WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — George Tsiolkas and Beth Wilson first met at Bolton Pool in the summer of 1979. The two were lifeguards with a summer romance that ended when they both went off to college.
“Every time I go through her mother’s neighborhood I always wondered what happened to her,” said Tsiolkas, who eventually reunited with Wilson eight years ago. “We laugh over everything, it’s just wonderful.”
The love they first felt as young lifeguards came back even stronger for the two now in their 50s.
“After about a year of being together I noticed her walk started slowing down,” said Tsiolkas, who started taking care of Wilson.
Wilson was diagnosed in 1995 with progressive multiple sclerosis.
“Without George I’d be stuck,” said Wilson, who is now confined to a wheel chair.
Over this past weekend George surprised Beth, blind folded, with what she thought was a trip to a jazz festival. Instead it was a trip to Bolton Pool for a marriage proposal.
“I was so surprised,” said Wilson, who said ‘yes’ and was surprised even more when George turned her around to see a minister and all their family and friends ready for their wedding.
The ceremony, by the pool where they first met 35 years ago, included a veil, flowers and jazz music.
“I wanted to do it while she’s still able to function,” said George. “Whatever I can do to make her smile and have a good time that’s what I want to do.”