When Cindy DeGroat moved to the small town of Milton, Pennsylvania, falling in love was the last thing on her mind.
After 25 years as a Baltimore County Public School teacher, Cindy turned 62, submitted her retirement papers on February 1, 2019 and moved two weeks later. Having divorced her husband, she left Baltimore to be closer to her sister. Cindy was fairly familiar with the area and had friends that lived nearby. It seemed like the perfect choice.
Cindy started her new life by puppy-sitting and then welcoming her first grandchild in May. Following the birth, she applied for background clearances and began substitute teaching.
Cindy split her time between Milton and Springfield, Massachusetts where her daughter lived.
She and her sister were anticipating a trip to Italy in 2021.
Retirement was going just as Cindy had planned.
The Meet Cute
Matt Farrand first noticed Cindy when they were swimming laps together at the Milton YMCA. He knew right away there was something special about her.
Matt started talking to Cindy in the pool but just as they were beginning to move from small talk, life got in the way. Matt’s dad passed and Cindy’s second grandchild was born so neither one was able to spend much time at the Y the summer of 2021.
“I thought ‘C’est la vie,’” Matt said. “It was nice chatting with you, if only for a little bit.”
But not long afterwards, Saturday, August 21 Matt saw Cindy at a 5K race at Milton State Park. She was wearing a hat that read Guanajuato, Mexico. Matt’s family had spent six months there while his dad, a college professor, was on sabbatical in the 1960s. Matt went over and struck up a conversation. They consider that their anniversary date.
What Cindy remembered most from their previous time in the pool was that they both wore orange swim caps. What Matt remembered were her flip turns.
“I was very aware of Miss Cindy,” he said with a smile. “Her flip turns are a thing of beauty.”
Now on dry land, they decided to get to know each other better. As the race was getting ready to start, Matt said he had pictures of Guanajuato to show her. Cindy gave him her phone and told him to put in his contact information and she would call him.
Cindy called him later that night and they set up a time to meet that Sunday.
“I told him I was a Christian and I was going to church and we could meet after church,” Cindy said.
Matt asked, “What can I bring?” That impressed Cindy right off the bat. She said she wasn’t used to someone taking her needs into consideration.
Long out of the dating scene, Cindy was cautious about the meeting. She set up the meeting at the park, in public and drove her own vehicle.
The first date was during the height of the pandemic and Matt took the time to wipe down the old wooden bench before they sat down on it. “I was guffawing,” Cindy said. “Who takes the time to wipe down an old wooden bench?”
“It had bird poop on it,” Matt said.
The romantic atmosphere was subdued by the bug spray she wore and the drizzling rain that chased them into his car, according to Cindy. However, she left feeling hopeful.
After that first date, they spent a lot of time talking on the phone.
“I dumped all my dirty laundry on him,” Cindy said. She told him about her life, her marriage and her time in Maryland.”
Matt said he opened up too.
“I just knew, this girl’s really something,” Matt said. “I can’t let this one get away.”
Matt was still working full-time. During the week he is a reporter for a local newspaper and on Saturdays he sells athletic shoes and apparel. Sunday was the only day they could spend together.
Cindy is enjoying retirement life while Matt is rethinking his future plans. He sees himself entering a new work phase in 2023.
Love and Marriage?
Matt has never been married and has no children although he has been in other long-term relationships.
“I am facing new horizons with as open a mind as I can,” Matt said. “Cindy has introduced me to things I wanted to happen 25 years ago, but I didn’t have the courage or the circumstances to make those changes.”
“He’s talking good food and church activities,” Cindy piped in.
They have joined Christ Wesleyan Church, which is considerably bigger than the town of Milton where they live. They have been taking relationship classes with the church to help them develop as a couple.
“We have also joined “Best Years Fellowship”, a 55+ group, that has monthly activities,” Cindy said.
How is dating different after 60? Neither of them were big daters in high school, but they said now they feel like they’re 14 again.
“We laugh a lot,” Cindy said.
“We have a lot of PG fun. ‘Cindy and Matt go to the malt shop’,” Matt added.
“He treats me exceptionally well,” said Cindy, which is different from her previous relationships.
“I have never been happier,” Matt said.
“Back in the day, it was one date, a cup of coffee and back in the sack you go,” Matt quipped. Now he says he is being true to himself and focused on building a strong relationship. “My awareness at 65 is so much better as is what I value”.
“We both know ourselves and what we like and don’t like,” Cindy said. After taking a relationship test, the counselor told them they were a “vitalized couple.”
Everyone is asking when they are getting married. “People are sensing and seeing something,” Cindy said. Their mentor couple said they just love being around them.
Matt says he does have a timeline in mind. Although never married he said, “I know I have it in me.”
In addition to their commitment to each other, they are committed to fitness. They work out 6 to 7 days a week. They both walk and swim. Matt is also a runner and a cyclist.
Cindy says, “He has titanium legs and he loves my titanium arms.” Cindy says that the wedding ring might be titanium.
Like many people with grown children, Cindy’s children were apprehensive about mom’s new relationship.
Cindy waited before telling her kids. In addition to the usual concerns, Cindy has mixed race children so it was important to her that her significant other be fully accepting of them.
“I knew I wanted someone who was not just going to pretend to be OK with it,” she explained.
Cindy checked out his LP collection and saw he had many black artists including Hip Hop and Soul artists from his many years as a DJ. In fact, they had many of the same albums. In addition, Matt was well acquainted with civil rights and black history. “He’s not just someone who merely co-exists with minorities,” Cindy said.
In fact, one of the first questions both kids asked was, “Is he Caucasian?” When Cindy said he was, Matt asked, “Is that a good thing or not?”. It must have been because they approved.
Advice for Those Looking for Love
“Be happy with yourself first,” Cindy said. Matt sensed what could for once in his life work out.
“I kind of conjured up Cindy,” he said. He wanted someone who was about his age, fit, ‘wearing the same color tie on election day’, a non-smoker and cute. ”Five out of five,” he said. “I won the lottery.”
She’s also a good cook, as is Matt. “That’s a bonus,” Cindy said.
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