Speed Reads

love conquers all

Couple pressured to break up decades ago gets a 2nd chance at love

Decades after she broke up with him, Jeanne Gustavson tracked down her first love, Steve Watts — and this time, she's not letting him go.

Gustavson and Watts met in the early 1970s, when they both were part of the German Club at Chicago's Loyola University. They started dating, but Gustavson, who is white, said her mother was "livid" over her being in a relationship with a Black man. She was pressured into breaking up with Watts, a move she instantly regretted. "I can't turn back the clock," Gustavson told CBS News. "I wish I could. I would have married him."

She never stopped wondering what happened to Watts, and last year, decided it was time to find him. She discovered he was living at a nursing home in Chicago, and like her, had been married, got divorced, and didn't have any children. His life had also taken a hard turn — Watts experienced homelessness, and was in the nursing home after suffering two strokes.

He was still "the wonderful, gorgeous man that I knew," Gustavson said, and with their romance rekindled, she arranged for Watts to be moved to her home in Portland, Oregon, where she can serve as his full-time caretaker. Watts was thinking about Gustavson for all these years, too — "I always loved her," he said — and both are grateful to be back in each other's lives. "We both get a second chance," Gustavson said.