The reunion between Norwood Thomas and his WWII girlfriend was nothing short of amazing, but, it came with one big disadvantage: “I can’t take you in my arms and give you a big hug,” the 93 year old vet told Joyce Morris who is now 88 years old, during a Skype call. “Well, we’ve got to get on that then,” she said back to him.
So much has changed since they last spoke or last seen each other, just a few short months before Norwood took part in the D-Day landings. When the war had ended, he went home and wrote a letter to Joyce, asking her to marry him. She had thought that he was already married though so she refused the proposal. They both went on and married other people years later, Joyce had ended up living in Adelaide Austrailia and Norwood lived in Virginia Beach, VA. Joyce had seen an article on Norwood in the newspaper, saying how he was going to go skydiving on his 88th birthday and started to track him down, since she was divorced. It all seemed like a big dream for them to meet up, but 300 generous donors had changed that for the both of them.
After hearing and becoming so involved in this couple’s story, Barbara McDonald had started a ‘GoFundMe’ page to help raise money for a trip. “Normally, you read about this kind of stuff in books, you don’t ever get to witness it in real life,” she told reporters. Hundreds of readers gathered $7,500, but the donations unfortunately were not enough to get Norwood, who is also battling prostate cancer and on a strict fixed income and had to take his caretaker and son to Adelaide. Then, an airline stepped in, New Zealand Air, offered first class airfare for Norwood and his son to visit Australia next month so the couple can finally reunite in person, on Valentine’s Day! “I’m numb,” Norwood says to reporters, “I have no idea what my emotions will be like when I finally get to see her face to face, what would you do if I could give you a big hug?” Norman asked Joyce back in November. “We could always hug, can’t we?” she replied to him. “Whatever age we are, it will always feel the same.”