and Lois Weiss
Meant to be Together
(as featured in the Spring 2009 AlumniNews)
By Irene Sherlock
That old truism about the course of true love never running smoothly is a bit of an understatement when it comes to Bill ’61, ’70 and his wife, Lois ’61, ’71, ’78 (Heckler O’Hara) Weiss. In point of fact, after starting up in 1958, it sputtered and didn’t run at all for a while.
A long while.
Let’s start at the beginning. Flash back to the late ’50s: the two WestConn students were dancing the Lindy together at live music clubs like Danbury’s Avalon and Armando’s.
“We did love to dance,” says Lois, recollecting how they managed to fit that favorite pastime into their college days.
“And we loved live music,” adds Bill, her husband of 10 years. The two met while attending what was then Danbury State Teachers College, and they were quite taken with one another. At the time, Bill had served four years in the Air Force and was now finishing his degree on the G.I. Bill.
“He’d been out in the world and seen a lot of life,” says Lois, explaining one of the things about Bill that intrigued her but also set him apart from her own experience. “I was only just beginning to taste my independence.” Their religious differences gave her pause, as well.
So the couple split up. Each earned a B.S. in Education from what had become Danbury State College and both worked as educators all their professional lives. They went on to meet new people, each ultimately marrying and settling down in the Danbury area.
Lois earned an M.A. in Education and a Professional Diploma of Advanced Study in Reading from WestConn. She then graduated from the Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) Administration and Supervision Program.
Meanwhile, Bill had taken on earning an M.S. in Education from WestConn and a sixth year diploma in Administration and Supervision from SCSU. He taught middle school science for 31 years in the Danbury school system.
After a full and successful 31-year career of teaching, he retired, becoming a frequent attendee at WestConn’s basketball and baseball games. He had played baseball himself at WestConn, where he was considered an outstanding catcher.
For a time, Bill and his then-wife, Thyra, enjoyed their new life, but then she became ill and ultimately passed away.
Lois also had seen her share of loss. She was widowed at a young age and had focused on raising her two children alone. Her work as a reading and language arts teacher in the Bethel school system continued throughout those years.
In time, she heard through the grapevine that her long-ago beau Bill Weiss had been widowed. But they hadn’t kept in touch, except for meeting at their 25th class reunion. She hoped he’d been happy in his marriage and didn’t think much more about it.
As it happened, Bill knew that Lois had lost her spouse early on, but he’d heard little else about her. “I ran into a friend of hers,” he says. The friend was going to a party that night. “She told me Lois was giving the party and invited me to come along.”
“I was a bit put out about that little unplanned invitation,” Lois recalls. She worried it would be an awkward evening. But she needn’t have: Sparks flew almost immediately. The nice kind of sparks, she says.
As Bill remembers it, they had a good time. So he asked her on a date.
“We went to King Neptune’s. It was about 40 years after we’d first met.” Lois’ voice takes on a tender note as she says this. You just know this is a story the two love to tell about reconnection and getting a second chance at love.
That night after dinner, Bill brought his ‘new date’ home to her house. “I got out my old 45 records,” she says, “and we rolled up my living room rug.”
She leans forward, drops her voice and looks a little mischievous. “My grown daughter came home and couldn’t believe that her not-so-young mother was dancing with her old boyfriend in the living room!”
They were engaged six months later. While Lois taught her last semester of school, Bill planned the wedding. The reception was held at Anthony’s Lake Club and Lois reports it was a lively success.
“The band was Higher and Higher. They played ’50s and ’60s songs the whole time!” Lois recalls. Their trivia group threw an after-reception party for the couple, who later honeymooned on the magnificent QE2.
“Life is good,” Lois sighs, and you have to believe her. The Weisses are enjoying retirement, travel, each other … and attending events at WestConn whenever they can.