With Love, Who Needs A Drug?

Wedding CBS

CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman has been traveling all over the U.S. for Everybody Has A Story for two years, and he says he could do it for 200 more, and never, ever have another story fall into his lap quite like this one. A rare kind of love story that even Newt McCallum can't believe is happening to him. Not after what he's been through.
Newt McCallum's wife, Phyllis, died of breast cancer in 1994. After, he tried to keep busy with little projects around the house. But he says each day felt like just another "X" on the calendar. And each calendar -- just another year without her.

"You've just got so many hours in the day to get rid of," he comments.

He was left only with memories and mementos, like a card from Phyllis that says: "Thanks for 32 love filled years and may we have many, many more. All my love, Phil."

Anine McCallum, Newt's nurse practitioner and his daughter-in-law, recalls, "He had all the symptoms of clinical depression... It was difficult, because I knew he could be helped and feel a whole lot better, and I couldn't get him to do it."

Newt said when God wanted him to feel better, he'd feel better and left it at that.

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Meanwhile, across town, another life was practically paralleling Newt's.

Naomi Coddington lost her husband to a heart attack. He died playing his saxophone. "I thought I was going to lose my mind completely," says she.

Newt and Naomi. Two people, living in the past, about to leave it all behind.

Track Hartman's travels via the Everybody Has A Story archive.
For years, Newt's daughter-in-law had been trying to get him to go down to the local senior center, wherthey have a potluck dinner every Thursday. But not until three months ago did he finally agree. Figured he'd have a little Jell-O salad and go home.

Instead, he left with Naomi's number.

Naomi: "I snuck it to him."

Newt: "I thought, 'Oh, boy.'"

And they have been dating since.

It wasn't long before they were "smoochin' one another," according to Newt. Naomi confirms, "Didn't take very long."

Well, that's enough of that.

Relatives say they hardly recognize him.

"It's an absolute night-and-day difference," attests Anine.

Of course, Newt and Naomi both credit God for bringing them together and thank Him daily. So it's no wonder Naomi was confused that cold December night: "He came over on the couch and got down on his knees," she recalls, "and I thought he was gonna pray. I thought he was praying. So I bowed my head! And that's when he proposed to me."

She told him "yes." And on Valentine's Day, she told him again -- just before he kissed the bride.

And with that prescription-strength kiss, Newt McCallum guaranteed himself a daily dose of the best anti-depressant there is.

As he says, "Life's better shared."


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  • Ellen Crean

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