Later in Love: Getting It Right The Second Time Around

Later in Love

A shared love of horses is one of the many things James Glassford and Susan Velkers bonded over before they began dating. Photo: Courtesy of James Glassford

For more than 20 years, Susan Velkers, 76, sent a polite Christmas card to her old boss, Jim Glassford, 87. Neither knew love was in the cards the whole time.


Jim Glassford: I’m a reiki master and retired public school principal in St. Catharines, Ont. I was transferred to Sue’s school in 1980.

Susan Velkers: I’d been there for a year as an elementary school music teacher. I ended up working for Jim for seven years. I remember we bonded over country western music, which we both loved. I used to send him little notes in the office sometimes. I remember one that said, “Help! I’m being held hostage for ransom!” He sent one back that said, “Sorry, no money in the budget.” 

JG: We had fun together, but we were both married at the time. I was married for 45 years when my wife suddenly died, two days after Christmas in 2007.

SV: I’d been married for 31 years when I became a widow. 

JG: It was a difficult time, but I relied a lot on my buddies and tried to stay busy. I was big into horseback riding, travelled to a few ranches in Arizona and Alberta. In July, Sue sent me a letter. 

SV: I love to write letters, postcards and Christmas cards, which I send 40 or more of every year. I have fun and decorate the envelopes and everything. When I worked for Jim, I’d always send him a funny Christmas card, so I just kept sending them.

JG: She was so proud in the letter because she’d been in the Catskills and was the only person who rode a horse. I think that was the moment that I thought, ‘She likes to do what I like to do.’ I got my nerve up to phone her and asked her out to lunch. 

SV: At the restaurant, we knew the assistant manager, because we’d taught him, as well as another lady who worked there, and we ran into a former colleague. It was like old home week! 

JG: I never saw it coming, but soon we were dating. When I told a friend I was seeing my music teacher, my buddy said, “My god, Jim! How old is she?!” 

SV: We had so many interests in common. I’d say, “Ooh, there’s an Elvis show. Maybe I should ask Jim?” I didn’t realize we were a couple until we were seated apart on a bus tour. The guide apologized and said she hadn’t realized we were an item. Well, neither did I! I probably dragged my feet more than Jim did. 

JG: We took 12 years to decide to get married. Sue spent lots of time at my place but had her own house about a mile away from me. 

SV: It was just before COVID when we came back from a cruise and Trudeau told everyone to isolate for two weeks. We decided to lock down together and stay at Jim’s house. I never left. 

JG: Love this time around is wonderful. There’s no pressure of working, raising kids, juggling everything. Now we travel the world, enjoying each other’s company. We’re off to Cuba next, then on a two-week cruise along the West Coast to the Panama Canal. 

SV: I was playing a song today that said, “Love is lovelier the second time around.” For me, that’s totally true. And all because of the card exchange. 

As told to Rosemary Counter

Have you had another chance at love? Zoomer wants to hear from you! Send your story and contact information to [email protected] to possibly be featured in the magazine.

A version of this article appeared in the Dec 2023/Jan 2024 issue with the headline ‘The Second Time Around’, p. 26.


Later in Love: Love Was in the Cards