by Holly Glen Gearhart, special to the Monitor
Charles “Ole” Carlson lost his wife of 64 years last year, and he was fine with being alone for a while. Then the nights got long and lonely.
Tying the knot for the second time, both Ole and his bride Marlene found happiness at an age when some think love is over. Ole is 83 and Marlene 75. “I hated being alone,” Ole said, sitting with Marlene their kitchen talking about life, love and how fate intervened.
Not entirely strangers, their paths have crossed for more than 20 years. Marlene volunteered at the Volunteers of America as a cook four days a week for three years, then served as president of the board of directors for two years. Before that, Marlene and her then-husband owned an auto parts store in Monroe, which she owned until 2009 when the economy tanked and she decided it would be better to sell it.
Ole has lived in Sultan most of his life and had a video store in Sultan which he sold in 1992. Since then he became very active in the community, especially at the Sultan Visitor Information Center and the VOA.
After his wife passed away, Ole decided to start dating again. He enlisted the help of a friend with whom he works at the Sultan Visitors Center, and while they were talking his friend mentioned that Marlene might be dating. As fate would have it, Marlene walked in the door.
One look was all it took and Ole asked Marlene to dinner that very day. He took her to dinner in Leavenworth in his new car, and suddenly it seemed as if his world brightened, having found Marlene. Ole was smitten from the first, he said.
Talking about his bride, Ole got a little misty in the eye and his smile revealed how happy he is to have found Marlene. “She is very open and loving and eager to please,” he said. “She is fun to be with; we laugh all of the time and we have similar likes and dislikes.”
Marlene added that Ole is “very caring and a fun person to be with. We made a vow to laugh at something every day.”
Ole and Marlene married Jan. 26 where they first met, at the Sultan Visitor’s Information Center.
“We are planning a three-week honeymoon,” Marlene said with a big grin. “We are taking a road trip through California, over to Arizona and more– just all over.” On the trip they will visit friends and family who were unable to attend the wedding.