A True Love Story

If you think it is crazy for Correspondent Steve Hartman to just go wherever a dart hits and choose a person at random while flipping through a local phonebook, wait till you hear Marie Nowning's tale.
Nowning moved to Arizona from Michigan 40 years ago after her husband threw a dart at a map and hit Kingman. He then bought a piece of property there, in a new housing development called Paradise Acres.

It seemed a great deal, for it only cost him $595.

"He was always getting the deal of the century," Nowning observes.

Unfortunately, their house was the only one ever built in Paradise Acres. Nowning eventually abandoned that house - and that husband.

"I divorced him," she says.

It was her second bitter divorce.

"And I'd had enough," she adds.

In fact, she'd had enough with men. "I didn't want anything to do with them, to be frank," she admits.

So at the age of 50, Nowning moved into town where she had an antique store.

Track Hartman's travels via the Everybody Has A Story archive.

One day a stranger walked into her store and asked this card-carrying man hater if he could help her put up a shelf. That's all he said.

"And, I said, 'You can see the door, hit it,'"she remembers. "I put him out."

It would have been the biggest mistake of her life. But a couple weeks later that stranger came back and apologized for being so forward as to assume he could just have his way with her shelving. And that gesture completely disarmed her. Four months later they had their first date. A year later they were married.

She was surprised "'cause I'd never seen a man like that," she says. "He loved to wash dishes."

Then he said, "I have something else I like to do," she recalls. "And I said 'What's that?' And he said 'I cook breakfast, and I ring a bell for you to come to the table.'"

Now it is hard to wake up and not hear the bell, she says.

Ken Nowning died just last year. They had been married 21 years.

It took 50 years for Marie Nowning to find the love of her life, and she says it would take 50 more to get over him. And yet she firmly believes that it is better to have loved and lost.

"Cause I never had it before - so it was a blessing," she explains.

And to think it was a dart that led her to Kingman and ultimately to such a special person.

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