When one thinks of life in a retirement community, there are probably a slew of images that pop into one’s head as to what goes on inside there – some good, some maybe not-so-good. Romance, love, sweet music, and marriage are images that are probably not at the top of that list, which is why I find it refreshing to come across a story that contains all of these elements.
Recently, Forté was lucky enough to cover the story of 88-year-old Don Cassling, a resident of Parkway Place in Houston, and 79-year-old Sally Holland. Many years ago, Don had worked with Sally’s husband for eight years, and the two couples became lifelong friends. After Don’s and Sally’s spouses passed away, the two began to develop a more intimate friendship – and ultimately a romance.
For years the two have been playing duets together – Sally on the piano, Don on the violin. Three years ago, they decided to start a band called Strings and Things, bringing in their good friend Jim Thompson to play guitar. They perform at Parkway Place and other venues in the Houston area.
In the fall of 2013, Don proposed to Sally, who said yes without a moment of hesitation. After three months of engagement, Don and Sally decided they wanted to get married before Christmas. They found planning a wedding a bit difficult during the holiday rush, with many vendors and locations already booked. Despite the hubbub of the holiday season and the brutal ice storm that shall forever be remembered as “Icepocalypse 2013,” the couple had a wedding on December 7 at First Methodist Church in Houston. In fact, they were the very first couple to be married in the church’s new chapel.
They also managed to fit another “first” into 2013, performing together as husband and wife for the first time at a Strings and Things performance at Parkway Place on December 13.
Don has three children and Sally has two, all of whom have children of their own, so the couple get their fair share of “Brady Bunch” jokes. All of the children are happy for their parents and were thrilled about the engagement and wedding, as was the staff of Parkway Place.
The couple will continue to perform regularly at Parkway Place with their friend and Parkway Place resident Jim Thompson, the guitarist for Strings and Things. As for Don and Sally, they now reside together in Sally’s home, living proof that you’re never too old to find love and start a new adventure.