Newlyweds Paul Mead and JoAnn Manus-Mead got more than they bargained for when they decided to make a deal on KBEC’s Flea Market.
JoAnn, 75, didn’t expect anything special when she turned on the radio the morning of March 14, 2006.
“I was sitting by myself having tea and, for some reason, I switched on the radio and they were talking about the Flea Market on KBEC,” she said. JoAnn’s husband passed in 2003 and she was passing the morning alone.
Paul, also 75 and also widowed, didn’t expect anything more than to clear some room in the house and make a few extra dollars when he called the Flea Market to sell a box of books that had belonged to his late wife.
“My wife was always going to doctor’s offices and different places and liked to read while she waited,” he said. “She was never without her books.”
Over 100 romance novels weren’t serving much of a purpose at Paul’s house, but JoAnn thought she might sell them in a garage sale if she could get them cheap enough.
“I’m always having garage sales,” she said. “I said to myself that if that old man was anxious enough to get rid of them, I might could get them cheap, so I called him.”
The two decided over the phone that they could make a deal, but JoAnn wasn’t familiar with the area of Midlothian in which Paul lived.
“I told him to just forget it, that I’d never find his house,” she said. “I jokingly asked him if he would deliver them.”
When Paul realized how easily he could find JoAnn’s house, he decided to do just that.
“She told me she lived near the doughnut shop on 77. Everybody knows where that is,” he said.
The deal the two agreed on was that JoAnn would sell the books and then give Paul the money. The next weekend she had a sale, made $35 on the books and called Paul to come get his money.
When Paul arrived, JoAnn gave him the $35, not making a profit, and Paul asked her to lunch.
As it turns out, Paul didn’t make a profit on the books either. He paid for lunch at On the Border before taking JoAnn to the VFW where they enjoyed three or four games of shuffleboard. He then returned her home, where she began to give him a tour of the house and showed him pictures of her family.
“She showed me a picture from her late husband’s burial and I recognized the priest,” Paul said. The two began to talk and realized that they, with their late spouses, had attended the same church for many years without ever having met. They began to talk and realized how unusual it was that their paths had never crossed before.
“We went to the same church, ate at the same restaurants and shopped in all the same places,” JoAnn said. The two seemed to have a lot in common.
Paul was struck by the connection the two made and gave JoAnn a kiss as he took leave from her house that afternoon.
“By the time I reached the end of the street I was really hoping she would invite me back,” he said.
And she did. The two enjoyed several dinners, dates and outings together in the months that followed.
“I didn’t really know where he came from. But he kept coming back to the house and he didn’t have anymore books,” JoAnn said. “So I knew he must have been there for me.”
One evening nine months later, after JoAnn cooked him dinner at her house, Paul spontaneously dropped to one knee in the kitchen and asked JoAnn to spend the rest of her life with him. And she accepted his proposal.
“It wasn’t planned,” he said. “I don’t know what came over me, she must have made a really good meal.”
The two were married Aug. 4, 2007, in a ceremony officiated by Father Michael Guadagnoli, the same priest that buried JoAnn’s husband and Paul’s wife. He knew both families and had taken a particular interest in the couple’s budding romance.
“We had always commented that we couldn’t imagine how we could have had so much in common and never met,” Paul said. “Father Guadognoli cleared that up by telling us that, at the time, we were both happily married and that it wasn’t meant for us to meet until we did. He said that God had a plan and a purpose for us.”
The two are enjoying being newlyweds.
“It’s quite an experience to get married at 75,” JoAnn said.
Paul is moved by the amount of support they have received.
“It’s very fulfilling that both our families accept the union,” he said.
Ken Roberts, vice president and general manager at KBEC claims to have never seen the same kind of connection come from the Flea Market.
“It’s not unusual to have antiques bought and sold on the Flea Market,” Roberts said. “ But this is the first time we’ve had any get married. We wish them the best of luck and hope that they have many wonderful years together.”