By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — Sixty years after they fell in love, Bill Breon and Julie Wittes were married.
The couple first met as teenagers in 1949 when 17-year-old Breon traveled from his home in Penns Creek to attend a dance in New Berlin and set eyes on the winsome Wittes, 16.
“We became sweethearts,” he recalled.
For six months, the teenagers spent all their spare time together. It was such a magical time for Wittes that she documented all of their adventures in a diary.
The young couple knew they wanted to make a life together, but after high school when Breon joined the Air Force and was sent overseas during the Korean War, he made the heart-wrenching decision to end the relationship.
“I thought I was going to Korea and that I might not make it back,” Breon said.
Wittes read his “Dear Jane” letter and wept.
“I went to pieces,” she said, her face darkening at the memory.
As soon as Breon realized he wasn’t headed to a war zone and would remain in Japan, he penned a second letter asking her to wait for him.
“She didn’t answer,” he said.
They didn’t talk for decades, both moving on with separate lives.
Breon married and had three children, settling with his family in Florida. Wittes also married and raised two children in Selinsgrove.
She adored her husband, the Rev. Bill Adams, and told him all about her first love.
“I had two great Bills in my life,” she said with a laugh.
In 2008, their spouses died within two weeks of one another.
Though Breon and Wittes had thought of each other over the years, it was Breon’s sister, Janet Troutman, of Shamokin Dam, who made the first move.
During Breon’s visit home soon after his wife’s death, Troutman informed him that Wittes also was recently widowed.
“We did a drive-by and I saw Julie on her porch watering flowers,” he said, adding that he didn’t allow his sister to stop the car.
Later that day, Breon got up the nerve and drove back to Julie’s home. This time, he went alone.
Sixty years quickly melted away as they reminisced over Wittes’ diary, filled with photographs and details of the short time they’d spent together as teenagers.
That’s when Wittes learned Breon never stopped loving her and had even sent her a follow-up letter in 1949 telling her he was going to be OK and to wait for him after the war.
“I think my mother intercepted that letter,” she said, believing it was to spare her from further hurt and disappointment.
As they became reacquainted, the feelings they had for one another came back.
“Our love was rekindled,” Breon said.
During that first summer of their reunion, Breon drove from Florida to Selinsgrove four times to be with Wittes and catch up on six decades.
It was reminiscent of the time he bicycled from Penns Creek to New Berlin to be with Wittes when both were teens.
In October 2009, the couple married. Today, they spend winters in Florida and warm spring and summer months in Selinsgrove.
Wittes and Breon encourage others not to give up hope in matters of the heart.
“I think it was God who orchestrated it because everything fell into place,” she said.