In 2012 I wrote a tender story about an elderly man looking for a wife. It touched my heart so much that when I re-read the story I had to find out what happened. So what happened to that Hallmark moment in time?
One of my favourite Christmas movies is “A Christmas Wife” starring Jason Robards and Julie Harris. Robards portrays a recent widower named John Tanner whose annual Christmas family trip is suddenly canceled. He attempts to rescue his traditions in a radical way by finding a dating service and “hires” a woman to be his family to spend the Christmas weekend with him. Julie Harris is the sad, perceptive, and mysterious woman, Iris, who agrees to be his “Christmas wife” – but only if he will ask her no questions about herself. Was this story far fetched from reality?
In 2012 Sandy McCulloch, 82, of Corvallis, Oregon, wanted a wife — and he wasn’t afraid to let anyone know it. Around his neck hung a sign that reads: “Wanted: a wife.”
McCulloch suggests that the future Mrs. McCulloch be over 60, love books, have a sense of humour and live locally.
“People look for a wife for different reasons when they are 20 or 25 than when they are my age,” McCulloch, a non-fiction short-story writer, tells the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “I’m looking for companionship”.
Surprisingly McCulloch was divorced three times by the age of 39. He says he learned from those mistakes and has “cleaned up his act.” One day a hospital greeter asked him if she could assist him while he waited for a friend. McCulloch told her that the only assistance he needed was to help him find a wife.
The greeter joked that he should wear a sign around his neck, as there were many single women working at the hospital. Since that day, McCulloch occasionally wears a sign advertising for a wife. His first outing was at a local sandwich shop Old World Deli where he sells his non-fiction stories three days a week.
“The response was rather amazing and delightful,” he says of his first day wearing the sign. “It’s the closest I’ve ever come to being a rock star in a room full of people.”
We wish you luck Mr. McCulloch, and I bet if you look hard enough you will find her because:
“Sometimes seeing is believing. And sometimes the most real things in the world are those things we cannot see.” The Train Conductor, The Polar Express
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Mr. McCulloch!
So did this story have happy ending? It’s three years later- Mr. McCullough must be nestled in front of the fire- right? Not so fast!
An 83-year-old Corvallis man who made national news last December for his creative efforts to find a wife was arrested Thursday on allegations that he assaulted a female neighbor in his low-income senior apartment building.
Update 2016– I keep checking– not a word has been heard about Mr. McCullough since.
Author’s Note–Maybe he was looking for love in all the wrong places?