memories.

She took pictures of the announcement her mom had submitted of their first wedding.

At 18, the couple married, but six months into the marriage, her mom became ill with cancer and Jennifer went to Missouri to take care of her. She died six months later. Darrell stayed here, then enlisted the Army – and the couple lost touch.

Jennifer eventually remarried and had four daughters, but never forgot her first love. One day, she saw his name on a mutual friend's Facebook friend request – as it turns out, the exact same time Darrell did. They immediately reconnected and began talking. After 26 years apart, the couple picked up where they left off as friends.

“He remembered everything, even songs I dedicated to him,” she said.

For the second time, his dad performed the wedding ceremony for the couple on May 1, 2020.

“We both had to grow up. At 18, you don’t know what’s going on,” said Lovejoy.

Today, life is really good, she said.

“He accepts my four daughters like his own, and we have a granddaughter who is 2 who adores him,” she said.

As for Darrell, he never remarried or had children.

“We talk a lot. He drives a truck and makes a good living and comes home every night,” she said.

What she most appreciates about Darrell is that he is genuine.

“He’s a tough guy on the outside and has a heart of gold; he’d do anything for anybody,” Lovejoy said.

Her favorite thing about him is his laugh.

“It’s hard to make him laugh, but it’s wonderful when he does,” said Lovejoy.

Check it out

The community is always welcome to make an appointment to come in the research through the archives, which go back to 1948. The books cannot be check out or taken from the office but a nice clean table is available for use. The books are too large and cumbersome to be placed on copier, so anyone wanting information will want to bring a phone to take pictures. Email or call 918-696-2228 for an appointment.