It Could Happen To You
It's the greatest story in the world," says the ghost, and you'd have to be a pure
cynic not to believe her.
This is the story of a man, Bill Mears
' 71, who was passing through an airport in
Ft. Myers, Fla., in 1981 when he saw some-
one familiar in the distance. A ghost. A
lovely ghost. And a memory jerked inside
his mind. And then another. And then
another. And over the next 16 years, she
kept popping back into his brain from time
to time. That girl, Molly. His college sweet-
heart for two years. They had gone to bas-
ketball and football games together. They
had strolled Franklin Street hand in hand.
Weren't they good together?
"Whatever happened to Molly
Urquhart?" he wondered to himself."Why
didn't I go up to her in that airport and say
GAA's alumni directory.
That was all it took for fate to step in.
Mears, by then separated from his wife,
bought an alumni directory that year. When
he couldn't help
but wonder if an
It worked. She
your own and applying an entrepreneurial
spirit to everything you do; and the next
day you're a cooed again and your heart is
doing cartwheels and you're pinching your-
self and wondering if this
can really be, because things
like this, they don't happen
But what if they do?
And so they agreed to
meet. In New York. Six
months after the first e-mail.
Nerves were a-twitter on
both ends of the East Coast.
It was so nice, so perfect,
what they had. What if fate
proved less kind this time?
very innocuous at
the college days,
that sort of
and Molly Urquha
on their wedddillg day
"I was prepared to say,'I
have made a big mistake: "
hello?" Oh, he knew why. He was shy. He thing," as they went along, she says,"the e- says Urquhart.
was with other friends. He was with his mails became more and more But what she ended up saying was this:
wife."It haunted me for a long time:' Mears ... how should I say? ... revealing!' "Yes, I will marry you!'
says."I kept kicking myself for not going up "It just brought up all these 'What if's?' " Her plane had been the only one to make
to her." she says."What if I hadn't bought a com- it out of Raleigh to New York that stormy
But that's what happens. Time passes. puter? What if I hadn't returned my infor- January night in 1998. Six hours after she
One day you're a college boy who nicknames mation to the alumni directory? What if he was supposed to arrive, she walked into the
his apartment complex the Ponderosa, hadn't ordered an alumni directory? What airport and there was Mears, waiting on her,
laughing with and loving a girl you met if we'd both been married to someone else?" taking no chances this time as he watched
through mutual friends; and the next day Still, neither of them really thought it his lovely ghost become real before his eyes.
you're a man and you have three children would amount to much. It was a little weird, "Once we saw each other, it all just sort
and a job up north. this e-mail relationship idea."Of course it of melted," she says."You know the old song,
You left the girl behind in Raleigh after was:' affirms Mears, softly."But a nice weird!' 'Love is Lovelier the Second Time Around?'
graduation and returned home to Con- Yet, the e-mails led to confessionals and We're both big proponents of that."
necticut, unsure about your future plans. the confessionals led to phone calls and the And that's what happened, if you care
She taught school for a while, lived in Florida phone calls led to something deeper and the to believe it. Bill Mears and Molly Urquhart
for a while, then returned and started her question, shyly, finally came: Should we meet? said their belated "I do"s, 28 years and
own business in neuromuscular therapy. "The whole thing was exciting because "plenty of different lifetimes" later, on
Sure, she wondered what became of 01' he wasn't nearby," Urquhart says."He was Sept. 3, 2000, in a little white country church
Billy Mears, too, but not enough to do any- safe. I had never been married and had that her great-great-great-grandfather built.
thing about it."We just lost touch, for no planned my life out accordingly. I had started And Mears moved back to Raleigh.
good reason," says Urquhart, who earned my own business and was very dedicated "In a lot of ways, it's like being a teenager
her degree in 1970. Not that she was very to those pursuits. All of a sudden, this came again," he says."Even though we're older
good at keeping in touch, anyway. In the along and turned my world upside down." and have been around the block a couple
summer of 1997, after the self-described She's giggling. of times, we still have that feeling of youth-
"computerphobe" got an e-mail address, But that's what happens. Time passes. ful love!'
she finally sent some information into the One day you're a woman who is happily on
Beth McNichol ' 95
in this issue
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