A pandemic love story unfolds at a St. Charles home for seniors

Missouri

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – On this Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share a special report on love in the face of the pandemic. A St. Charles home for seniors hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic is now planning a wedding.

Richard Heskin met Cindy Wolff nearly five years ago—August 2016—at the Frontier Health and Rehabilitation home. Three times she passed his door in the hallway and each time he always had a new greeting.

“They say, ‘Third time’s a charm,’” Heskin said.

“The third time I came down the hallway, he was at his door,” Wolff said. “He said, ‘Would you like to watch a ball game with me?’ I said, ‘I believe I would.’

“She’s got beautiful eyes, pretty smile. She’s got an accent because she’s from Arkansas,” Heskin said.

Being from North Dakota, he’s quite taken with her southern charm.

They watched the game but mostly talked. They found they much in common. The clincher came when they shared a meal: hot dogs.

Wolff likes hers with mustard.

“With mustard he put Xs and Os on my hot dog,” she said. “I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ He said, ‘Does that get me any points?’ I said, ‘A few!’”

“I didn’t think it was a big thing,” Heskin said. “I just thought it was something simple. You know how girls are. It goes to their heart right away.”

Health issues and hospital stints forced them out of Frontier and kept them from getting married through the years.

They’re aware of the COVID outbreak at Frontier that saw 67 residents test positive. Twenty-five people died during the spring and early summer but there hasn’t been a positive test at Frontier since the end of July.

Heskin and Wolff, now in their 70s, have never tested positive and are doing well enough again that they’ve just moved back to Frontier, where they plan to be married at the place where it all began.

As for a honeymoon, Wolff said she’s never seen the ocean. Heskin dreams of taking her to a beach in Florida.

“I mean I can’t even think about not being with Richard. He is the love of my life,” Wolff said. “Happy Valentine’s Day to y’all.”

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