Ted Richardson, a 93-year-old retired veteran, doesn't let a day go by without visiting his wife Florence's grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. Over the last five years, Ted has arrived at the cemetery to visit his wife of 72 years at 6:30 a.m. sharp. Naturally, after so many visits the groundskeepers began to take notice.
"I always tell her when I go up there, 'Payback time,'" he told Hawaii News Now. And although it's an odd turn of phrase, he means it in the most benevolent way possible. "For 72 years she lost her temper only once — in 72 years! And it was my fault."
"I'll keep going as long as I can go. God will tell me when I've had enough."
Now, Ted is paying her back in flowers. "I use mini carnations because when you first put them in they're just buds. Then about three days later they open up," he said, adding that, "I used to walk up. Then I had to start using a cane."
Although Ted's ritual is beyond sweet, the life they made for themselves is the epitome of a modern day love story. They met when Ted was 16 and Florence was only 14 years old. But despite their young age, Ted knew she she was the one. "I was standing in the hall. The classes were changing and I saw a beautiful girl," he said. "I went home and told my daddy that night I saw the girl I was going to marry."
In fact, Ted admits that Florence was how he made it through serving in the Marines during World War II. All he had to do was look at her photograph. "She was beautiful. I didn't mind looking at her all the time," he said. Shortly after Ted returned home, the pair married.
As for how much longer he'll visit with Florence? He has a feeling he'll know when it's time to stop. "They say, 'How do you keep track?' I have calendars and I mark 'em down every day when I come home," explained Ted. "I'll keep going as long as I can go. God will tell me when I've had enough."