It could have been a Valentine's Day wedding come true, but circumstances caused other plans for a Lehigh Acres woman and the man she plans to marry now in April and not this week on Valentine's day as she had planned.
June Winkel, who works at Reflections, a hair stylist shop on Lee Boulevard, said that back in 1973 she was going through a divorce and had rented a room from a woman she met. The woman's grandson, Jim Hagstrom, had joined the U.S. Army.
"It was Christmas time and Marge, the woman I rented from decided to go on a vacation and left me in charge of the house.
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Jim Hagstrom and June Winkel had planned to marry on Valentine’s Day this week but instead they had to move up their wedding to April. That’s when they will celebrate their own Valentine’s Day together as a married couple.
"Her grandson was coming home on leave and decided to stop over and surprise her but instead, he found me at her house and he didn't know anything about the arrangement I had with his grandmother," Winkel said.
"He basically pushed his way in and started searching for her, thinking I had her tied up or worse. I told him who I was but he didn't believe it and he left to find some answers," she said.
As her story continues, she said he came back an hour or so later and said he was sorry and after the dust settled down "we decided that we really liked each other and started dating."
It was hard because he was going back and forth to Fort Hood, Texas.
"Before I knew what was happening Jim brought me an engagement ring and asked me to marry him.
"I said yes because I loved him but couldn't marry him because of my divorce which was not final. Months later he got the news that he would be going overseas for two years," Winkel said.
June was 21 and her new love, Jim, was 19.
Winkel said she decided it would be best if they broke up while he was gone she said that when he came back and were both free and still loved each other, they would get back together but Jim was against this. She said he was angry but she told him if it was meant to be, it would be.
But as life would have it, June Winkel said a year after he was gone, she got married.
"When Jim got home, he went to his grandmother looking for me but she told him I was happily married. My son was born in 1980 and I moved to Lehigh Acres with my parents and my son and in 1984; I was single again. I married again in 1991 and divorced again in 2001 and for the last 13 years, I have worked two jobs, seven days a week and decided I would never marry again.
"I just couldn't get it right. The girls at the beauty shop where I work told me if I ever thought about it again they would have to approve of the man because I was terrible at it," she said.
Back to Jim.
After being told that the young woman he had fallen in love with had married, he took his grandmother's advice and moved on. But he has said now that he had never stopped loving the woman he met before going overseas.
Jim Hagstrom married in 1981 and had two sons. He had a good career with the electric company and retired 37 years later as supervisor of Chicago Substations.
Now the story takes a different twist.
While he was on vacation in Arizona, he decided to buy property and while looking for a real estate agent, he came across June's maiden name. He started to investigate that name and came across June's sister's obit notice and found June's married name.
"It led him to Facebook and that is how he contacted me after all those years," Winkel said.
"When we talked, it felt like we had just talked yesterday. We talked about our past, our present and our future.
"I told him I could never go back up north and he said I didn't have to, that he would come here telling me he had never stopped loving me his entire life," Winkel said.
She said she told all her friends at the beauty shop and all the girls she knew at Publix and they couldn't wait to meet him.
"Of course, everyone was a little leery at first but over the last year and a half, he has won them all over. I thought I was in love before but when the real thing comes along, there is no comparison.
"If I had any idea how much Jim really loved me, I would have never let him go and I would have waited forever. My life would have been completely different.
"I guess I have kissed a lot of frogs but I finally found my prince," she laughed.
She said Jim gave up his whole life to be here with her and there are not many men who would do that.
"We wanted to get married this week on Valentine's Day, but couldn't because we didn't have Jim's final divorce papers.
"But now that we do, we are planning to marry in April. Timing is everything and then it just wasn't our time, but now it is," she said with a big loving smile.
So although Valentine's Day is Friday, June Winkel and Jim Hagstrom will make pretend in April that it's Valentine Day again when they walk down the aisle and repeat their wedding vows.