- Associated Press - Monday, February 23, 2015

BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) - Sixty years ago, two students at Louisiana Tech University went steady for a year. It was seemingly an idyllic relationship for well-liked young people.

She was the Military Ball queen; he was her date. Then, they just drifted apart - and married other people.

Though those spouses are now gone, they’ve again opened their hearts to each other.

Today, Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker, 81, and artist Connie Westergaard Cash, 78, are an item once again.

Watch them and you know they are smitten.

“I love the lady,” said Walker, who hesitated at first, but suddenly decided not to dodge the question.

So, when is he going to pop the question?

This time he hedges at the unexpected query: “We will continue to see each other, and at some time in the next phase of our relationship.”

There.

“It has not changed. It was the same as when we were in college,” Cash said about the relationship. She Googled his name to find his email.

The two shared their story in an exclusive interview with The Times in the mayor’s office, and later at the recently opened Bombay Dreams Indian restaurant on Benton Road.

Perhaps you’ve spotted them across a crowded room. Or at the Krewe of Gemini Grand Ball XVI.

Or at 2Johns for lunch with Walker pals Holly Hollenshead and Dr. Bob Robinson. Maybe when you went to the movies to see “American Sniper.”

Maybe you saw them again at a gathering in the Southern Trace home of community leaders Richard and Linda Biernacki when Walker tapped you on the shoulder in the bar line to introduce you to “my friend.”

“He seems so comfortable with her,” said Robinson, a good friend. “He adored Adele and took care of her when she was so sick. It is so good to see him happy again. It made me feel good.”

Introduced by mutual friends, Walker and Cash started dating when she was a senior at Fair Park High School, and dated for a year when she joined him at Tech.

Neither remembers exactly why they “drifted apart.”

However, Walker said he was a sophomore, in ROTC, looking toward a military career as a commissioned officer and worked weekends to help pay his way through college.

“He was so special. He was a little shy, but so kind and thoughtful,” Cash said.

And she has saved all the letters he wrote her during their courtship.

“Beautiful letters,” she said.

“She was a beauty at Fair Park and at Tech. I was a skinny old boy,” Walker said. “She is still a beauty.”

And she is an artist, Walker said. His eyes are on her while he speaks.

“When we first met I did a pencil sketch of him,” Cash recalled.

“She painted nudes in college,” interjected Walker, exacting a blush from Cash. “She did a red-headed sculpture. It was a bit racy.”

The last time the two saw each other was at Ford Park when Cash attended the Walkers’ wedding.

So after all these years, what do they find “special” about each other?

“She is honest and sincere. She is good hearted. We have mutual respect for each other and the spouses who have passed,” Walker, said still looking at the 5-foot, 5-inch Cash, whose reddish hair is worn shoulder length in soft waves.

Although quiet, she is very easy to talk to and answers questions candidly.

Cash was married 55 years to her husband, the late John Cash, a pipeline engineer who died three years ago. They married at the old St. Theresa Catholic Church in Queensborough.

Walker was off to the see the world as a member of the U.S. Air Force and met his late wife, Adele, at Fort Walton Beach, Florida. They married at Ford Park here and were together 52 years. She died recently.

Both had sons who died and each has a daughter. She has three grandchildren; he has two.

“We knew and cared and respected each other, and it is good to meet again,” said the mayor.

How does it feel to go with someone who is so well known, who almost everybody - at least in Bossier City - knows?

“I’ve never dated a mayor. It took a little adjustment,” answered Cash. “A little uncomfortable.”

Do people notice them?

“People are curious,” answered Walker, who’s used to public recognition.

And what will they do for Valentine’s Day?

“Probably we will exchange cards,” Walker answered.

In spring, a young man’s fancy - and an older man’s fancy, too - turns to love, it seems.

And, it is so special the second time around.

Just ask Mayor Walker.

___

Information from: The Times, https://www.shreveporttimes.com


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