Sixty-three years since they first met in high school, Thomas McMeekin and Nancy Gambell have reconnected and are now engaged.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Thomas McMeekin and Nancy Gambell share a story as old as time -- about love that was lost and then found again.
Sixty-three years after meeting in high school, these sweethearts have reconnected -- and are now engaged.
"I had a crush on her," McMeekin told ABC affiliate WFTS. "She was a beautiful cheerleader, and I thought she'd never accept a date because she was so pretty, and everyone loved her."
They dated in college but lost touch after that.
"We've had lives and jobs and professions and children and husbands and experiences," Gambell said.
After all that time, two 78-year-olds found themselves reconnected, reigniting their flames over the phone and through email and text.
Eventually, McMeekin invited Gambell, who lives in California, to visit his home near Tampa Bay, Florida.
"We were meant for each other, and so I said, 'I'm sending you tickets to come see me,'" McMeekin said.
This was not a fly-by-night visit. When Gambell arrived at Tampa International Airport in late June, McMeekin gave her flowers and presented her with a jewelry box.
Video shows McMeekin throw a pillow to the ground before dropping down on one knee. Gambell is overcome with emotion.
"It's been 60 years since we first met," McMeekin then tells Gambell in the video. "You have always been the one that I've had a crush on since your cheerleader days. ... You're everything I ever wanted in a partner, lover and friend. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
"Will you, Nancy, do me the honor to be my soul mate in life, my partner in every sense of the word, and to be my loving wife forever?" he continued. "Will you marry me?"
"I will," Gambell responded, and a crowd that gathered to watch the proposal erupted in cheers.
"To find it again at my age at this point in our life is just incredible, so have hope. There is a chance," McMeekin said.