Man left high school sweetheart to serve during WWII. 76 years later they had touching reunion

When Carl Warner joined the Marines after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he never knew whether he would ever see his crush gain. But life had other plans, and the childhood friends met after being separated for 76 years.

Warner was saving money to ask his high school sweetheart, Abby Deutsch, out. But after Pearl Harbor happened, he left to serve the country.

“I didn’t have a car, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have any money, how are you going to take a girl out? I desperately wanted to date her and I just took too long to ask, because right after I turned 17, I was off to the Marines,” Warner told PEOPLE.

After the war, Warner became a foreign correspondent taking on dangerous assignments, while Deutsch worked as a secretary. They both went on to marry other people and lived their lives. But Warner always had a desire to meet Deutsch one more time.

About 10 years ago, Warner’s wishes came true, and he reconnected with Deutsch through a mutual friend. They began to call and write to each other. However, they never met before they were brought together thanks to the efforts of Brookdale Senior Living, where Deutsch lives, and Wish of a Lifetime, an organization that helps seniors achieve their goals.

When Warner and Deutsch laid eyes upon each other for the first time in August 2017 after being separated for about 76 years, neither of them could contain their happiness.

“We hugged and we kissed, as I knew we would. We renewed our friendship and talked to each other about what our life was like during those many years when we were apart,” Warner said.

They both took a tour of the Warner Bros Studio before having dinner at Warner’s home. And when the time came to depart, Deutsch was disappointed that the meeting had ended so fast. But she was also happy at having finally seen her best friend after so long.

“We are fortunate we have lived so long and in good health,” Deutsch said. “It’s just wonderful—I just have goosebumps all over!”

“I’ve had a wonderful life, and whatever happens from now on, it’s okay, though I’m struggling,” Warner said. “But meeting Abby again was a delightful, wonderful and terrific interlude.”

Warner and Deutsch’s story is a testament to how incredibly resilient friendships can be. And their relationship is something we hope will bring them happiness and peace for the rest of their lives.

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