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Vintage love affair finds new life after decades apart

Frann Kuhn gets behind the wheel of her 1930 Model A, left, and Robert Kuhn heads down the highway in his 1937 Ford coupe. (Jean Ruzicka/Enterprise)

Robert and Frann Kuhn will celebrate their first wedding anniversary June 13.

"But it feels like we’ve been together forever," Frann, 70, said of her spouse, who’s 78.

The septuagenarians have reunited as a couple, after a half-century apart. Their romance began in classic ’60s style, Robert cruising into a Peoria, Ill. Steak and Shake in a 1927 Chevrolet. "She waited on me," he said.

"I like your car," Frann Long told him. (He’d borrowed it from his brother.)

"I’ll take you home in it tonight," Robert offered.

"Tomorrow," she told him.

She wasn’t being coy; her ’54 Ford was sitting in the parking lot.

They began dating in 1962 and were engaged a year later, Robert soon drafted into the Army.

But the engagement was broken when Frann decided, at age 20, "I wasn’t ready to get married, to settle down."

After Robert returned from military duty, they dated once, in the spring of 1965, subsequently parting ways.

"I didn’t see her again until 1978," Robert said. The happenstance meeting was at a coffee machine at the Peoria Caterpillar plant, where both were employed.

Frann had just gotten married; their conversation was brief.

"We didn’t see each other again," said Robert, who was subsequently married and divorced.

"Until we connected online in the fall of 2014," said Frann, who had become a widow after 35 years of marriage.

"Hi, is this you? The guy who restores vintage cars?" she asked via Twitter.

"Yes," Robert replied through cyberspace, communication  restored.

Robert posed the cryptic question online, "What should I do with my life?"

Frann intuitively replied, "Follow your heart."

"And that’s when it all started," she said.

In April, 2015, Frann flew from Tennesee and Robert from Minnesota to home territory: Peoria. It was the first time they met face to face.

June 6, Robert headed to Tennesee and the couple was soon bound for Nevis Township with two dogs, two cats and a U-Haul trailer.

"We beat the movers by an hour," said Frann of their June 11 arrival - a giant "Follow Your Heart" poster greeting her in the kitchen, along with jelly beans - her favorite.

  They were married two days later. "On my birthday."

The couple has discovered many mutual interests.

The home is replete with all kinds of antiques – "including us," Frann quipped.

A life-size Elvis sits next to a juke box in the living room.

And both are classic car aficionados, Frann’s a 1930 Model A, Robert’s a 1937 Ford coupe.

Like their jalopies, it’s vintage affection restored.

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