Heidi the mini Dachshund knew before anyone that Al and Pam were meant to be.
In 2012 Pam (Winslow) Kennerly and her dog Heidi moved into a patio home at Meridian Village Senior Living, a Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) Life Plan Community in Glen Carbon, IL. Pam’s mother Bernice had lived at Meridian Village since 2000. She was one of the very first residents in a patio home in the community! So when Pam was widowed and looking for a change, she knew that Meridian Village was the place to go for a carefree, active lifestyle.
Al Kennerly moved into a Meridian Village patio home in 2014. As a widower, he was hoping to branch out and make some new connections. That’s when he met Heidi and Pam. “I would see Pam and her dog walking. I love dogs. We say that I really went after the dog,” jokes Al.
Heidi was usually a reticent dog who didn’t like most people. “It was very unusual. Heidi was very protective of me and didn’t open up to people, male or female. But with Al, she ran right up to him,” said Pam.
“She had good taste!” Al remarked.
After lots of walks and visits, Al threw caution to the wind and asked Pam if she would accompany him to a movie. “I told her we could go as friends to break up some loneliness together. And she said yes!” he said. They saw an action movie and had fun. They decided that it wouldn’t be a serious relationship, just a friendship.
“Over time, it became serious,” said Pam.
They married on October 19, 2016 in a simple ceremony at Southern Illinois University (SIU), an alma mater for both, with some close friends and family in attendance.
It was a second wedding for each of them. Pam lost her first husband to cancer in 2008. Al lost his wife to cancer in 2013. “We needed people our own age. Someone to talk to who had experienced the same heartbreak,” said Pam.
Upon marrying, they consolidated their lives and Al moved into Pam’s patio home. Meridian Village team members made the transition easy, and they donated what they didn’t need for their now combined homes.
Pam had no children, but Al has two daughters and four grandchildren. It has been a whole new intergenerational experience that Pam never expected but is cherishing.
“We’ve both been accepted into each other’s families,” said Al.
Together they are enjoying good times and traveling the world by boat, plane, and train. So far, they have visited Europe four times and seen places like Croatia, Sweden, and Finland. In June they are taking a Caribbean cruise with Al’s family.
“What’s interesting is that we really don’t have a lot in common, but it works,” said Pam.
“She’s more upper crust, musicals and dance – a glass slipper. I’m more of a Country Western loafer. She takes me to musicals, and I take her to sports. We have a lot of fun,” said Al.
Heidi is no longer with us, but thanks to her discerning judgement, Al and Pam are living life to the fullest in a real life LSS love story at Meridian Village.