For six days a week, no matter what the weather is, Ted Richardson visits his wife Florence’s grave at the Veteran’s Cemetery at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“I always tell her when I go up there, ‘Payback time,'” Richardson told ABC Chicago.
Richardson was just 16 when he met Florence, who was 14 at the time, in their hometown in Pennsylvania in 1941.. He told KGMB that after meeting her, “I went home and told my daddy that night I saw the girl I was going to marry.” When his father asked her name, “I said, ‘I don’t know.’ I didn’t know.”
As Richardson served in the Marines during World War II, Florence’s photo went with him everywhere. “She was beautiful. I didn’t mind looking at her all the time,” he said.
After the war, the two married. Richardson became a school teacher, and Florence worked for the FBI.
They grew old together, but five years ago Florence passed away.
“For 72 years, she lost her temper only once in 72 years, and that was my fault,” Richardson told the outlet. That’s why visiting her grave is “payback.” Not for the things she did wrong, but for all the things she did right. He brings her “thank you” flowers.
“I use mini carnations because when you first put them in, they’re just buds. Then about three days later they open up,” he said.
Richardson takes three buses to arrive at the cemetery, and then security drives him up the hill to his wife’s grave, which he has visited 1,300 times. “I have calendars and I mark them down every day when I come home,” he said. “I’ll keep going as long as I can go. God will tell me when I’ve had enough.”
For the 93-year-old, even death won’t stop his visits. He has arranged with his church to bring flowers to Florence once a month after he is gone.
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