Love returns for Johnson and Washburn
By Phoebe Donald Robinson / Community Columnist
Caroline Johnson and Lowell Washington grew up in rural Iowa and were high school sweethearts. They fell in love the summer of 1948, just 16 years old. Both so young and in love, life brought curve balls into their lives and they drew apart.
After her high school graduation, Caroline moved to Sioux City employed as a nurse to spread her wings away from the farm. Life brought a new love, career Army soldier Andy Johnson, and they married. Over the years, Caroline and Andy sadly lost three of five children, but were blessed with two daughters, seven grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. After retiring from the military, they moved to Columbiana to be closed to daughter Lura Campbell. Caroline and Andy were blissfully married for 61 years at Andy’s death in 2012.
Lowell met German exchange student Franziska “Franzi” Mueller who lived on an Iowa farm while attending school. They fell in love, married and had four children, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Lowell and Franzi were happily married for 62 years at her death in 2012.
Early this year, widow and computer savvy Caroline searched the internet for her first love, Lowell, curious to see what happened with him. She found a newspaper article on the “History of Woodbury County, Iowa, 1984,” on the life of Lowell and Franziska Washburn and children. Then she saw that his Franzi died in 2012, the same year as her Andy. She sent him a card and waited to see if he would reply.
On Mother’s Day, May 15, 2014, Lowell calls, “Guess you don’t know who this is?”
“Lowell!” Caroline exclaimed.
They talked and have talked every day since. Lowell came to visit Caroline first in Alabama when his children encouraged him, bought his plane ticket and said “Go dad!”
Lowell looked into Caroline’s face and said, “Is it really you?”
Sparks can fly no matter the age! Caroline has since visited Iowa. Children of both Caroline and Lowell are thrilled with the renewed love between the two. Caroline and Lowell have exchanged vows of commitment to live their lives together one day at a time. Love never fails.