Walter and Arlene

Written: December, 2004

By, Walter and Arlene Hansen

Once upon a time a boy and girl met in the first grade (PS 42). They went all through school together. Families knew one another and socialized. A year after high school graduation from Tottenville High School (in June of 1960), the boy called the girl from Texas, where he was in school for the Air Force, and asked her to marry him. What a shock it was to the girl since the boy never gave any indication that he felt that way... they’d just always been good friends. Needless to say, they did not marry. They went on to marry other people, but over the years, still thought of one another.
In October of 2001, the girl (woman now) was contacted through her brother, who lived in North Carolina, that an old friend from school was trying to locate her for an alumni paper of Tottenville High School.

That person was Ellen (Lutter) Petersen and the woman was Arlene Rahtes Harris. Arlene just happened to be coming to visit her brother at the time of Ellen's call. When she returned home to Florida, she called Ellen. During the conversation Ellen mentioned that she could not locate Walter Hansen. Arlene told her that she might be able to locate him for the paper. It just so happened that she remembered the name of Walter's mother and looked up her name and address on the Internet.

Walter's mother remembered Arlene right off and they had a lovely conversation. She gave Arlene Walter's address in Maine and, on Christmas Eve 2001, Arlene wrote him a letter asking if it was OK to give Ellen his information and gave him a brief bio of her life up until then. A few weeks later Arlene received a letter back from Walter saying that he was glad to hear from her and to go ahead and give Ellen the information.


From letters they progressed to e-mail. Then in September of 2002 he came down to Staten Island from Maine and Arlene came up from North Carolina. By that time Arlene had moved from Florida to Winston-Salem, NC. They had a mini-reunion with Ellen and Kristen Erickson '60.

Walt and Arlene talked nonstop for three days straight! Of course, by this time, he knew Arlene was a widow and Arlene knew that Walter was in a bad marriage and was in the process of getting a divorce.

The happy couple got together in November of 2002 and just got married this past October 4, 2004.

Much has happened since November of 2002. Arlene's Dad passed away in April of 2003 and there was a lot to deal with there and they moved from Winston to her Dad's house in Mooresville, NC. After renovating that house, they sold it and moved to North Fort Myers, FL just in time for the hurricanes. They both liked Florida and thought it was a good move for them. They sustained minimal roof damage and a downed tree in their front yard from "Charley" which wasn't too bad, considering that just a very few miles north of Arlene and Walt, the damage was extensive. Now they are waiting for a new roof and are painting their house and doing some new landscaping.

A special Thank You: All we can say is a big THANK YOU, Ellen. If it had not been for you, Walt and I might never have gotten together again and found the happiness we have now.  
Please let Walter and Arlene know your thoughts about their experience and article. To email them, click: Walter and Arlene