They met in high school, dated, broke up, married other people, divorced, and stayed friends through it all—and when they were in their 30s, they made a vow to each other: If they both hit 50 and didn't have new spouses, they'd marry each other. And that's exactly what Minnesota's Kimberley Dean and Ron Palmer did last week, tying the knot after a nearly 40-year friendship and the pact that Palmer describes to People as a "complete random joke." After their amicable high school breakup (Palmer, now 54, says he needed to "sow my oats"), the two graduated and eventually wed other people: Palmer was married for seven years and never had kids, while Dean's marriage lasted until 1998 and produced a daughter and son. Meanwhile, the former high school sweethearts always kept in touch, calling and writing and even complaining about their dates with other people.
Dean tells the Star Tribune Palmer even kept phoning her mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day. "He would call if he had girl trouble. I would call him to take a dead hamster out of my son's cage," Dean says. Then, one day when they were both in their 30s and single, Palmer joked he had no one to bequeath his inheritance to. "I said, 'Just leave it to me,'" Dean, now 51, tells Today. That led to a further talk about how they should just marry each other if they were both still single when Dean hit 50. That chat was put on the back burner until 2016, when sparks started flying and Dean wondered aloud if they should rekindle their romance. After some hedging, Palmer agreed, and he proposed last New Year's Eve. Dean's son, Konner, walked her down the aisle Friday, while her daughter, Kayla, served as maid of honor. "We've always known that, I think, we were meant to be together," Dean tells WCCO. (Read more uplifting news stories.)