Thirty-four years ago, Harry Camp embarked on a two week cruise onboard the Royal Odyssey sailing from Acapulco to Florida. He recalls being asked by two couples who were his friends to join them on the trip. “I told them I would go if I could get a nice room, not a tiny room down in a hole. It was just one day before we left that I got the call about my room. It was almost by accident I ended up on that cruise,” he said.
By chance (or fate), Myrna Anderson came aboard the same cruise ship on the same day. “I had a friend who was a travel agent, and she asked if I wanted to go with her,” Myrna recalls, “and I said, why not?”
As the cruise began its voyage south, it did not take long for the two passengers to find each other.
After some convincing by his friends, Harry meandered upstairs for a cocktail party in hopes of meeting other passengers. He grabbed a drink, headed outside and was quickly approached by a woman eager to introduce herself.
February 18, 1983 marks the beginning of Harry and Myrna’s whirlwind romance on the high seas.
Following their meeting top deck, Harry was swift to invite Myrna to dinner. It was by chance (or fate) that his six seat dinner table had one vacant chair. Myrna accepted the invitation and sat next to Harry every night for the next 14 days. Their time together extended well beyond dinner. The days were spent exploring sights together and nights were filled with dancing, a passion they share.
“It had been a long time since I had danced like that, but once we got out there it was like we’d been dancing together forever,” said Harry.
Before they knew it and all too soon, the ship was docking in Florida. Myrna remembers having to ask Harry to help her with her suitcase. “It seemed I had bought too many things and I couldn’t get my suitcase shut. And, of course, it was Harry to the rescue.” “I had to sit on her suitcase!” Harry laughed.
After the hilarious encounter with the suitcase, sadness rushed over both of them. They knew parting ways was inevitable. Harry returned to California and Myrna to her home state of North Dakota, but they both refused to let the distance end their love story.
“He called me everyday before I left for work and I also received letters”, blushed Myrna. This morning ritual continued for almost three months when Harry surprisingly showed up on Myrna’s doorstep in North Dakota. Harry knew that he did not want to spend another day without Myrna by his side so, on April 10, 1983, he asked Myrna to marry him, and she joyously answered, “Yes!”
Myrna noted, “I wouldn’t normally advise someone [like my grandchildren] to date for such a short time before getting married.” Then she and Harry shared a glance, a giggle and a loving smile.
Following two months of wedding planning, the couple married on June 16, 1983. It was a beautiful summer day as thousands packed the large church in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Their family and friends surrounded them on their big day sharing stories and songs of love as the couple recited their vows.
After almost 35 years since the day they exchanged vows, their love is unwavering. They hold hands in their apartment at Waverly Gardens as they share their plans for this Valentine’s Day, “We are going to the dance,” says Myrna, “We love to dance.”
Harry, now 107 years old, enjoys the dance floor mostly from the sidelines these days. Even so, such occasions recall his early days of dancing with Myrna, “We shut down all three dance floors,” referring to the times they danced onboard the Royal Odyssey, “we shut them down every night,” he boasted.
Harry and Myrna moved to Waverly Gardens in 2009. They chose the community because it was close to their children, had all the amenities they were looking for, and offered a full continuum of care in case their needs changed over time. Harry says that living in their senior apartment at Waverly Gardens is the most comfortable he’s ever been in a home. Then he looked at Myrna and said “I suppose it’s because Myrna is here.”
Royal Odyssey cruise February, 1983
Harry and Myrna's wedding day June 16, 1983
Harry and Myrna love story in needlepoint
Valentine's Day 2018
Valentine's Day 2018