Chris Murray and Diane McCoy met in 1966. It was the 1st day of Staples High School. They were in the same homeroom. Both last names began with “M,” so they were assigned seats near each other.
Desperate for a way to get the attention of such a cute girl, Chris asked if he could borrow her pencil.
They dated all through Staples. Diane was a cheerleader — “the ‘It Girl,’” Chris recalls. He was a soccer player and golfer.
After graduation, she went to Colorado. He went to Florida. They drifted apart.
Chris chose Rollins College for its golf program — he thought he’d be a pro. But as a freshman he walked into the theater, and was hooked. He’d had no idea Rollins had a great theater program too.
He ended up acting off-Broadway. He met a Greek actress. They married, and moved to Europe. He became a director, writer and producer. They parted ways many years ago. Chris raised their 2 sons.
About 12 years ago — after 18 years abroad — Chris moved back to the US. He became a financial advisor and insurance strategies manager. He lived in Tarrytown, and did community theater.
A couple of years ago, he met someone who thought Chris would be a great fit for his boutique financial firm. Coincidentally, it was headquartered in Westport.
Chris was excited to work in his old home town. One day, on a whim, he wondered if Diane was still around. He Googled her name, and found a number. The voice on the answering machine was generic. He left a message, beginning with “I don’t know if you remember me….”
For 3 weeks, there was no reply. Chris Googled her once more. This time he found a different number — in Westport. Again, he left a message.
Two days later, she called back. “Of course I remember you!” Diane said. “I was your high school sweetheart!”
They got together for coffee. Coffee turned into a drink. A drink turned into 6 hours. They had 43 years to catch up on.
Chris had brought a scrapbook from Staples. Inside was a photo of the cheerleaders. Underneath — 4 decades ago — he had written: “Diane McCoy, my 1st true love.”
She brought a photo of Chris, with his red Austin Healey Sprite.
“We connected,” Chris says. “It just flowed.”
They discovered both were divorced. They also discovered that Diane’s brother Steve lived in Litchfield. That’s where Chris’s brother and sister lived too. In fact, Steve’s kids and Chris’s nephews and nieces had grown up together, and were friends. Steve had been their soccer coach.
Last Thanksgiving, Chris was alone with Diane’s mother. “Mrs. McCoy…” he began.
“Call me Phyllis,” she said.
Though he’s 62 years old, he found that hard to do. Since high school, she’d been “Mrs. McCoy” to him.
“Phyllis,” he asked, “is it okay if I ask Diane to marry me?”
“Chris Murray, you’re the only boy I ever thought was right for her,” she replied.
Last December 1, Chris moved into Diane’s Westport home.
On December 11 — her birthday — they drove to Compo Beach. It was the first place they’d ever kissed.
At sunset, by the cannons, he gave her a box. It contained a sapphire bracelet that once belonged to Chris’s mother, plus a “mushy letter.”
On the jetty he handed her a second box. This held a gold watch fob, and another mushy letter. At the bottom he’d written, “Will you marry me?”
She said “Yes!” It was cold, so they ran back to the car. Looking out, they saw a blond boy — Chris had been blond, once — and his girlfriend flying a 2-handled kite. They took a photo of it, silhouetted against the sky.
That night the couple had dinner at Tavern on Main, by the cozy fire. Afterwards, walking past Christmas lights on Main Street, they held hands. Snow flurries fell. “The years melted away,” Chris says.
At the end of January, Chris finally got a ring. He went back to Compo, to give it to Diane. A Jeep pulled into the adjacent parking space. Out came the same blond guy they’d seen before. He flew the same kite. “That’s crazy!” says Chris.
The reunited couple will marry this Saturday (October 12) at Green’s Farms Congregational — Diane’s family’s church. Chris has already joined the choir there.
And that led to one more heartwarming, we-know-our-love-was-meant-to-be story.
At rehearsal, Chris pulled out a folder of music. Written inside was the name “Bob McCoy.” Diane’s father died 12 years ago, but now he had one more connection with his daughter, and her at-long-last-husband-to-be.
“Diane and I are crazy about each other,” Chris says. “She was my 1st girlfriend, and the girl I was always in love with. I got so lucky. The angels are looking down on us.”