Most people hope to find someone special who will love them no matter what. When soulmates meet, it feels like a fairytale love story straight out of the movies. You feel like you’re flying as if nothing could bring you down. You never want to lose this person who makes you feel so alive.
Unfortunately, Duane Mann thought he would never see his soulmate ever again. But after seventy years, the 91-year-old veteran reconnected with his first love by a stroke of fate.
Mann grew up on a farm in Iowa and joined the U.S. Navy at 22 years old. While stationed in Japan during the Korean War, a love story began to unfold with a woman named Peggy Yamaguchi. He didn’t seek romance during his time overseas, but it found him anyway.
The couple met at the Air Force NCO Club, where Mann worked on slot machines. Yamaguchi worked as a hat check girl, helping keep track of hats and coats left in the coatroom. They hit it off instantly and wanted to see where the relationship would lead. Peggy and Duane made some of their fondest memories on the dance floor, where they often had an audience.
“We could really dance together…I mean, to where the people would watch us,” Mann told KKTV in an interview.
Over time, Mann and Yamaguchi fell head over heels for each other. However, life eventually drove a wedge between them, cutting their romance short.
With a baby on the way, Mann got the unfortunate news that the Navy would soon ship him home. He had no choice but to leave his first love and unborn child in the United States. However, he promised to return and marry Yamaguchi as soon as possible.
The Fairytale Love Story Wouldn’t Last Forever.
To add to his troubles, Mann found out that his father had fallen on hard times. Running out of options, he spent every penny of Mann’s life savings.
Around that time, he noticed that Yamaguchi had stopped sending him letters. However, he didn’t realize that his mother had burned her notes behind his back. Upon questioning her motives, she explained her disapproval of him marrying a “Japanese girl.” Mann found one letter remaining, where Peggy revealed she had lost their baby and gotten remarried.
This news crushed him, and he fell into a deep depression. Part of him felt guilty for leaving his family behind. But, he also felt that Yamaguchi had abandoned him and broken the trust in the relationship.
“It just wore me out,” he said to KKTV reporters. “That’s not the honorable thing to do.”
After KKTV aired Mann’s tragic story, thousands of people showed interest online. It went viral on social media, and people across the globe wanted to help him reunite with Yamaguchi. Even people in Japan joined the search for Mann’s first love.
In a surprising turn of events, they discovered she lived only 650 miles from Mann. She had moved from Japan to Michigan to start a new life with her second husband. They’d had three children together.
The news was bittersweet, but at least only the Mississippi River separated them rather than an entire ocean. Mann thought that perhaps he could see her again, even though she’d remarried. However, he still didn’t know exactly where she lived.
Luckily, a newspaper article from 1956 and a history buff helped solve the mystery for him. Theresa Wong, a researcher for the History Channel, came across the dated Daily Press article one day.
91-Year-Old Finally Gets His Chance to Reunite With First Love and Soulmate
After reading the story, she realized it contained Yamaguchi’s name, picture, and most recent address. Theresa also knew that Mann desperately wanted to contact his long-lost lover. So, she decided to get in touch with him and reveal the exciting news.
“It just cut me right to my soul. I cannot imagine carrying around that kind of heartbreak for 70 years. I really hope this is that opportunity to get closure,” Wong told KKTV.
Mann couldn’t believe that he had finally tracked down his first love after seventy years. His heart felt full, knowing that he would get to see her again.
KKTV filmed the heartwarming reunion, where the two enjoyed a long, tender hug.
“You remember the dancing?” Yamaguchi asked him. Smiling at the fond memories, he replied with an “Oh yeah.”
They reminisced about the good old days and couldn’t believe how much time had passed. Despite parting ways, they still had so much love for one another. Duane had searched endlessly for her throughout his life and never lost hope of finding her.
He explained to Peggy that he never wanted her to feel abandoned. He couldn’t find her after returning to the United States.
Yamaguchi kissed him gently, whispering, “You must have loved me.”
Duane then showed Peggy the photos of her that he always keeps in his wallet. After seventy years, he had never forgotten about her or their special time in Japan.
Life may not have turned out how Duane envisioned, but he still felt grateful to have gotten closure. He advises anyone with unfulfilled desires to seize the moment and never give up on finding peace.
“It’s really been a freeing experience,” he told KKTV.
Final Thoughts on Soulmates Reuniting After Seventy Years Apart
When Duane Mann and Peggy Yamaguchi met in Japan, the sparks flew as soon as their eyes met. They instantly connected and fell in love after spending more time together. However, their love story would abruptly end when Mann moved back to the United States. He promised to return and marry her, but fate had other plans.
After learning she’d lost their baby and remarried, he felt betrayed and guilty simultaneously. He eventually moved on but never forgot about his first love. Thankfully, the soulmates reunited seventy years later in Michigan and shared many smiles and fond memories. Their story proves that true love never dies but lives on in our hearts.